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The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford (American Presidency Series) (American Presidency (Univ of Kansas Hardcover)) Hardcover – November 28, 1994

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Greene (history, Cazenovia Coll.) gives a balanced, thoroughly researched, and highly analytical look at Gerald Ford's meteoric rise from the House Minority leader role to the White House. Culling recently declassified documents and interviewing numerous principals from the Nixon and Ford administrations, Greene provides an insider view that is both critical of the administration's organizational shortfalls and adulatory about Ford's basic decency, moral character, and leadership qualities. He spends more time on the structural development and operation of the White House than on personal development, which served as the unifying theme of James Cannon's Time and Change: Gerald Ford's Appointment with History (LJ 12/93). While chronicling the cynicism about Ford's decision to pardon Nixon, Greene also convincingly dispatches the commonly held belief that Ford and Nixon had a deal. Though the pardon, the shrinking Republican base in Congress, staff infighting, and the Reagan candidacy in 1976 complicated Ford's governing efforts, the author presents a favorable image of a president who did not shrink from tough but necessary decisions while remaining the "nice guy" he sought to be. Likely to be a standard on a much maligned and little researched administration, this is recommended for academic and public libraries.
Frank Kessler, Missouri Western St. Coll., St. Joseph
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

This is the first comprehensive study of one of our most popular yet most misunderstood presidents. Reaching well beyond the image of Ford as "healer" of a war-torn and scandal-ridden nation. John Robert Greene extends and revises our understanding of Ford's struggles to restore credibility to the presidency in the wake of Watergate and Vietnam. Based on extensive interviews and a wealth of recently declassified documents, Greene reveals new evidence on Ford's role in Watergate and challenges the prevailing view of the infamous Mayaguez incident. He argues persuasively that Ford made no "deal" with Nixon but that his pardon of Nixon was costly nonetheless, for it shadowed his entire presidency thereafter. Greene also shows that the Mayaguez catastrophe was less a simple "rescue mission" than it was an attempt to revive sagging political fortunes by attacking Cambodia. In addition, Greene details Ford's rise to prominence within the Republican party; chronicles the president's problematic relations with his staff, the new Democratic Congress, and Ronald Reagan; sheds new light on the selection and performance of Vice President Nelson Rockefeller; offers new insights into the election of 1976; and provides the first in-depth look at Ford's clemency program for Vietnam era draft evaders.
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Product Details

  • Series: American Presidency (Univ of Kansas Hardcover)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas (November 28, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700606386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700606382
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,064,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on July 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Greene adroitly recognizes that Ford's domestic legislative proposals faced staunch opposition from a Democratically controlled Congress. In foreign affairs, Ford failed to get SALT II ratified and an Egyptian-Israeli accord never materialized during his term. In addition, the author acknowledges that Ford used assertiveness in the Mayaguez incident. Furthermore, Greene avers that Ford received bad publicity from the press. Finally, Greene argues that Ford did not make a secret bargain with Nixon for a Presidential pardon. This book gives a balanced account about a much maligned President.
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Format: Paperback
Gerald Ford is not the most popular of presidents to write about. He's almost forgotten in studies of America after 1945. This book gives him his due. Profesor Greene does a fine job of examing the important issues that faced Ford, like "stagflation," the Mayaguez incident, and dealing with the Cold War. It's a balanced account and written for scholars and the general reader.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a well-researched and thought provoking book. It is the best book on a bad subject. The author obviously knows what he is talking about, sometimes to the detriment of the reader. Very in-depth. This is NOT the place to start for a study of Gerald Ford. It may be the place to end.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The forward of this book says, "The aim of the American Presidency Series is to present historians and the general reading public with interesting, scholarly assessments of the various presidential administrations." Based on the two volumes that I have read so far, I would say this series achieves its aims. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

If indirection was a main theme of the Eisenhower Administration, then policy reversals were a main theme of the Ford Administration. Over and over again President Ford would completely reverse his position on policy, and usually for political expediency. He was going to fight inflation by proposing a tax hike. On October 8, 1974 he proposed a one year "five percent income tax surcharge on corporate and upper-level individual incomes" in order to reduce the deficit and fight inflation. Within a very short period of time, he scrapped that proposal and proposed a tax cut. Conservatives, like Secretary of the Treasury William E. Simon, were deeply concerned that such a cut would enlarge the deficit substantially. Ford, the pragmatic politician, opted for the more popular route. He replaced the 5% surcharge tax increase with a 12% tax rebate. Some in the press called it a "flip flop." There were other policy reversals during his administration.

I was interested in the analysis of Ford's handling of the Mayaguez incident. The Khmer Rouge government asserted that the Mayaguez, an American merchant ship, had strayed into their coastal waters. It seems from the beginning that the administration was eager to show force. I was struck how, at times, they were willing to bomb areas when they did not know if the crew of the ship was within the bombing area.
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