An Ordinary Man – The book is a comprehensive, evenhanded biography of a president who “guided the nation through its worst constitutional crisis since the Civil War.” Handed the helm of the floundering national ship at the climax of the Watergate crisis, Gerald Ford (1913-2006) managed to quiet the storm due to his congressional navigation skills and personal rectitude. Known as a loyal Nixon supporter and chosen as the replacement vice president when Spiro Agnew was forced to resign, Ford gradually restored public trust in the presidency despite the shocking and, for many citizens, unforgivable pardon he issued to his predecessor just a month into his term. The author has authored bios of Thomas Dewey, Herbert Hoover and Nelson Rockefeller, provides a useful new appraisal of Ford’s life, underscoring how his complicated early family history helped shape him into the guileless character he became. Early on, his mother divorced his abusive biological father and she was enmeshed in legal battles during Ford’s adolescence. When she married Gerald Ford Sr., the young man took his name. Ford Jr. eventually married strong-minded divorcée Betty, who became a force in her own right on such issues as women’s rights, addiction and breast cancer. In 1948, Ford ran for Congress largely because he was unable to become a probate judge, “his original ambition.” A member of the Warren Commission and House minority leader, he was ready to retire when he was chosen to be vice president. Concluding this massive the author touts Ford’s signing of the Helsinki Accords in 1975, taming of double-digit inflation, policy of economic deregulation, support of Black majority rule in Rhodesia and “tough love” rescue of an ailing New York City. The book is a fresh appreciation of an underrated, underappreciated president who arrived in the nick of time The Weekender.
An Ordinary Man