Write It When I'm Gone

Write It When I'm Gone

Remarkable Off-the-record Conversations With Gerald R. Ford

Book - 2007
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Penguin Putnam
In an extraordinary series of private interviews, conducted over sixteen years with the stipulation that they not be released until after Ford's death, the thirty-eighth president of the United States reveals a profoundly different side of himself: funny, reflective, gossipy, strikingly candid-and the stuff of headlines.

In 1974, award-winning journalist and author Thomas DeFrank, then a young correspondent for Newsweek, was interviewing Vice President Gerald R. Ford when Ford blurted out something astonishingly indiscreet related to the White House, came around his desk, grabbed DeFrank's tie, and told the reporter he could not leave the room until he promised not to publish it. "Write it when I'm dead," he said-and that agreement formed the basis for their relationship for the next thirty-two years.

During that time, they talked frequently, but from 1991 to shortly before Ford's death in 2006, the interviews became something else-conversations between two men in which Ford talked in a way few presidents ever have. Here is the real Ford on his relationship with Richard Nixon (including the 1974 revelation that, in DeFrank's words, "will alter what history thinks it knows about the events that culminated in Ford's becoming president"); Ford's experiences on the Warren Commission; his complex relationships with Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter; his startling, never-before-disclosed discussions with Bill Clinton during the latter's impeachment process; his opinions about both Bush administrations, the Iraq war, and many contemporary political figures; and much more. Here also are unguarded personal musings: about key cultural events; his own life, history, and passions; his beloved wife, Betty; and the frustrations of aging.

In all, it is an unprecedented book: illuminating, entertaining, surprising, heartwarming, and, in many ways, historic.

Baker & Taylor
In a series of interviews conducted over sixteen years with the stipulation that they not be released until after his death, the former president describes his relationships with other presidents and offers opinions on a wide range of topics.

Book News
DeFrank, who was the White House correspondent for Newsweek for 25 years, documents his personal relationship with Gerald Ford from 1973 until May 2006, when the former president gave his last interview six weeks before his death. The content differs from conventional biographies of Ford in that the tone is kept casual and conversational, with a bit of gossip here and there. These personal interviews, which span the last 16 years of Ford's life, included the stipulation that they not be published until after his death. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

& Taylor

In a series of private interviews, conducted over sixteen years with the stipulation that they not be released until after his death, the former president offers a revealing, reflective self-portrait as he describes his relationships with Nixon, Carter, Reagan, and Clinton; experiences on the Warren Commission; and opinions on the Bush administration, the Iraq war, family, and aging. 150,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2007
ISBN: 9780399154508
Branch Call Number: B FOR
Characteristics: 258p. : ports, ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Ford, Gerald R. 1913-2006


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Sep 20, 2013

Tom DeFrank, a political journalist, had a deal with Jerry Ford. DeFrank could have regular access to Ford, who would speak his mind, but only on condition that his remarks would not be published until after Ford's death. This is the result. What becomes clear is that Jerry Ford was truly a decent and good man. In this day where radicalism and self-interest in politics seems so prevalent, it was refreshing to read the remarks of a career politician who had the country's, not his own, best interests at heart. Nothing too startling. He didn't like Ronald Reagan, and that dislike, among other things, probably helped bring him and Jimmy Carter together after their retirements. Early on, he predicted Hillary Clinton would run for president by 2004 or 2008. He remained active until very late in life--DeFrank chronicles his decline.


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