The Education of Gerald Ford

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. ($25.00)

This is an updated, expanded version of "Young Jerry Ford: Athlete and Citizen," with more background, more detail, and more notes than the earlier book. It takes Gerald Ford through high school in Grand Rapids, and on to a four-year career at the University of Michigan, during the hardest years of the Depression. Supporting himself almost without parental aid, he became the archetypal "Big Man on Campus," a hero to his football teammates and his fraternity brothers -- and he also learned how to date and drink in the process.

Critics say:

Richard Norton Smith, biographer of Nelson Rockefeller, Herbert Hoover, and Thomas E. Dewey: "No one knows more about Gerald Ford's early years, or about the people, places, and experiences that shaped his character than Rik Booraem. Here his formidable research skills combine with the narrative gifts of a born storytellerto bring us bacjk to a Midwestern boyhood and a collegiate coming-of-age far more compelling than we would have guessed. This is 'you are there' history, vividly and credibly immersing us in another time and culture, the incubator of Ford's values and the testing ground of his youthful ambitions. Highly recommended!"


One month later, Ford was back in the little non-air-conditioned concrete block factory on Crosby Street, in the heat of a Grand Rapids summer, mixing and pouring paint at a wage that had been cut to twenty-five cents an hour, with Allen Elliott and two or three other young men. They worked from 7:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Younger brother Tom, now on the payroll pasting labels on paint cans, observed Jerry with amusement -- "the sloppiest guy in the place," he called him. All the factory floor workers got paint on their hands, which they wiped off on their pants legs -- but Jerry, shirtless and sweaty, wore cutoffs and wiped the paint directly on his legs. He got more on himself than anyone else on the floor; the family joke was that he bathed every Friday to wash it off. "It was a real muscle-building job," said his coworker "Yutz" Kaler. "You'd never have known he was the boss's son." (from Chapter 10, "Transformations")

Selected Works

Gerald R. Ford and His World, 1913-1935
William Henry Harrison and his world, 1773-1798
Calvin Coolidge and his world, 1885-1895
James A. Garfield and his world, 1844-1852
Andrew Jackson and his world, 1767-1788
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