The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford / Edition 1

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This is the first comprehensive study of one of our most popular yet most misunderstood presidents. Reaching well beyond the image of Ford as "healer" of a war-torn and scandal-ridden nation, John Robert Greene extends and revises our understanding of Ford's struggles to restore credibility to the presidency in the wake of Watergate and Vietnam.

Few presidents had ever been asked to achieve so much in so little time against such great adversity. Greene shows that Ford's efforts to lead the nation were severely hampered by Nixon's misdeeds, by America's ignominious disengagement from an unpopular war, and by a watchdog Congress eager to put a brake on presidential power.

Working from a wealth of recently declassified documents, Greene reveals new evidence on Ford's roles in Watergate and challenges the prevailing view of the infamous Mayaguez incident. He argues persuasively that Ford made no "deal" with Nixon, but that his pardon of Nixon was costly nonetheless, for it shadowed his entire presidency thereafter. He also shows that the Mayaguez catastrophe was less a simple "rescue mission" than it was an attempt to revive sagging political fortunes by attacking Cambodia.

In addition, Greene details Ford's rise to prominence within the Republican Party; chronicles the president's problematic relations with his staff, the new Democratic Congress, and Ronald Reagan; sheds new light on the selection and performance of Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller; offers new insights into the election of 1976; and provides the first in-depth look at Ford's Amnesty Program for Vietnam Era Draft Evaders.

Based on interviews with Ford and more than sixty individuals who figured prominently in his presidency and on extensive use of the Ford Library, Greene's study illuminates Ford's valiant efforts during some of the presidency's most troubled years.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Greene (history, Cazenovia Coll.) gives a balanced, thoroughly researched, and highly analytical look at Gerald Ford's meteoric rise from the House Minority leader role to the White House. Culling recently declassified documents and interviewing numerous principals from the Nixon and Ford administrations, Greene provides an insider view that is both critical of the administration's organizational shortfalls and adulatory about Ford's basic decency, moral character, and leadership qualities. He spends more time on the structural development and operation of the White House than on personal development, which served as the unifying theme of James Cannon's Time and Change: Gerald Ford's Appointment with History (LJ 12/93). While chronicling the cynicism about Ford's decision to pardon Nixon, Greene also convincingly dispatches the commonly held belief that Ford and Nixon had a deal. Though the pardon, the shrinking Republican base in Congress, staff infighting, and the Reagan candidacy in 1976 complicated Ford's governing efforts, the author presents a favorable image of a president who did not shrink from tough but necessary decisions while remaining the "nice guy" he sought to be. Likely to be a standard on a much maligned and little researched administration, this is recommended for academic and public libraries.-Frank Kessler, Missouri Western St. Coll., St. Joseph
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700606399
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 1/28/1995
  • Series: American Presidency Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 270
  • Sales rank: 698,268
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents



1. "Thank God, It Worked"

2. Transition

3. "For God's Sake, Enough Is Enough"

4. "Doesn't He Have Any Sense of Timing?"

5. Stagflation

6. "Brush Fires"

7. "A Rogue Elephant"

8. "Reassessment"

9. "The Running"

10. "Let's Look Ferocious"

11. "I Didn't Take Reagan Seriously"

12. The No-Campaign Campaign"

13. "If I'm Remembered, It Will Probably Be for Healing the Land"


Bibliographical Essay


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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2012

    Recommend for political historians

    We read this book for our senior book club at an assisted living center. The participants liked the back story on the history they lived. It was well written with good tidbits. Our seniors liked that it wasn't inundated with dates. This book has spurned discussion about the up coming election as well.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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