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Write it When I'm Gone
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Write it When I'm Gone

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  372 ratings  ·  81 reviews
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...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 30th 2007 by Putnam Adult
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Mara
Jan 20, 2014 Mara rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who enjoy listening to old people complain about aging.
For the first two chapters of this book I thought it was kind of a breezy, superficial romp with Ford by a journalist who clearly adored the man.
Jerry Ford is a human being cum laude, a down-to-earth, earnest, genuinely likable guy with an infectious laugh and not the slightest hint of pretentiousness.

There was some nice narrative-style analysis of the unique position in which Ford found himself, including a nice little tidbit from William Safire (totally forgot that he had a career in politics...more
Joe
Book Twenty-Seven of my presidential challenge.

"I'm a Ford, not a Lincoln" - Gerald Ford

Sometimes you just have to take one for the team. Gerald Ford knows that more than most. In the wake of the Watergate scandal, someone needed to step in and calm the country down. Ford was that guy. The perfect guy for that really. He wasn't showy or flashy, he was a horrible public speaker and he was clumsy (like insanely clumsy).

Ford's first major act as President was to unconditionally pardon Richard Nixon...more
Anthony Bergen
(Review originally posted on Dead Presidents)

Write It When I'm Gone: Remarkable Off-the-Record Conversations with Gerald R. Ford
By Thomas M. DeFrank
Hardcover. 2007. 258 pp. Putnam.

As I mentioned prominently in my review of Bob Greene's "Fraternity", what interests me primarily about the Presidents and the Presidency is not policy, politics, or administrative accomplishments, but the personality of the individuals who have held the most powerful office in the world. All of those other things DO i

...more
srdjan
Pretty terribly organized book whose insights are minimal and dissappointing. The books title grossly exaggerates a relationship between author and subject that seemed little more than 'cordial', while Gerald Ford comes across as a plain jane jock/frat boy who lacked depth -

"At 12:30 in the morning, he exited the press room... I thought he looked like a man with the world's weight still on his broad shoulders. Just before he disappeared into the residence, he turned to an aide and posed a quest...more
Emily
Sadly, this book is not the undisclosed look into the private thoughts and opinions of Ford. For three decades of interviews, there wasn't much substance. Ford must have been a very honest politician because didn't give the author much more than he gave the rest of the world. The book felt like a collection of short essays and not one flowing book. The chapters kept referring back and repeating information that was only printed a few pages before.

Unless you're a huge Ford fan, I'd pass on this o...more
Stacy
From a historical point of view, interesting but Tom DeFrank isn't the greatest writer. He seemed to make a big deal out of a couple of political instances that don't seem to resonate with another generation and I'm not talking about Watergate. Interesting note: He was on the original Warren commission and was very upset with the Oliver Stone movie and felt it did great damage to those in the future who might believe the movie to be fact and never take the time to investigate the story.
Kimberly
Loved this book! Being the political junkie that I am, I thoroughly enjoyed DeFrank's perspective as one of the "inner circle" journalists who traveled with Ford from his Veep days. DeFrank deeply respected Ford, who appeared to return that respect, notwithstanding times of estrangement when he was angered by something DeFrank had done. DeFrank's account shows Ford's humanity and allows the reader to relate to him in many ways as a "regular" guy. A fast read if you like the topic.
Sara
Never knew a whole lot about Pres. Ford, but after reading this I have a lot of respect for him. Ford was a dedicated public servant who brought dignity back to the White House after the turmoil of Watergate. I never knew that he was criticized so harshly for the money he made after being in office. His successors owe him for paving the way in the post-presidential speaking circuit. Also, I didn't know how Ford really felt about Reagan...the political life isn't always fun. Really liked the easy...more
Jim
The author was a reporter for Newsweek. He was one of a few reporters assigned to cover Gerald Ford after Nixon named Ford as his Vice President. Shared experiences aboard a cramped Air Force 2 created a personal bond between Ford and the reporters covering him that lasted until his death in 2006. The title comes from the promise that Ford extracted from the author after Ford slipped up and let on that Ford knew that Nixon was going to have to resign even while Ford was publicly walking a tightr...more
Stephany G
So I've been reading and watching some new stuff on the JFK assassination and I have become interested in some of the key figures in this time period. I normally don't read a lot of non fiction but since I have embraced the conspiracies I've tried to add some to my reading list. This book was not at all what I was looking for. I picked it up expecting to read at least a chapter or two on the Warren commission but instead was disappointed with just a page and no real insight at all to anything th...more
Matthew Kresal
It is not often that members of the general public are offered a great insight into their leaders. Write It When I'm Gone happens to be one of those occasions when we are allowed to have just that into the thirty-eighth President of the United States Gerald Ford. We are given this through the writings of reporter Thomas M. DeFrank who first covered Ford for Newsweek in 1974 and then interviewed him on and off until weeks before his death. The results of the interviews is a rare insight into a na...more
Brian
Tom DeFrank was assigned to cover Gerald Ford when Ford became vice-president. After Ford's presidency, DeFrank periodically visited Ford to interview him. Ford's only condition to these interviews was that DeFrank couldn't write about them until after his death. This book is about those interviews.

Gerald Ford was very open and talked about his views on the presidents who followed him. He was very biter towards Carter and had wanted to run against him again in 1980. His advisers had told him tha...more
Steve
I loved this book. I don't think I've ever seen or read something as unique as I have in reading Tom DeFrank's wonderful series of "off-the-record" interviews with the 38th President. I also admire Mr. DeFrank's loyalty and willingness to honor President Ford and withhold some very candid, eye-opening commentary at the President's request and agreement. In the days of filing stories as they happen and as words are uttered, it was a refreshing look at journalism taking a step back and to ensure t...more
Kathleen Hagen
Write It When I’m Gone: Remarkable Off-the Record Conversations With Jerald r. Ford, by Thomas M. Defrank, Narrated by Scott Brick, Produced by Blackstone Audio, Downloaded from audible.com.

In an extraordinary series of private interviews, conducted over 16 years with the stipulation that they not be released until after Gerald Ford's death,
the 38th president of the United States reveals a profoundly different side of himself: funny, reflective, gossipy, strikingly candid, and the stuff of
headli...more
John
Not bad for political junkies but when I was 40% into the book I was wishing the author would just get on with it. Parts were slow and redundant with a bit too much personal trivia.

DeFrank portrays Ford as an honest, honorable man, which he was. But he author glosses over some powerful exceptions where Ford was blinded by his allegiance to the Republican party. Two were extremely notable.... Ford never once looked Nixon in the eye and asked him, "Did you do it?" Obviously Ford wanted to continu...more
Robert L.
DeFrank, a reporter who covered Gerald R. Ford as vice-president and then as president, was given an opportunity to interview Ford over many years on the condition that he would not publish the conversations (to the extent Ford directed) until Ford was gone.
Not remembering much about Ford myself, I learned a lot about him. He swam twice a day, 10 laps most of his working life, religiously up into his last year of life when he was swimming a couple of laps each time. Ford was a congressman beginn...more
christy
If you're not a historian, then who really knows that much about President Ford? He barely registers in my presidential knowledge and beyond nice comments that my parents have made about him over time, the only thing I remember about him is that he took over for Nixon.

"Write it When I'm Gone" is not a biography nor an autobiography, but simply conversations that President Ford had with a reporter off the record throughout the vice-presidency, presidency, and into retirement. Conversations that o...more
Grant
Gerald Ford, the only person to serve as president without having been elected to either that office or the vice presidency, granted DeFrank a series of off-the-record interviews, beginning with an unguarded moment in 1974 when Ford indicated that he expected to inherit the presidency from the embattled Richard Nixon, despite public protestations that Ford was not planning a transition. Ford was remarkably candid, and DeFrank excels at giving a balanced, but ultimately favorable, view of one of...more
Howard Buchman
I'm finished with Write it When I'm Gone: It was ok. I've read better. The author seems more impressed with himself than anything else. Some items are interesting, however, it can't hold up to better books on Ford.

It's hard to say anything too terrible about it. It's not that exciting, however, it is a good insight to President Ford's character. Having been born in 1969, I really don't remember his time in office. I wanted to learn more about him.....so, did I learn something? Yes...he seemed l...more
Mateo
I enjoyed the book, but it is terribly organized: The author repeated himself repeatedly on multiple topics. Did he forget he already wrote it? Maybe he wrote it with a typewriter and lost his place.

Anyway, the insights are spare but mildly interesting. Not too much going on...it seemed like an extended obituary by someone who admired the man.

It was a quick read, so if that's what you're after, then go for it.
Dawn Michelle
Jun 28, 2009 Dawn Michelle rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Any American History buff


4 1/2 Stars

A very well-written book about a president who had to step-in AND step-up during a really crap time in American government history.

To be honest, I knew very little about President Ford. I was really young when he was president and remember very little of that time. This book (to me) was a fabulous history lesson of a really amazing man. Mr. DeFrank was very privileged to have had such a wonderful long-term relationship with President Ford. His stories, antidotes and recollections ar...more
Ellen
Actually enjoyed this. One of my first political memories was listening on the car radio to Nixon resign. Clearly Ford and the author enjoyed a personal and professional relationship based on mutual respect. One of the lines really struck me, given the current disgraceful behavior in Congress....and I believe he was referring to a speaker in his own party. Ford said that the Speaker of the House needs to speak for the whole house, not just the majority party.
Natalia
May 25, 2009 Natalia rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Natalia by: Andrea
Shelves: pop-nonfiction, 2009
I, like most people my age, knew almost nothing about Gerald Ford. In fact, I knew more about Betty Ford than her husband. A friend recommended this book to me, because she had also been in the dark about Ford before reading it.

It would have been a much better book had it been organized better. It was not organized linearly in time, so, for example, when DeFrank mentioned how many corporate boards Ford was sitting on, it swung widely with every mention. First he cut it down to 3, then he was sit...more
Joanna
Admittedly I'm not a political junkie, but thought this book was interesting. I learned a lot about Ford and was surprised to read the names of some of the other political players at the time. I felt this book could have been organized much clearly. Phrases and anecdote were repeated throughout. It would have been a much smaller book (already not huge by political/historical book standards at around 300 pages) and a much more succinct a read.

I read this book as part of an experiment with my hus...more
Mike
It felt like there wasn’t quite enough material for this book and some of the stories were repeated. The writer has 25 years’ experience at Newsweek and several more at the NY Daily News so his press credentials are impressive, but the book felt like it was embellishing some minor events to make “impact.” The Ford presidency is one which you don’t often read about so that portion of the book was worthwhile. The author obviously has a great deal of respect for President Ford and does his best to...more
Ja
You know, I am not sure this book needed to be written. Or read. Meh. Apparently Ford didn't have anything really remarkable to share.
Sharon
I'll check out just about anything on the "New Book Shelf," and that was the case with this book. I didn't even know I liked Gerald Ford, but I loved this book. He had humility. I'm really glad I read this book as Ford is such a colorful, affable character, and just the uniqueness of a the story of a vice president forced to take over for the president he once admired.
Something to share: As an Oak Parker, I didn't learn this from this book, but father from Wikipedia. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Ger...more
Kevin
Find this book in a library.

Good book. Worth reading. I wouldn't go any further. I've always been an admirer of Ford. Genuinely nice guy on the outside, but seems a little less evolved than I would have expected, with all his animosity toward Reagan and Carter.

His (second hand through DeFrank, but believable) assessment of Bill Clinton is right on the mark. Tragic that he could have done so much more but for his Achilles heel.

-KwM-
Michelle
Sep 22, 2014 Michelle rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like to read about presidents
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sean Pfile
Good presidential bio.....
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