Our final 2008 Michigan Notable Book is Write It When I’m Gone: Remarkable Off-the-Record Conversations With Gerald R. Ford by Thomas M. DeFrank (G.P. Putnam’s Sons). The book includes years of private conversations with President Gerald R. Ford on a variety of topics. DeFrank, a Newsweek correspondent, reveals a different side of President Ford through his thoughts on today’s political landscape including candid comments and about notable figures like Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Dick Cheney and others. The Meet the Press feature on the book has video and excerpts from the book where the author explains how his relationship with Ford began in 1974:
Ironically, the interview that triggered a relationship with Gerald Ford lasting a third of a century, as well as a unique journalistic arrangement, wasn’t even supposed to be an interview. I was just being neurotic.
In today’s unappetizing environment of message discipline, control freaks, and endless political spin by phalanxes of cynical, robotic handlers, it’s hard to imagine there was ever a time when a reporter could ask to see the vice president of the United States without it being a major production.
But it was a different age, and a different vice president.
You can listen to a great interview with Tom DeFrank with Fred Martino of WGVU-Grand Rapids and a watch a brief Fox interview with DeFrank on YouTube where he explains how access to the VP was different in those days.
The Michigan Notable Books program annually selects 20 of the most notable books published in the year. The selections are reflective of Michigan’s diverse ethnic, historical, literary, and cultural experience. You can click to view more Notable Books featured on Absolute Michigan and learn more about the program at www.michigan.gov/notablebooks.