So I’ve been looking forward to the modern presidents since I started this challenge, but for whatever reason had in my head that Gerald Ford hardly counted. He was only president for a bit over 2 years, he wasn’t even elected as vice president and blah blah blah. After such major talked about presidents like JFK, LBJ and Nixon, I was totally prepared for Ford to easily fade into the background.
And I’m so happy to say that I was wrong. I ended up enjoying this throughly and since I read a short book on him, I found myself wanting to know more.
I was a little bit right though. Because he was a little bit boring, but you guys, after this crooked, mean, narcissistic guys it kind of felt nice. He was a football player, from Michigan, a military vet, just this true blue American. It renewed a bit of my faith in America and our government. He was just this honest, straightforward, midwestern guy and it was a breath of fresh air.
Ford obviously got a ton of flack for pardoning Nixon and I always wondered why he did that and assumed that he was in cahoots with Nixon, but that’s just not right. By accepting the pardon, Nixon was admitting that he was guilty and then it was just… over. Ford said that had he decided to not pardon, Watergate just would have kept going and going and it had the potential to tear our country apart. The trials and the fallout were a scary prospect and Ford decided to forgo it all so that he could get on to serious biz, like getting out of Vietnam.
At the time, people got really wound up about it, but later in his life he finally received a lot of good attention for it as people started to realize that what he did was save the country from a lot of craziness.
The biography itself was concise. It was less than 200 pages so for a major history buff it would just be this throw away, but it was well done nonetheless. While there was little focus on Ford’s personal life, the attention to detail and balance of it was just right- enough of an overview to get a good idea about what went on but not enough to bog the casual historian down. On of the better books from the American Presidents Series that I’ve read.
(Oh! And fun fact: yet another president that didn’t go by his given name… his was Leslie Lynch King Jr…. weird, right?)