Written by former Newsweek correspondent Thomas M. Defrank, Write It When I’m Gone offers vignettes into the unvarnished thoughts of President Gerald R. Ford. The first few chapters provide a snapshot of Ford’s political career, as observed first-hand by Defrank. After that, Defrank details Ford’s thought about other political figures past and present.
Considering how Ford tends to be overlooked, it can be a great way to ease into studying this former president. Defrank drew a detailed depiction of the man’s personality and thought process behind his decisions. Is the book dramatic and spell-binding? Not really. Certainly not like Vietnam or the Watergate era. A man who has never cheated on his wife? I can only imagine others might think: how boring. But Defrank humanizes Ford and his colleagues to such an extent that I found the final chapters quietly moving. All too often, politicians are treated like objects to be poked and prodded by the public. Defrank seems to want readers to see Ford as a man with foibles, health problems and occasional grumpiness.
I bought this book a while ago, and I’m glad I finally got the chance to read it. I won’t be trading it in anytime soon.