James Cannon brings strong credentials to this biography. A political reporter for Time and Newsweek, among other publications, he has also served as adviser to New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker and President Gerald Ford. He does not disappoint; this is a fine biography so far as it goes and a major contribution to the literature on Watergate and its aftermath. The biographical section, covering Fords life up to 1974, is a solid and insightful body of work. Cannon proceeds to an exhaustive, and generally convincing, account of Richard Nixon's selection of Ford for the vice-presidency and Ford's decision to pardon Nixon. But there he stops. There is the briefest of essays on the Ford administration, most of it written in the breathless manner of press releases from the White House. Foreign policy gets four pages, all of it in praise of Ford. It is a pity that Cannon stopped his writing and suspended his judgment when he got to the presidency. Had he carried on for another couple of hundred pages and covered the presidency with the thoroughness and objectivity of the previous 400 pages, he would have produced the standard biography of the 38th president, instead of just the standard account of the appointment and the pardon.
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