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Write It When I'm Gone: Remarkable Off-The-Record Conversations with Gerald R. Ford

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The New York Times bestseller-and the candid voice of an American president

In 1974, Newsweek correspondent Thomas M. DeFrank was interviewing Gerald Ford when the Vice President blurted out something astonishingly indiscreet. He then extracted a promise not to publish it. 'Write it when I'm dead,' Ford said? and thus began a thirty-two-year relationship.

During the last fifteen years of their conversations, Ford opened up to DeFrank, speaking ...

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Write It When I'm Gone: Remarkable Off-the-Record Conversations with Gerald R. Ford

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Overview

The New York Times bestseller-and the candid voice of an American president

In 1974, Newsweek correspondent Thomas M. DeFrank was interviewing Gerald Ford when the Vice President blurted out something astonishingly indiscreet. He then extracted a promise not to publish it. 'Write it when I'm dead,' Ford said? and thus began a thirty-two-year relationship.

During the last fifteen years of their conversations, Ford opened up to DeFrank, speaking in a way few presidents ever have. Here the award-winning journalist reveals these private talks, as Ford discusses his experiences with his fellow presidents, the Warren Commission, and his exchanges with Bill Clinton during the latter's impeachment process. In addition, he shares his thoughts about both Bush administrations, the Iraq war, his beloved wife Betty, and the frustrations of aging. Write It When I'm Gone is not only a historical document but an unprecedented portrait of a president.

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Editorial Reviews

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As a congressman, House minority leader, vice president, and president, Gerard R. Ford (1913-2006) was known for both his public discretion and his salty private opinions. For over 32 years, Newsweek correspondent Thomas DeFrank heard full volleys of these comments, often followed quickly by "Write it when I'm dead" sanctions. As the ex-president and journalist became close friends, Ford shared his most intimate thoughts and favorite private stories about government policies and chief executives from Truman through George W. Bush. Write It When I'm Gone contains fascinating material about subjects including the Cold War, the Warren Commission, the Clinton impeachment proceedings, Iraq, and Ford's White House chiefs of staff, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425223482
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/2/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 372,379
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas M. DeFrank is the Washington bureau chief of the New York Daily News, and was Newsweek's White House correspondent for a quarter-century, and deputy chief of the magazine's Washington bureau for twelve years.
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Table of Contents

Write It When I'm Gone Prologue

One. April 1974
Two. Air Force Two
Three. White House Years
Four. New Life/Jerry Ford Inc.
Five. 1991—The First Interview/Nixon
Six. The Reagans
Seven. The Clintons
Eight. Carter, 41, and 43
Nine. Staying in the Game
Ten. Personalities
Eleven. Lifestyles
Twelve. March 2004
Thirteen. Growing Old
Fourteen. Lunch with a Legend—May 11, 2006
Fifteen. November 2006

Epilogue Acknowledgments Index

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 4, 2013

    I highly recommend this book!!!

    This was a very easy and captive book, giving insights into Gerald Ford's political career and noble life.

    It was so interesting that it was hard to put down.

    Mr. Ford was a noble and honest politician, an extremely rare trait in a person associated with power.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 14, 2012

    Very enlightening

    Of all the most recent presidents I have had the most interest in, it has been President Ford. The biggest reasons is that he was a part of two catastrophic moments in American history...Kennedy's assassination and Nixon's Watergate. Both of these moments bookended one particular generation which began by speculating that there was a government conspiracy and ended with full knowledge of a government conspiracy. The book moves along very well and covers a nice group of topics....the warren commission, watergate, carter's victory followed by reagan through Bush 43s time in office. Having heard President Ford give statements about the warren commission I am ALMOST willing to believe that the assassination of JFK and the follow-up killing of Oswald just happened to be the victim of coincidence as he explains. (I also read the warren commission report as well). However, I am not sure he believed that it was entirely true that Jack Ruby was a man just looking for some attention and this point could be argued forever. As far as the rest of the subject matter, I found that President Ford was a man more in tune with doing the right thing versus being right about what he was going to do. For example, the pardoning of Nixon was always the right move as it kept country from having to face what would have been a tedious and traumatic trial which would have lasted longer than the OJ Simpson case. Ford could not have maintained his ability to get the country focused on itself again until Watergate was dead. He even agrees he may have cost him the 1976 election. However, in my opinion, history has shown him to have been brave and wise. The books also points out rather fairly that Ford was not always a pleasant man. He may have seemed timid or slow to decide but he was well aware of what he wanted to do and how he was going to do it. He held some grudges (as most powerful man often do) but he knew it was better to move forward than sit and stew over things which could no longer be corrected. For a final note, I personally thought it was sad that when Ford died, he really didnt the press coverage that his predecessors recieved. His funeral seemed to be done and off the front pages within days.

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