...it's an extremely engaging narrative from start to finish. Rumsfeld credits a great many helpers in his Acknowledgments, but the final product not only reads smoothly but also reads with Rumsfeld's voice ... Rumsfeld seems to have been everywhere at all times, and as a result his book brims with colorful character studies ... When the Center Held is designed to be a celebration, and it is certainly that ... a personal, detailed look inside one of the least-studied most-important presidencies of the modern era.
Rumsfeld has written a kind of modern-day Pilgrim’s Progress about a good and godly man who enters the Slough of Despond (Washington, D.C.), is tried and tempted, but ascends to Celestial City with his virtue intact. That the narrator is a figure who has been likened in some quarters to Beelzebub makes the story more interesting, or at least curious ... It would have been easy enough to cast the earnest, well-meaning Ford as a bit of a chump, but Rumsfeld portrays him as an honorable and brave man ... he offers us a reassuring morality tale of virtue if not immediately rewarded, then ultimately redeemed.
Mr. Rumsfeld begins his narrative by effectively recalling incidents from the year 1974 that place the political challenges the new president faced in their cultural context ...numerous amusing and informative anecdotes sprinkled throughout the book ... Rumsfeld reminds the reader how fortunate the nation was to have Gerald Ford as the nation's 38th chief executive.