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Taft 2012

Taft 2012

3.7 14
by Jason Heller

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He is the perfect presidential candidate. Conservatives love his hard-hitting Republican résumé. Liberals love his peaceful, progressive practicality. The media can’t get enough of his larger-than-life personality. And all the American people love that he’s an honest, hard-working man



He is the perfect presidential candidate. Conservatives love his hard-hitting Republican résumé. Liberals love his peaceful, progressive practicality. The media can’t get enough of his larger-than-life personality. And all the American people love that he’s an honest, hard-working man who tells it like it is.

There’s just one problem. He is William Howard Taft . . . and he was already president a hundred years ago. So what on earth is he doing alive and well and considering a running mate in 2012? 

A most extraordinary satire, Jason Heller’s debut novel follows the strange new life of a presidential Rip Van Winkle: a man who never even wanted the White House in the first place, yet finds himself hurtling toward it once more—this time, through the media-fueled madness of 21st-century America.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Heller, a contributor to The A.V. Club, makes a stellar debut with his satirical alternate history. The premise is audacious: President William Howard Taft disappears on the day his successor, Woodrow Wilson, is to be inaugurated in 1913, and he inexplicably shows up on the White House lawn almost a century later. After scientists and scholars confirm his identity, he begins the daunting process of understanding a radically different America, which, for all its technological advances, desperately needs direction. This surprisingly poig-nant novel will find an eager audience in the months leading up to the 2012 presidential election, but it deserves a longer shelf life. Heller’s numerous historical insights and observations regarding Taft as president, husband, American, and human being will have more than a few readers wishing Taft really could be a third-party candidate in 2012, to be a rational voice in the “din of all this twenty-first century madness.” (Jan.)
From the Publisher
“...Taft 2012 aims at a range of targets rivaling Mark Twain’s The Gilded Age...”— Newburyport News

“...this Rip Van Winkle tale is fresh and funny, a fast and purely enjoyable read that could not come at a better time.”—Buffalo News

“William Howard Taft, the 27th president of the United States, reappears in present day and creates political chaos in Jason Heller's charming and funny debut novel, Taft 2012...In Taft 2012, Heller takes someone forgotten in history and makes him relevant. The juxtaposition with the modern world and how the U.S. views politics today creates a marvelous satire that rings all too true.”—Associated Press
“In a stirring, clever and fearlessly funny debut novel, Jason Heller explores this anachronism with biting satirical deviousness. For a work of such brevity, Taft 2012 manages to say more about modern American politics than most major pundits could ever hope to, and it does it while eliciting a giggle on nearly every page...Taft 2012 is a brave, addictive book from a witty new voice in American fiction. Once you’ve started to read it, you won’t want to stop, and by the time you’ve finished, you’ll be wishing you could vote for its hero.”—BookPage.com

"Debut novelist Heller sets up his satire so well that one might doubt one’s grasp of presidential history!...[a] strong and thoughtful political exploration" —Library Journal

"Heller tells his imaginative story with tweets and TV transcripts as well as conventional expository prose, adding to the amusement of a cross-generational look at politics."—Booklist 

“…a stellar debut…”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Heller is a brilliant writer with a fantastic imagination and a nose for hot topics.”—303Magazine.com

“The novel is a fun read, and even the most casual of political observers will enjoy watching Taft's new political career play out. But don't delve into it on an empty stomach. Taft doesn't go hungry no matter what century it is.”—Scripps Howard News Service

“...[a] lean, gripping book...”—Asbury Park Press

Library Journal
Imagine modern America, with our sluggish economy, turbulent political landscape, and inclination toward grassroots social movements. Now imagine one small change in our history—in 1912, William Howard Taft has just lost his reelection bid, but instead of moving forward with his life and becoming a Supreme Court Justice, he disappears on his way from the Oval Office to the swearing in of Woodrow Wilson. Ninety-nine years later, he reappears on the White House lawn, covered in mud, hungry, and completely unaged. What would that one change mean for an America in the middle of an election cycle? Debut novelist Heller sets up his satire so well that one might doubt one's grasp of presidential history! VERDICT In this strong and thoughtful political exploration, Heller considers two intriguing questions: what it would mean to a man to be thrust forward in time and out of his comfort zone, and what catalyst is needed to unify a disgruntled nation toward grassroots politics. This timely book will attract political junkies and readers who enjoy comic novels.—Jennifer Beach, Cumberland Cty. P.L., VA

Product Details

Quirk Publishing
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)


Meet the Author

Jason Heller is an American culture journalist whose work appears in The A.V. Club, Village Voice Media, Alternative Press, Tor.com, Weird Tales. Taft 2012 is his first novel. He lives in Denver, Colorado.

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Taft 2012 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
DSaff More than 1 year ago
It's 2012 and former President Taft wakes up within the White House gates, ambles over to a press conference and is shot. Positive identification means that there is a big shake up in Washington and there are lots of questions to answer. But, what about President Taft? What happened to him almost one hundred years ago? How will he cope with living in a totally different world? Jason Heller paints a wonderful picture of what it might be like if Taft showed up today. He presents real situations that fit into today's world, and brings President Taft to life with his words. You will discover things like; what happens when Taft finds real family; and what it be like to be his bodyguard, especially when he wants to take a road trip. You will also discover who the "Tafties" are. Come on, pick up a copy of "Taft 2012." You won't regret the moments of fun, joy, and sadness; and you might even enjoy the politics. I really enjoyed this book, perhaps more so because I was able to discuss the book with the author in "The Next Best Book Club" on Goodreads. The characters seemed very real to me, and I wish I could meet the Taft of this book. There was plenty to keep my attention as I watched the former President and those he contacted on a daily basis go through pretty normal reactions. I found it to be a quick, interesting read. Thank you to Jason Heller for joining our group to discuss his book, and to Lori (Super Mod.) and the others who joined the discussion. It was a pleasure!
RickFL More than 1 year ago
Very well written, an instant classic for 2012. If you're interested in politics and history, then this novel is for you! Blended with commentary about modern social-political reality and fantastical unreality, "TAFT 2012" is a must-read!
hippypaul More than 1 year ago
This book, the first by Jason Heller, is an odd combination of Science Fiction and Alternative History. As Science Fiction it requires us to believe an impossible thing; that William Howard Taft vanished after his one term as president and reappeared on the White House lawn in 2011. In point of fact, President Taft lived out a full and useful life and died on March 8, 1930. The Alternative History of the novel is the reaction of President Taft to finding himself alive in the twenty-first century and his actions in response to this event. I feel that Mr. Heller succeeds masterfully at both portions of the task. Taft is remote and little known enough that the suspension of disbelief is easy to make. In a review of the history of Taft and his term of office I feel that his “Taft” is quite believable. I was pleased by the development of the novel and surprised by the plot twist. The resolvement by Taft was dramatic and, in my opinion, in character. If the novel had a flaw it was in its brevity. I felt that the section in which Taft encounters and adjusts to contemporary society could have been quite a bit longer. However, this may be based solely on my desire to see a good thing continue. This was a fine novel and I would encourage everyone to read it. It is my hope that the author favors us with many more.
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crazydave333 More than 1 year ago
An enjoyable book with an interesting premise, but not terribly memorable and the satire doesn't have quite the bite a political novel ought to. However, it's not a dour film and the author obviously had done his research on WHT. Might have been a killer political satire if Taft had gone up against Fox News or Monsanto, rather than their fictional proxies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book had an interesting premise, and promised to be entertaining. It was very disappointing and I believe quite a lazy effort.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I heard about this book on the radio and was mildly amused by the idea of bringing Taft back to life. But this book exceeded my expectations. It is entertaining, witty and smart. And much like Taft would, it tells it how it would be, if you woke up 100 years later. Great read, couldn't put it away!
blueeyes53 More than 1 year ago
This book made you really think if Taft did come back, the author draws you still you feel like its true
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Entertaining at times... funny at others.. really, well, quite weird at parts.. misses the mark overall.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorte books I have read in a long time!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like history and trying to fit it into today's world this is a MUST read for you. It has several different twists in the story line that keep you wanting to turn the next page. It was fun to read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago