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Book cover of 31 Days: Gerald Ford, the Nixon Pardon, and a Government in Crisis

31 Days: Gerald Ford, the Nixon Pardon, and a Government in Crisis

by Barry Werth

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Pages: 416
Paperback
ISBN: 9781400078684






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Overview of 31 Days: Gerald Ford, the Nixon Pardon, and a Government in Crisis

In 31 Days, acclaimed historian Barry Werth takes readers inside the White House during the tumultuous days of August 1974, following Richard Nixon's resignation and the swearing-in of America's "accidental president," Gerald Ford. The Watergate scandal had torn the country apart. In a dramatic, day-by-day account of the new administration’s inner workings, Werth shows how Ford, caught between political expedience, the country’s demands for justice, and his own moral compass, struggled valiantly to restore the nation’s tarnished faith in its leadership. With deft and refreshing analysis Werth illuminates how this unprecedented political upheaval produced new fissures and battle lines, as well as new opportunities for political advancement for ambitious young men such as Donald Rumsfeld, who had been Nixon’s ambassador to NATO, and Dick Cheney, already coolly efficient as Rumsfeld’s former deputy. A superbly crafted presidential history with all of the twists and turns of a thriller, 31 Days  sheds new light on the key players and political dilemmas that reverberate in today’s headlines.

Synopsis of 31 Days: Gerald Ford, the Nixon Pardon, and a Government in Crisis

In 31 Days, Barry Werth takes readers inside the White House during the tumultuous days following Nixon’s resignation and the swearing-in of America’s “accidental president,” Gerald Ford. The congressional hearings, Nixon’s increasing paranoia, and, finally, the devastating revelations of the White House tapes had torn the country apart. Within the White House and the Republican Party, Nixon’s resignation produced new fissures and battle lines—and new opportunities for political advancement.

Ford had to reassure the nation and the world that he would attend to the pressing issues of the day, from resolving the legal questions surrounding Nixon’s role in Watergate, to dealing with the wind down of the Vietnam War, the precarious state of détente with the Soviet Union, and the ongoing attempts to stabilize the Middle East. Within hours of Nixon’s departure from Washington, Ford began the all-important task of forming an inner circle of trusted advisers.

In richly detailed scenes, Werth describes the often vicious sparring among two mutually distrustful staffs—Nixon’s and Ford’s vice presidential holdovers—and a transition team that included Donald Rumsfeld (then Nixon’s ambassador to NATO) and Rumsfeld’s former deputy, the thirty-three-year-old coolly efficient Richard Cheney. The first detailed account of the ruthless maneuvering and day-to-day politicking behind everything from the pardon of Nixon to why George H. W. Bush was passed over for the vice presidency, to the rise of a new cadre of Republican movers and shakers, 31 Days offers a compelling perspective ona fascinating but relatively unexamined period in American history and its impact on the present.

About the Author, Barry Werth

BARRY WERTH is the author of The Scarlet Professor, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is also the author of The Billion-Dollar Molecule and Damages. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

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