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Publisher's Summary

In an extraordinary series of private interviews, conducted over 16 years with the stipulation that they not be released until after Gerald Ford's death, the 38th president of the United States reveals a profoundly different side of himself: funny, reflective, gossipy, strikingly candid, and the stuff of headlines. In 1974, the award-winning journalist and author Thomas M. DeFrank, then a young correspondent for Newsweek, was interviewing Ford when the vice president blurted out something astonishingly indiscreet related to the White House, came around his desk, grabbed DeFrank's tie, and told the reporter he could not leave the room until he promised not to publish it. "Write it when I'm dead," he said - and that agreement formed the basis of their relationship for the next 32 years.
During that time, they talked frequently, but from 1991 to shortly before Ford's death in 2006, the interviews became something else: conversations between two men in which Ford talked in a way few presidents ever have. Here is the real Ford on his relationship with Richard Nixon (including the 1974 revelation which, in DeFrank's words, "will alter what history thinks it knows about the events that culminated in Ford's becoming president"); his experiences serving on the Warren Commission; his complex relationships with Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter; his startling, never-before-disclosed discussions with Bill Clinton during the latter's impeachment process; his opinions about both Bush administrations, the Iraq war, and many contemporary political figures; and much more. Here, also, are Ford's unguarded personal musings: about key cultural events; his own life, history, and passions; his beloved wife, Betty; and the frustrations of aging.
In all, it is an unprecedented audiobook - illuminating, entertaining, surprising, heartwarming, and, in several cases, historic.
©2007 Thomas M. DeFrank (P)2007 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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Customer Reviews

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By Rupe on 05-26-08

An easy historical listen...

I've been a Liberal since I came of age and shook off my midwest Republican upbringing. It began with hating Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford for pardoning him. I loathe Cheney and Rumsfeld who began their political rise with Ford. Yet here's a book that made me actually understand and even admire Ford. Nixon, Cheney and Rumsfeld I am still quite disgusted by of course, but the respect that the author had for Ford was contagious and that is a compliment to his writing. If you still have anger with those Watergate/Vietnam war days, this book is a healthy reflection.

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13 of 14 people found this review helpful

By Amazon Customer on 06-10-12

Jerry Ford reevaluated

Like many Americans I came to this book knowing very little about Ford, thinking of him only as somewhat accident prone stop gap completely forgettable American President. It should be noted that I still don't think much of consequence happened during his time in office. What this book did do was give me a keen appreciation of his insight into American politics. Through his decades in the house Ford developed a sixth sense for knowing who would rise to the top. After reading reading the book I found myself wondering what he would think of the party that now regards Ronald Regan as political saint and Ford's generation as soft and unprincipled?

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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By WolvesTillI on 09-06-16

Fascinating account

Interesting insight to the off the record thoughts of a President of the USA, touching on Watergate, Reagan and Clinton. A very personal account too of the later years of his life too.
Moving and insightful

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