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The New York Times bestseller?and the candid voice of an American presidentIn 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 Write It When I?m Gone is not only a historical document but an unprecedented portrait of a president.
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.