Northridge, California: Lord John Press, 1984. Signed, numbered, and finely bound first edition. Hardcover. This is a pristine, as-new copy of the strikingly beautiful signed and numbered limited first edition of President Gerald R. Ford's November 30, 1983 address to the English-Speaking Union in London. One of 100 copies issued thus, this is copy #85, signed by President Ford on the half title, hand-numbered on the limitation page, bound with a vellum spine and mahogany patterned paper boards, and issued in a gilt-stamped linen clamshell case. This limited edition should not to be confused with the less elaborate and more common issue of 250 copies bound in linen and decorative paper.
The English-Speaking Union (ESU) is an international educational charity founded in 1918. Winston Churchill was Chairman of the ESU from 1921 to 1925 and The Churchill Lecture is the most prestigious event in the annual ESU programme. The Churchill medal of honour is awarded every year at the annual Churchill Lecture, where the awardee delivers the address.
On November 30, 1983 President Gerald R. Ford delivered the annual address on "the problems, perils, challenges and opportunities confronting the English-speaking peoples of today." Ford's substantial lecture is reflective, intelligent, witty, and repeatedly references Churchill. To convey to a new generation the rectitude and prudence of vigorous and, when necessary, armed international engagement, Ford discloses his own pre-WWII isolationist perspective.
Ford recalls listening to Churchill's famous "...we shall never surrender" Dunkirk evacuation speech in June 1940 while driving his "old Model A home to Michigan from Yale Law School" as "an eminently draftable young American" and feeling that "Churchill was still talking the language of World War I." By 1942, Ford would enlist in the U.S. Navy, serving with distinction in the Pacific theatre, earning an Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one silver star and four bronze stars, a Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two bronze stars, an American Campaign Medal, and a World War II Victory Medal. Ford also recalls being a second term Congressman present during Churchill's third and final address to the United States Congress on January 17, 1952.
History has been kinder to Churchill than to Ford. Churchill was called upon to lead his nation in the face of tyranny and oppression. To Ford fell the comparatively thankless and less ennobling task of protecting his nation from its own political and economic excesses. Gerald R. "Jerry" Ford Jr. (1913-2006) was the 38th President of the United States. A gifted athlete, Ford turned down professional football career opportunities in favor of Yale University and a law degree. Following his distinguished service in the Second World War Ford swiftly found his footing in civilian life; he was both married and elected to Congress by the end of 1948. He would be re-elected to his Grand Rapids, Michigan seat 12 times.
His ascendance to the Presidency took a tumultuous and dizzying trajectory unique in the annals of American politics. Ford was House Minority Leader in October 1973 when the resignation of scandal-plagued Vice President Spiro Agnew led to Ford's appointment to take his place. Less than a year later, on August 9, 1974, Ford became President when Nixon himself resigned in disgrace. Ford's pardon of both Nixon and Vietnam draft dodgers, economic malaise, an energy crisis, the ignominious end of the Vietnam War, and the internal and external challenges of the Republican Party all contributed to Ford's defeat by Carter in 1976. Though the pardon cost Ford dearly, the judgment of history appears to be slowly taking a more sympathetic view of the necessity, which less and less weighs against Ford's lifelong reputation for integrity. Item #004991