Memories of the Ford Administration

Memories of the Ford Administration

John Updike / Jul 24, 2019

Memories of the Ford Administration When a history professor Alfred Clayton the hero of John Updike s fifteenth novel is asked to record his impressions of the Ford Administration he recalls a turbulent piece of personal history as we

  • Title: Memories of the Ford Administration
  • Author: John Updike
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 106
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • When a history professor Alfred Clayton, the hero of John Updike s fifteenth novel is asked to record his impressions of the Ford Administration, he recalls a turbulent piece of personal history as well his unfinished book on 19th century president James Buchanan.

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      Published :2019-04-02T02:44:40+00:00

    About "John Updike"

      • John Updike

        John Hoyer Updike was an American writer Updike s most famous work is his Rabbit series Rabbit, Run Rabbit Redux Rabbit Is Rich Rabbit At Rest and Rabbit Remembered Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest both won Pulitzer Prizes for Updike Describing his subject as the American small town, Protestant middle class, Updike is well known for his careful craftsmanship and prolific writing, having published 22 novels and than a dozen short story collections as well as poetry, literary criticism and children s books Hundreds of his stories, reviews, and poems have appeared in The New Yorker since the 1950s His works often explore sex, faith, and death, and their inter relationships.He died of lung cancer at age 76.


    877 Comments

    1. This is an odd book. John Updike was something of an expert on the President before Lincoln; James Buchanan. He wrote a play about him and had intended to write a historical novel about him. Instead he shoved most of what he knew into this book. It is ostensibly about Alf Clayton a history lecturer. When the Northern New England Association of American Historians (NNEAAH) ask for memories and recollections of the Ford administration Clayton puts together all his notes about Buchanan, about whom [...]


    2. Everything Cuckolded is Neutered AgainA rewrite of Roger's Version. The players in the game are changed a bit, to fit a different era and a different academic setting. ButRoger's Version was interesting in that it was adultery+astrophysics. This is adultery+the presidency of James Buchanan. Got to page 54, when, in the chill fall of 1819, Buchanan arrived by carriage from Philadelphia to pay a visit to zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.Could've sworn that when this novel came out [...]


    3. This is an erratic, unsuccessful novel that demonstrates that great writing is not enough to generate great books. As always, Updike displays his astonishing eye for detail--and couples it with an unusually thoughtful approach to American history--but the parts do not add up to a whole despite twenty pages at the end that serve to complete, or partially save, the text surprisingly well.Here we have one Alf, an historian obsessed with James Buchanan (the only president from Pennsylvania) conflati [...]


    4. The premise of "Memories of the Ford Administration", as well as the process of reading it, is bizarre. This is it: A college history professor is asked by a professional historian organization to reflect on the years of the Ford presidency for an upcoming symposium. The professor's response is apparently to write a book which is half John Updike novel, and half pseudo-non-fictional biography of James Buchanan (our 15th president).The protagonist, Alf Clayton, admits in the closing pages of his [...]


    5. I generally like John Updike, but this one was just too dry and too contrived. A professor is writing of his memories of the Ford Administration, a time when he was trying to write a biography of our only bachelor President, James Buchanan. Most of his memories of the Ford administration had to do with the woman he was having an affair with at the time. Unfortunately, neither story captivated my interest. I set it aside so that I could move on to something else, with the intention of going back [...]


    6. A terrible book that features the "protoganist" cheating on his wife with EVERYONE (including his students and their mothers) and a very dry history of the James Buchanan presidency. Total Disappointment.


    7. This is quite a book uh the first I've ever read by John Updike. I didn't really know anything about him, but I was led here by some combination of having read so many other modern American authors - most recently, John Irving, of course.So I read some of the various reviews, and I figured this really wouldn't be a very good place to start. It doesn't sound very interesting. And for a while, it isn't. And then every now and then, also for a while, it isn't very interesting again. But for some re [...]



    8. This is very nearly two books for the price of one - though far more schizophrenic than Haruki Murakami's Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World or Alasdair Gray's Lanark A Life in Four Books.The first being the memories, particularly those of the Ford administration, of Updike's stand-in, a college professor whose life's work is a biography of James Buchanan. The second being snippets of that biography, which often takes on the pallor of historical or even speculative fiction.This being [...]


    9. Egadswhere to start? Memories of the Ford Administration is really two novels in one. The premise of the novel is that the protagonist, Alfred, has been charged with writing a piece about his experiences of the Ford administration. What he produces is half memoir and half biography, but it has nothing to do with President Ford. Alfred's sexual escapades, which make up the majority of the memoir aspect, are described in graphic detail, which didn't do much for me as a reader. Where Updike really [...]


    10. In the 1990s, a college history professor recounts his mid-1970s married and family life and adultery, interspersed with his working draft of those years of his life work—a biography of James Buchanan (all this in reply to a request from his regional historians association for members’ “memories of the Ford Administration.”) Entertaining at times but slow at others, with a bit of a forced and uneven feeling from the odd structure perhaps. Sometimes very good Updike, when I have always li [...]


    11. The joke of the premise is so omnipresent as to come across surprisingly subtly: that is, a New England history professor responds to a local journal's call for impressions of Ford's presidency with 350 pages of sex and neurosis and a failed manuscript of a completely different president's biography that never really come close to useable. Within that framework, Updike paints an interesting portrait of a man who, as free-thinking as he wants to be in his academic life, can't let go of the domina [...]


    12. This was a second read. I first read this novel back in 1993. John Updike was fascinated by the historical person of President James Buchanan. He researched his life to great detail. And I believe he knew that if he simply wrote a biography of Buchanan--no one would read it. So instead he wrote this novel about a professor of history who is doing research on Buchanan, who is asked to write about the time period of the Ford Administration. He includes pieces of his Buchanan research in hopes that [...]


    13. My wife likes Updike and my Dad gave me this book. Last time I tried to read it I got to page 30. Let's give it another go!So this book is good. I very much enjoyed how much Updike made me hate the narrator and the narrator's voice yet still want to read the book to the end. The narrator might be unlikable and his style hard to read but it is so truly him that you can't argue. There was also a lot of sex.I really enjoyed how Updike makes the two historical periods mix together and compliment eac [...]


    14. This is a great book although it did drag a bit at the very end. The writing is funny, the protagonist is so very self-unaware, the descriptions are alluring and the story of president Buchanan is surprisingly interesting. Updike's one-page alternative history (Buchanan marrying his fiance leading to the 1856 and 1860 election of President Stephen Douglas and the dissolution of slavery of without the Civil War) is fascinating.


    15. An ambitious project that doesn't quite work. The attempt, however, makes this a very interesting book. Written in an era of his career after his greatest triumphs, this book shows Updike to still have a restless mind-to still be seeking a challenge as an artist. The cake never fully bakes, but it was fun watching him try.


    16. Not nearly as good as the 'rabbit' series. The book alternates between an interesting biography of James Buchanan, the last president before the US civil war, and the mostly sexual adventures of the protagonist during the time of the Ford administration. The former part is moderately interesting, the latter boring.


    17. One of Updike's best novels, as he weaves the portrayal of a fictional history professor's personal life, his "memories" of the years when Ford was president, and his ongoing and rather poignant research project on the life of president James Buchanan. Updike produces a literary triumph with this seemingly tangled web of threads. [Most of the novel is not about Ford or his administration]


    18. This is a fun read. The overlapping stories are of course fun in the way that Updike leaves them in stark contrast at points and as two sides of the same ribbon at others. His always sardonic take on sex and its impact on human lives is splendid.


    19. John Updike's writing style is exemplary. A graduate student researching his dissertation on James Buchanan provides the framework for an insightful comparison of the 19th century of Buchanan and the 1970s, including politics, sexual freedom, and changing cultural mores.



    20. This book was not for me. I only enjoyed pieces of the story. However, read it for yourself and develop your own opinion.



    21. I could see what he was doing, but it was just too tedious to keep up for a whole book. Would have been interesting to learn about Buchanan, but the modern folks appealed to me not at all.


    22. Not one of Updike's better efforts, but I still enjoyed it. It's especially appropriate for historians, with lots of observations about the limitations of history.



    23. I have to admit that I skimmed through some of the longer, political Buchanan parts. But I still love, love, love John Updike.


    24. It's original, give it that. The tale of a professor writing about James Buchanan living and trying to meet chicks in (for me) the endlessly fascinating Ford era.



    25. You almost need to be a Buchanan history enthusiast to really enjoy this book - but for those who like the history of the 1850s it's great fun.


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