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This is a study of one of the most popular yet most misunderstood presidents. Reaching beyond the image of Ford as "healer" of a war-torn and scandal-ridden nation, the author aims to extend and revise our understanding of Ford's struggles to restore credibility to the presidency in the wake of Watergate and Vietnam.Few presidents have ever be en asked to achieve so much in so little time against such great adversity. Greene shows that Ford's efforts to lead the nation were severely hampered by Nixon's misdeeds, by America's ignominious disengagement from an unpopular war, and by a watchdog Congress eager to put a brake on presidential power. Working from recently declassified documents, Greene reveals evidence on Ford's roles in Watergate and challenges the prevailing view of the infamous "Mayaguez" incident. He argues that Ford made no "deal" with Nixon, but that his pardon of Nixon was costly nevertheless, for it shadowed his entire presidency thereafter. Greene also shows that the "Mayaguez" catastrophe was less a simple "rescue mission" than it was an attempt to revive sagging political fortunes by attacking Cambodia. In addition, Greene details Ford's rise to prominence within the Republican Party; chronicles the president's problematic relations with his staff, the new Democratic Congress, and Ronald Reagan; sheds light on the selection and performance of Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller; offers insights into the election of 1976; and provides a look at Ford's Amnesty Programme for Vietnam era draft evaders. Based on interviews with Ford and more than 60 individuals who figured prominently in his presidency and on extensive use of the Ford Library, Greene's study covers Ford's valiant efforts during some of the presidency's most troubled years.
University Press of Kansas
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