A long-anticipated biography of Gerald R. Ford — the only president to come out of Michigan — will be released in Grand Rapids this Tuesday, April 11, followed by a Lansing appearance by the author, prize-winning historian Richard Norton Smith, two days later, on Thursday, April 13. The Lansing event will be in the Michigan Library and Historical Center, 702 W. Kalamazoo St., starting at 2 p.m.

What are other historians and experts saying about it?


“Richard Norton Smith has brought a lifetime of wisdom, insight, and storytelling verve to the life of a consequential president — Gerald R. Ford. Ford’s is a very American life, and Smith has charted its vicissitudes and import with great grace and illuminating perspective. A marvelous achievement!”

        — John Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, author of the New York Times bestsellers Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, Franklin and Winston, and Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush

“Richard Norton Smith’s monumental An Ordinary Man is a comprehensive, brilliant biography of Gerald Ford — solidly researched, crisply written, both objective and persuasive. This is the definitive work on Ford that will stand the test of time.”

       — Douglas Brinkley, author of Silent Spring Revolution: John F. Kennedy, Rachel Carson, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and the Great Environmental Awakening

“This book is a page-turner! With a propulsive narrative style grounded in exhaustive research, Smith’s biography of Gerald Ford offers surprising insights into our underestimated thirty-eighth president. Rare is the history book that rewrites history. This is one.”

       —Kristie Miller, author of Ellen and Edith: Woodrow Wilson’s First Ladies

“Gerald Ford is probably remembered more for how he got to the presidency than for what he did there. In this brilliant book, Richard Norton Smith tells the rest of the story. On every other page I found something I didn’t know, bringing new and important insights into how Ford kept the nation together and moved it past its most severe political crisis since the Civil War. It will become the definitive work on Ford and his presidency.”

       — Bob Schieffer, CBS News

“In his groundbreaking biography, Richard Norton Smith elegantly captures Gerald R. Ford, from his Midwestern beginnings, prosaic with twists of tempestuousness, to his accidental though consequential turn as our thirty-eighth president and the graceful end to his ninety-three years. Rich in revelations and detail, it offers a definitive portrait of this extraordinary ‘ordinary man.'”

      — Mark K. Updegrove, president and CEO of the LBJ Foundation and author of Incomparable Grace: JFK in the Presidency