In an extraordinary series of private interviews, conducted over sixteen years with the stipulation that they not be released until after Gerald Ford’s death, the thirty-eighth president of the United States reveals a profoundly different side of himself: funny, reflective, gossipy, strikingly candid–and the stuff of headlines.

In 1974, the award-winning journalist and author Thomas DeFrank, then a young correspondent for Newsweek, was interviewing Ford when the Vice President blurted out something astonishingly indiscreet related to the White House, came around his desk, grabbed DeFrank’s tie, and told the reporter he could not leave the room until he promised not to publish it. “Write it when I’m dead,” Ford said–and that agreement formed the basis of their relationship for the next thirty-two years.

During that time, they talked frequently, but from 1991 to shortly before Ford’s death in 2006, the interviews became something else–conversations between two men in which Ford talked in a way few presidents ever have. Here is the real Ford on his relationship with Richard Nixon; his experiences serving on the Warren Commission; his complex relationships with Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter; his startling, never-before disclosed discussions with Bill Clinton during the latter’s impeachment process; his opinions about both Bush administrations; and much more. Here, also, are Ford’s unguarded personal musings: about key cultural events; his own life, history, and passions; his beloved wife, Betty; the frustrations of aging. In all, it is an unprecedented audiobook, illuminating, entertaining, surprising, heartwarming, and in several cases, historic.