31 Days

  • by Barry Werth
  • Narrated by Robertson Dean
  • 12 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In 31 Days, Barry Werth takes listeners inside the White House during the tumultuous days following Nixon's resignation and the swearing-in of America's "accidental president", Gerald Ford. The congressional hearings, Nixon's increasing paranoia, and, finally, the devastating revelations of the White House tapes had torn the country apart. Within the White House and the Republican Party, Nixon's resignation produced new fissures and battle lines, and new opportunities for political advancement. Ford had to reassure the nation and the world that he would attend to the pressing issues of the day, from resolving the legal questions surrounding Nixon's role in Watergate, to dealing with the wind down of the Vietnam War, the precarious state of detente with the Soviet Union, and the ongoing attempts to stabilize the Middle East. Within hours of Nixon's departure from Washington, Ford began the all-important task of forming an inner circle of trusted advisers.
In richly detailed scenes, Werth describes the often vicious sparring among two mutually distrustful staffs, Nixon's and Ford's vice presidential holdovers, and a transition team that included Donald Rumsfeld (then Nixon's ambassador to NATO) and Rumsfeld's former deputy, the 33-year-old coolly efficient Richard Cheney.
The first detailed account of the ruthless maneuvering and day-to-day politicking behind everything from the pardon of Nixon to why George H. W. Bush was passed over for the vice presidency, to the rise of a new cadre of Republican movers and shakers, 31 Days offers a compelling perspective on a fascinating but relatively unexamined period in American history and its impact on the present.


What the Critics Say

"Barry Werth has written a crackling and instructive account." (Tom Brokaw)
"It's a story that has been told more than once, but rarely so well or in such depth as it is here." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The politics of 1974

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.
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- D. Littman

Excellent Account

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.
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- Nancy & Greg

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-26-2006
  • Publisher: Books on Tape