Picks and Pans Review: Humor and the Presidency

updated 11/09/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/09/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Gerald R. Ford

There is the vaguest hint of a fascinating book here. Ford talks, for instance, about his reaction to the jokes about his clumsiness during his Administration: "The comic representations of me by Chevy Chase and others were sometimes hard for me and my family to take. Though it was essential to grin and bear it, it could and did hurt." Elsewhere he mentions Lyndon Johnson's comment that then-Representative Ford had played football too long without a helmet. He and his speech writers, Ford says, were able to turn this comment to advantage. He doesn't give examples, however, and that sort of superficiality is the rule in this volume. Rather than reflect on his own experiences, Ford extensively quotes such people as Nixon-Reagan adviser Lyn Nofziger and his own press secretary, Ron Nessen, and recounts a lot of third-person anecdotes. The best section of the book, in fact, is a selection of political cartoons, from an 1880s Thomas Nast panel on Tammany Hall to a Bloom County strip on President Reagan's hearing problem. (Arbor House, $15.95)

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