When the Center Held: Gerald Ford and the Rescue of the American Presidency

When the Center Held: Gerald Ford and the Rescue of the American Presidency

by Donald Rumsfeld


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A revealing political memoir of the presidency of Gerald Ford as seen through the eyes of Donald Rumsfeld—the New York Times bestselling author, and Ford’s former Secretary of Defense and Chief of Staff, and longtime personal confidant.

In the wake of Watergate, it seemed the United States was coming apart. America had experienced a decade of horrifying assassinations; the unprecedented resignation of first a vice president and then a president of the United States; intense cultural and social change; and a new mood of cynicism sweeping the country—a mood that, in some ways, lingers today.

Into that divided atmosphere stepped an unexpected, unelected, and largely unknown American—Gerald R. Ford. In contrast to every other individual who had ever occupied the Oval Office, he had never appeared on any ballot either for the presidency or the vice presidency; he had issued no policy statements nor had he ever run for national office. Now, he was being thrust into a chaotic environment in which our very future as a functioning democracy was being seriously questioned.

Gerald Ford simply and humbly performed his duty to the best of his considerable ability. By the end of his 895 days as president, he would in fact have restored balance to our country, steadied the ship of state, and led his fellow Americans out of the national trauma of Watergate. And yet, Gerald Ford remains one of the least studied and least understood individuals to have held the office of the President of the United States. In turn, his legacy also remains severely underappreciated.

In When the Center Held, Ford’s Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld candidly shares his personal observations of the man himself, and provides a sweeping examination of his crucial years in office. It is a rare and fascinating look behind the closed doors of the Oval Office, including never-before-seen photos, memos, and anecdotes, from a unique insider’s perspective—essential reading for any fan of presidential history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501172939
Publisher: Free Press
Publication date: 05/15/2018
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Donald Rumsfeld was the thirteenth and twenty-first United States Secretary of Defense. He currently chairs the Rumsfeld Foundation, which supports leadership and public service at home and the growth of free political and free economic systems abroad. He and his wife Joyce have three children, six grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xi

1 The Long National Nightmare 1

2 "Give Me Hell" 17

3 The Pardon 35

4 Public Enemy Number One 59

5 Choosing Rockefeller 77

6 Morning Coats and Wolf Furs: Ford Abroad 89

7 Neither Confirm nor Deny: The Glomar Explorer and the Crisis in the CIA 107

8 The Reagan Shadow 125

9 The Fall of Vietnam 141

10 Ford at the Helm: The SS Mayaguez Crisis 167

11 Commander in Chief 179

12 Assassins' Target 195

13 The (So-Called) Halloween Massacre 213

14 Rumble from the Right 225

15 Last Campaign 245

Epilogue 267

Timeline 275

Notes 281

Acknowledgments 311

List of Illustrations 317

Index 321

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