Brinkley has written a decent and honest book about a decent and honest man; more than that, Brinkley has managed to get beneath Gerald Ford's Midwestern reserve to give us a surprisingly engaging and accessible account of the most down-to-earth president since Calvin Coolidge. He is particularly good on Ford's congressional years, illuminating the political life of a Republican Party that seemed, for much of Ford's active career, doomed to perpetual minority status.
Brinkley's Gerald R. Ford is part of a series of short presidential lives edited by Arthur Schlesinger. The series is the latest and by no means the least of the contributions Schlesinger made to American studies during a long and extraordinary career. His generosity to rising generations of historians and his commitment to useful history that could inform contemporary policy debates in the service of democratic values were remarkable; he will be sorely missed.