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Extraordinary Circumstances

Extraordinary Circumstances
The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford
Introduction by Tom Brokaw; Essay by Richard Norton Smith

A fascinating, behind-the-scenes documentary record of Gerald Ford’s presidency by Pulitzer Prize–winning photographer David Hume Kennerly.

Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin
January 2007
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232 pages | 10.5 x 13.5 | 125 tritone photos |

Gerald R. Ford stepped into the American presidency during a constitutional crisis that many believed was the country's worst since the Civil War.

Extraordinary Circumstances is a stunning collection of behind-closed-doors images by President Ford's personal photographer, David Hume Kennerly. Seen here are intimate scenes of the inner workings of the White House; Ford's family and much-beloved wife Betty; and many of the twentieth-century's most compelling and elusive figures, including Queen Elizabeth II, Leonid Brezhnev, Emperor Hirohito, Deng Xioping, Anwar Sadat, Yitzhak Rabin, Richard Nixon, Andy Warhol, and George Harrison.

The book follows Gerald Ford from the day President Nixon appointed him as vice president through the tumultuous early crises of his presidency, including his controversial pardon of Nixon, the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, and his wife Betty's breast cancer, to the end of his presidency after losing to Jimmy Carter.

Adding depth and perspective to the photos are excerpts from exclusive interviews with President Ford, President Jimmy Carter, President George H. W. Bush, Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Cheney, Alan Greenspan, and other prominent members of the Ford administration.

Extraordinary Circumstances is sponsored and published by the Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin, the home of the David Hume Kennerly Photographic Archive. It features an introduction by NBC's Tom Brokaw and an overview of Ford's life by famed historian Richard Norton Smith.


David Hume Kennerly won a Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for his photographs of the Vietnam War and has contributed to Time, Life, Newsweek, and Vanity Fair magazines. He is the author of four previous books and is currently a contributing editor for NBC News.