February Books 21) Write It When I'm Gone, by Thomas M. DeFrank
In Write It When I'm Gone, DeFrank chronicles three decades of interviews with Gerald Ford, from his appointment as Vice-President in late 1973 to a final conversation in late 2006. For most of that time, Ford was old news; he ruled himself (with some bitterness) out of the presidential running fairly early in 1980 and settled down to being an elder statesman. There's nothing terribly startling in any of DeFrank's revelations: Ford didn't like Reagan, but liked Carter even less until they unexpectedly bonded on the way back from Sadat's funeral; Ford was never really on speaking terms with his predecessor as Vice-President, Spiro Agnew, although they lived very close to each other in retirement; Ford generally backed Cheney and Rumsfeld, his own chiefs of staff, but thought Cheney should have been dropped from the Bush 2004 ticket; Ford and Clinton negotiated about his possibly having a role in the Lewinsky impeachment crisis, but it came to nothing. But in general it's the account of a journalist's admiration for a decent chap who didn't want to be President but accepted the office when it was thrust upon him, and who had few bad words for anyone (except Carter and Reagan, and even then he ultimately relented on them both).