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Gerald R Ford came into office, the sole unelected president of the United States, with an almost overwhelming job. To deal with the ordinary & extraordinary events that any president might face – in his case, the end of the Vietnam, the first oil embargo, accelerating inflation, Cold War, the Cyprus crisis – and rebuilding confidence in national institutions after Watergate & Nixon’s resignation. Werth focuses on the first month of Ford’s tenure, a month which ended with Ford’s decision to pardon Nixon (but not his henchmen) to help the healing process begin. This book is not an apologia for Ford or his actions, but rather a blow-by-blow account of what confronted Ford, his handpicked advisors and the rump of the Nixon administration, during that one month. One comes away with a new appreciation of the challenges of being president, the challenges especially facing someone, like Ford, who rather than being an egomaniac, seems quite human & approachable in his way of making decisions and his view of the world.
Robertson Dean’s narration is excellent.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
A little covered time in history, this one month between the final day of Nixon' s presidency to the end of Ford's first 31 days, is well documented in this account. While it offers some very interesting details about the most abrupt presidential transition in modern times, it does not sufficiently answer the one question that has been asked by many: was there a deal between Nixon and Ford? That is, resign and be pardoned. Perhaps the true answer has passed into the unknown with the death of both men.
Otherwise, it is a compelling book that students of Watergate, Nixon and the presidency in general will enjoy. In the end, Ford is painted as a courageous man who got little credit for doing something that gave our nation the stability it needed.