Gerald Ford Redux

TITLE: MEMORIES OF THE FORD ADMINISTRATION

AUTHOR: JOHN UPDIKE

PUBLISHER: KNOPF; 371 PAGES; $23

THE BOTTOM LINE: An obsessive and amusing history professor answers a questionnaire.

A history professor named Alfred L. Clayton receives a request from the Northern New England Association of American Historians. Would he jot down his "memories and impressions" of the Gerald R. Ford Administration (1974-77) for possible inclusion in the association's triquarterly journal, Retrospect? Well, would he ever. In fact, Clayton is prodded into such an orgy of reminiscence that he produces a manuscript almost diabolically unsuited to academic publication. That, according to the clever premise...

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