Write it When I'm Gone
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Date: October 2007
Duration: 8 hours 57 minutes
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 headlines.
In 1974, the award-winning journalist and author Thomas M. DeFrank, then a young correspondent for Newsweek, was interviewing Ford when the vice president 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 of their relationship for the next 32 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 which, in DeFrank's words, "will alter what history thinks it knows about the events that culminated in Ford's becoming president"); his experiences serving 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 Ford's 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 audiobook - illuminating, entertaining, surprising, heartwarming, and, in several cases, historic.