Magazine July 9, 2018, Issue

Decent Mediocrity

Donald Rumsfeld
When the Center Held: Gerald Ford and the Rescue of the American Presidency, by Donald Rumsfeld (Free Press, 352 pp., $28)

To read Saint-Simon’s memoirs of the court of Louis XIV, you might easily conclude that the Sun King himself was but a satellite revolving around the ducal scribbler whose personality dominates his book. Donald Rumsfeld’s approach in When the Center Held is different. You would never suspect, in the modest, self-effacing chronicler of the Ford administration, the formidable politician-bureaucrat whom Henry Kissinger saluted as a foeman worthy of his mettle or the accomplished intrigant to whose guile Nelson Rockefeller attributed his failure to be selected as Ford’s running mate in 1976.

Ford, of course, had not been elected president. He

Michael Knox Beran — Mr. Beran is a lawyer and writer. His book WASPs: The Splendors and Miseries of an American Aristocracy is to be published this year.

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Readers respond on the Trump-Kim summit, a Chinese political activist, and our friend Mike Potemra.

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