Taft 2012

Taft 2012

by Jason Heller

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Overview

HE'S BACK.
AND HE'S THE BIGGEST THING IN POLITICS.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594745560
Publisher: Quirk Publishing
Publication date: 01/31/2012
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Jason Heller is an American culture journalist whose work appears in The A.V. ClubVillage Voice MediaAlternative Press, Tor.com, Weird TalesTaft 2012 is his first novel. He lives in Denver, Colorado.

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Taft 2012 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 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.
LizPhoto on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
" Taft 2012 started off as a really good book but lost it somewhere in between the middle and the end. The idea of a former President returning to life and politics is a very intriguing idea but it just didn't work for me with Taft. I honestly was not to informed about the history of Taft and still really don't care. The book left out some critical information like how Taft survived all those years( that he is a medical miracle), his sudden jump in to the year 2011 and his eventual run for presidency in 2012. The characters could have had a little more background and detail to them. I was disapointed in the end of the book which I saw coming from the middle of the book.Don't get me wrong I did like the book and I do enjoy the writing of Jason Heller but "Taft 2010" is just missing something. Maybe if the president was some else like J.F.K or Lincoln, I would have enjoyed it more. I will recommend "Taft 2012" to certain readers.
miken32 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Remember on The West Wing when they came up with Alan Alda's character Arnie Vinnick as the ideal fantasy Republican? I was reminded of that while reading, with the turn-of-the-century president and his honest apolitical views representing a change from the author's presumable disenchantment with the current polarized political scene that exists down in the USA. Interesting idea for a novel and a very quick read. Worth giving a shot.
westcott on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've read a decent amount of Heller's writing on avclub.com , one of my favorite websites, so I was looking forward to this. In addition, I help teach an American studies class and have learned bits and pieces about Taft enough to realize he's a pretty interesting person and could make a pretty interesting character. I was right; he does. Heller's portrayal of Taft himself is the best part of the book. Heller gets into some aspects of his real personality and some of the emotional effects of his waking up after 100 years of disappearing and dealing with history's portrayals and dismissals. I think that a lot of what Heller has to say about modern politics is probably accurate, but when he gets overly specific about his criticisms, it gets a little clunky and borderline preachy, but it's not a bad message. It's a nice quick read and I'm glad I read it.
Clerdly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Honestly, I was a little nervous about this one. However, I was pleasantly surprised. This book was delightful! The Taft character was lovely. I would have been satisfied with an entire book consisting only of the adventures and misadventures of the reincarnated William Howard. If I had a single complaint it was that it cut short. There could have been more development of secondary characters and expansion of the plot re: the campaign.
surlysal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
You can't help yourself but laugh at the humorous yet distressing take on our current state of political affairs and wonder if Taft really is our answer. The books was a quick read that will probably have you asking "Is that it?" once you get to the end. At first I thought the sidebar gray pages were a distraction but quickly realized I was looking forward to the "bonus" material that gave more detail into the storyline. An overall enjoyable read and has me looking forward to his next novel Ocean of Bone.
sdobie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An alternate history novel where President William Howard Taft mysteriously disapperared on the day of Woodrow Wilson's inauguration, and reappears on the grounds of the White House in late 2011. Taft's political positions don't really align with those of the modern parties, so he soon becomes the focus of a group which calls itself the "Taft Party" and soon convinces Taft that he should run again in the 2012 election.This is a lightweight, fairly amusing book as Taft works to adjust to life in the 21st century. The chapters are interspersed with excerpts from social media about Taft which are also interesting. Where the book fails is in not having any particular viewpoint. The only position Taft is seen to take is opposition to processed foods, which doesn't make the campaign portions of the book very interesting.
RivkaBelle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Review originally posted on my blog: Awordsworth.blogspot.comBook provided by publisher for review.Picture, if you will, the United States in a frenzy of politics: the 2012 elections are looming closer and closer, and everyone is trying desperately to find the right candidate to go up against the sitting President. Imagine, with me, that one day a former President, who left office 100 years ago, reappears suddenly. Like, literally reappears. Alive and well. Rip van Winkle-style, with a Presidential twist. Yeah. Jason Heller went there. What happens next is a story that could only happen in the American political arena - but in a good way!What I loved about Taft 2012 is how believable it is. Er, you know, aside from the fact Taft 'woke up' 100 years after he vanished. But the climate? The society? The way things played out? Totally. Believable. All you have to do is turn on the tv or check a news site online and it's easy to imagine the novel as reality. There are a lot of fun 'insider looks' too: tweets, agendas, etc. that help flesh out the story. And the sly comments about the world Taft wakes up in? I dare you not to recognize the connections. I think the very realness of the context is what makes this so enjoyable. I thoroughly enjoyed the read, alternating between chuckling over the developing story and appreciating the masterful storytelling.
tottman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Taft 2012 is a quick, quirky, funny and surprisingly touching little book. Jason Heller creates a world in which Taft disappeared nearly a hundred years earlier, only to reappear in the White House garden in 2011. He quickly gets up to speed on what has changed while he was away and before he knows it, becomes swept up in the 2012 presidential race.The book maintains a light touch throughout. It is consistently humorous while also being poignant and sometimes very insightful. Taft takes you back to a time when presidents were held in higher regard and sometimes even had the principles that modern-day politicians only pretend to have. Taft comes from a time when presidents really were larger than life, and in his case, quite literally so. In a time where people want to be inspired, Taft is a figure who can inspire them.Looking through the eyes of someone who hasn¿t seen the gradual changes the world has gone through in the last 100 years is eye-opening for the reader. The political aspects here are accessible and designed not to offend persons of any political stripe, or at least if they do, offend persons at all points along the political spectrum equally.Perhaps the greatest thing I can say about this book is that the fictional Taft has given me a new-found respect for the real one. The writing is clever and entertaining and often moving. I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes a little politics with their humor, or vice-versa. I was fortunate to receive an early review copy of this book.
mrmapcase on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book could be considered a satire on politics, or the intense 24 hour media scrutiny of pretty much everything in the news, or a call against overly processed foods. To me it was just a fun look on how a person from the early 20th century reacts to life in the 21st century. The one thing that I didn¿t like was the constant sidebars about TV shows or Twitter; they kept interrupting the flow of the story. All in all though it was an enjoyable story.
Magus_Manders on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First off, in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that in high-school, a friend and I decreed that all mentions of the words "William Howard Taft" would be replaced with "Help, I'm stuck in the bathtub!" Mr. President #27 is a bit of a punchline in the annuals of history, which may be why Heller took on this book.In the world of Taft 2012, Taft never became chief justice. Instead, he disappeared on the day of Woodrow Wilson's inauguration, only to stumble, muddy and befuddled, into a White House lawn press conference a few months prior to my writing this. We never learn how this happened, and after a few tests, no one important in the book really doubts his innate Taftness. Part of me felt really frustrated about this, but let's face it, there's no way Heller could explain this president unstuck in time without making it stupid. Instead, he's allowed himself a silly little premise to play with, and runs with it.It's no surprise that this book is a satire. Though, it's less about politics (which were always dirty) and more about media and consumption (which may have always been dirty, but were never quite as artificial as they are now). His big point is how many pundits reference prior administration's policies without providing context, thereby completely distorting their significance. Perhaps more surprising is Heller's desire to show a fuller picture of Taft. He brings up his often sensible and modest decisions that were maligned compared to the gung-ho moxie of his fire-cracker predecessor. Taft isn't just a fat man, but a good man who never really wanted to be president, but did his best in the time he had.The book is equally modest. It's satire is always rather obvious, but not enough so to get into zany absurdist humor. There are a number of scenes that are really unnecessary except for a build up to a couple laughs, and a twist that's both expected and not entirely sensical. However, Taft really is a sweety. You give him a lot of sympathy, both for his bizarre displacement and his deep disappointment. Even his pair of long monologues make sense with his real-life history of verbosity. Taft 2012 isn't great, but it's fun and smart. People with a bit of modern political savvy will get a kick out of the games Heller plays and may just give President Help I'm stuck in the Bath Tub the second chance he deserves.
Beamis12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was just pure fun to read. I usually shy away from political novels, but am so glad I made an exception. Reading his views, over 100 yrs later, on things such as television, cell phones, our food and other things was just so darn amusing. Since people are so discontented over our present political situation they even start a grass roots effort to get him elected again. Kept thinking how are they going to end this? The ending was satisfying if not a bit preposterous, but than again so is the whole concept. Heller did a great job with this vastly ironic satire.
karieh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of ¿what if¿ type novels¿.and ¿What if long dead President Taft appeared as part of 21st century life?¿ certainly seemed to fit that bill.I was disappointed in ¿Taft 2012¿ however¿because so many of the elements that tend to make this kind of book enjoyable (seeing today¿s world through the eyes of someone used to 1913, seeing how long/how hard it is for them to adapt, seeing how the world is changed because of him, etc.) just weren¿t that interesting.Taft, upon waking from some sort of hundred year hibernation, just doesn¿t seem to have much of a reaction to the modern world despite the millions of changes between his time and now.¿Taft didn¿t flinch. What a novel development. Clearly, a white man and a Negro woman sitting together in a restaurant was of no matter in the twenty-first century. He was less surprised than perhaps he should have been.¿That was true all through the book. Taft, born in the nineteenth century, is always less surprised than he should have been by computers, cell phones, modern dress, landing on the moon, etc. There was so little of the wide-eyed shock/surprise/amazement that I had expected ¿ it made the book a bit dull.And his views of our modern society only rarely made me stop and think. ¿If there is a problem with America today ¿ as I see it ¿ it is that we look for self-worth in consumption, rather than in the pursuit of personal achievement.¿ Or, ¿We Americans are a good people ¿ a very, very good people ¿ but one of our weaknesses is an assumption, justified by a good many miracles that have saved us from egregious mistakes in the past, that we should always expect America to be healthy and strong on its own, because we believe that God looks after children, drunken men, and the United States!¿ True, but hardly shocking.I wasn¿t sure what the central message of the book was, either. It touches on corporate greed, inequality, mass marketing, big Agra, mass media, organic foods¿ I just couldn¿t put my finger on what the author was trying to convey using this president and this premise.
hairball on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An amusing read that takes pokes at all of the usual suspects in an election cycle. Can be read more quickly than the average Republican debate. The story is interspersed with little bits of social media, craigslist postings, television transcripts, and my personal favorite, an etsy listing for a clip-on Taft mustache.Taft 2012 won't remain pertinent after this election cycle, which is kind of sad, considering how much research probably went into this slim volume.
SusieBookworm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Even my rather conservative mother agrees that Taft 2012 is hilarious! (Actually, she read it in one day - an unheard-of feat for her - while it took me four.) Heller's satire is light-hearted, great for those of us who, like me, don't quite 'get' politics in the first place. I was very pleased that the author attacks American society and government as a whole, not specific people. He could have said a lot about Obama, but the name is never even explicitly said. Aside from a few details, the current president and any other key figures in the book could be just about anyone.I also enjoyed the fact that Taft 2012 is not just about politics, but also about the media and part of America's food supply. William Howard Taft's discovery of such inventions as Twitter and some of the nastier of processed foods ("Didn't Teddy Roosevelt pass an act against this stuff a century ago?") are too good to put down. Though, I must say, I felt sorry for Taft at a few points. One hundred years after the presidency he never really wanted, he's resurrected to run again - and all America thinks about is his enormous appetite, wide girth, and signature mustache.
mamajoan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The basic plot outline "guy wakes up 100 years in the future" is nothing new, but Jason Heller puts a fresh twist on it by choosing former US President Taft as his time-traveling character. I'm guessing that most Americans, like me, don't remember much about Taft from our long-ago history classes in school. So I found it interesting to read about Taft's personality, his election and re-election campaign, his relationships with Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. Of course, Heller changes some details of Taft's life in order to make his story work, but from what I can see (because of course I had to google Taft after reading the book), he stuck as close to the truth as he could.I saw another reviewer here mention that the book goes fairly light on the "guy adjusting to the technology of the future" aspects of the plot. I agree with that assessment and from the point of view of a science-fiction fan, it's a little disappointing. Taft in the story is a pretty easygoing guy who doesn't seem to have much trouble getting used to things like cell phones, television, the internet, and so forth. It would have been nice to get more detail on that. But basically Heller is not trying to tell a scifi story about a guy traveling to the future. He's telling a story about politics, namely the mess that is American politics in 2011/2012, and using Taft as his lens through which to view that mess. From that perspective the story has a lot of insight to offer. I found it particularly believable and interesting the way everyone in the story basically twists Taft's beliefs/policies to fit their own ends. Taft was a Republican and a conservative, but those things meant very different things in 1912 than they do in 2012, as Heller illustrates nicely and without getting too preachy.The book is meant to be humor, and as you know, some of the best political insights can be found in humor. I enjoyed reading it a lot. One could easily read it as pure "fluff" and put no more thought into it than you would any other "beach book"...or you could read it as political commentary, and agree or disagree as you choose. Either way, it's an easy and fun read.
JBD1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Taking counterfactual history to a whole new level, Jason Heller's satirical novel presumes that William Howard Taft mysteriously vanished on the morning of his successor's inauguration in 1913, only to suddenly reappear on the White House lawn in the fall of 2011. Find out how a thought-long-dead behemoth ex-president rockets onto the contemporary political scene, adjusts to life in the 21st century, and finds himself an unlikely standard bearer for a divided nation.Hilariously funny at times, but also a serious look at American political system. Recommended.
Ginerbia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this humorous story about President Taft, who suddenly vanished only to reappear 100 years later during a press conference on the white house lawn. His reaction to our modern society was hilarious from his fascination with Twinkies to his awe of wii golf. This book was a funny political satire that wasn't all about politics but included comparisons on how much things have changed (and stayed the same) in the last 100 years. This was a fast and fun read, highly recommended for anyone looking for a good laugh.
velopunk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Who knew? William Howard Taft actually disappeared after watching Woodrow Wilson taking the oath of office in 1912. He was never found but was in some kind of suspended animation until reappearing during the primary season of the 2012 elections. He is shot by a Secret Service agent who thinks he poses some kind of threat to President Obama. Think how you would look after a 100 year snooze! Taft seems to adjust seemlessly to the 21st Century. He is taken somewhat aback when he learns that his great-grandaughter, Rachel, has a Black husband and an biracial child. Taft is an immediate internet hit and the constant subject of chatrooms and Twitter. This was an amusing book and one that kept my interest.
gtippitt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really appreciate the review copies of books that I receive through LibraryThing, so I try really hard to find something good to say about every book along with my personal complaints when I have them. I have liked most of the 13 books I snagged, but this is only the third that I disliked enough I did not finish reading it. Once I start reading a book, I am fairly obsessive about finishing it, but life is simply too short to waste it reading some books. I got through about half of the book, but 150 pages was all I could muster.I was really disappointed, because I have always been fascinated by the Teddy Roosevelt and William Taft administrations and was looking forward to this book. Since my earliest memories of studying American history, I was fascinated by how the Republican and Democratic parties of Lincoln and Douglas were to later evolve into the modern Republican and Democratic Parties. The Southern Democrats of the Douglas mold were to become DixieCrats and then modern Republicans. The last stand of the Lincoln-Style Republicans seemed to have been the Progressive Republicans like Roosevelt and William Taft. The author mentions "Progressive Republicans" a few times, but his "Taft Party of 2012" is an unimaginatively disguised "Tea Party of 2008".I also love satire. I love Jonathan Swift , Mark Twain, and SNL Weekend Update. This book, like Attack of the Lushites by Russ Crossley, tries to take on the state of the American food system using satire. The state of the U.S. Federal government and our food supply chain are both issue about which I care very deeply. To me these books do not seem to use satire to highlight problems as much as use modern problems as Absurdist examples. They seem to say, "these problems are too bad to fix, so let's just laugh at them."
Laffrey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A president disappears right before his opponent is due to be sworn into office, only to reappear nearly 100 years later, right before the beginning of a contentious primary season. The setting is 2012 and the president from the past is none other than Ohio¿s favorite son, William Howard Taft. How does rotund and ridiculed former president navigate the shark-infested waters of 21st century politics? The answer is in Jason Heller`s Taft 2012.Why Taft? Maybe (in part) because most people know nothing about him (or am I projecting?), giving Heller a wider historical playing field. Or, most likely, because Taft is the perfect lens to view how far the Republican Party and the country as a whole has strayed from its roots, the reluctant hero.I found this book thoroughly enjoyable and very funny piece of fluff. Taft¿s reactions to the changes in daily life in the past hundred years go beyond the ¿oh my god look what they¿ve done¿ acknowledging that not every new thing was beyond the experience or imagination of our ancestors. I especially liked his surprise that the cell phone is such a recent addition to our lives. Heller also takes a few pokes at political talk show hosts and third party partisans who see what they want to see in their politicians, as opposed to what¿s really there.As much as I enjoyed the book, I left wanting to know more. The premise is clever and the message is clear. But Heller flits from one scene to another, never really delving into any one area. What about Taft¿s feelings about outliving all of his peers? We get a taste, but only enough to raise more questions, not enough to answer them. I would also liked to have known more about his budding relationship with his member of congress great-granddaughter and her family as well as seeing more of Secret Service Agent Kowalczyk.Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! But don¿t expect it to change the world (or even your mind).
TimBazzett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very quirky book, to say the least, from Philadelphia-based Quirk Books, TAFT 2012 is the kind of novel I am tempted to label as "an entertainment." Was it Graham Greene who called one or two of his own books that? In any case, Jason Heller's first novel is certainly entertaining. What should it be called? Fantasy? Humor (because it IS funny)? Satire? I certainly thought immediately of Joseph Heller and his classic CATCH-22, which so famously skewered and satirized the absurdity of war. But the two Hellers are not related. I found this out by a quick check on the internet. I also found myself checking out the book's protagonist, U.S. President William Howard Taft, on the internet. Because the central premise of the book is Taft suddenly showing up again one hundred years after his unsolved "disappearance" in 1913, when he failed to show up for President Wilson's inauguration. That's how believable Heller makes this central conceit. But I was able to go ahead and "suspend disbelief" and enjoy the ride. And it was a most enjoyable ride, I must say, filled not just with fantasy, but also with plenty of historical facts and tidbits. For example, did you know that Taft and Teddy Roosevelt were close friends and that Taft was hand-picked by TR to succeed him in office, but then wished he'd run himself, and they became enemies for a while. Lotsa stuff like that in here, and it all really works well too. There is some rather heavy-handed political commentary here on current issues. The spontaneously formed Taft Party (think "Tea" here) and the way these "Tafties" latch onto the unexplainably resurrected Taft and claim him as their own, a perfect candidate to unseat the sitting president. Obama, by the way, is never mentioned by name here. However, at first meeting the President, "Big Bill" Taft mistakes him for a "manservant" and asks him to "run down to the kitchen and fetch me a ham or two."But this newly risen Taft turns out to be an eminently decent man who quickly embraces many of the positive changes of the past hundred years and almost as swiftly recognizes the negatives, as he catches up on his US and world history, aided by a dedicated female Taft expert, his Secret Service bodyguard, and his great-granddaughter, an Ohio congresswoman.There are many political hot potato issues seamlessly introduced into the narrative - the endless political posturing, the importance of education, big business influence, and, particularly, problems created by agribusinesses and the food industry. This last seems most appropriate given the immense girth of President Taft and his love of food and eating. And Heller exercises just the right amount of restraint here, keeping the "fat jokes" to a minimum.I think this book will be a real treat for both fantasy fans and political junkies. (Tweets, blogs and pundits punctuate the narrative throughout.) But what the heck - I'm neither of those, and I enjoyed the book tremendously. It is, in short a quirky and most entertaining read.
datrappert on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Considering that the author's previous work was "The Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook", this is a much better book than it should be. It presents an alternative history in which President William Howard Taft disappeared on the day of his successor Woodrow Wilson's inauguration, only to reappear 99 years later on the South Lawn of the White House. Taft himself is far and away the best thing about the book--his take on the 21st century, his humanity, his common sense, his intelligence, and his love for life. When a new party, the Taft Party springs to life just as unexpectedly as he came back to life, he naturally ends up accepting its call for him to seek the Presidency again. His running mate is his great granddaughter, an independent Congressional Representative from Ohio. The campaign itself is a letdown, however, as is a lot of the narrative. Having set up such an absurd though interesting situation, the author doesn't quite know what to do with it. So while the book succeeds in arousing our interest in and admiration for Taft the Man, it fails to register on any deeper level.The book isn't funny enough to be the type of classic satire of the political system its author may intend--Being There succeeds much better in that vein. And its alternate history just confuses matters. The world hasn't changed that much from the one we know, except that Orson Welles ended up making a movie that caricatured Taft rather than Hearst, and that a giant conglomerate is foisting icky food on the American public. Making the head of this conglomerate the book's villain is the novel's worst failing since it ends up trivializing a serious problem through exaggeration. Overall, Heller's weaving of contemporary issues into the narrative is quite heavy-handed. With a little more effort, Heller could have created something much more lasting. The book's ending, which many readers will anticipate, is a bit of an anticlimax, although Taft's speech near the end of the book is quite good.In the end, I'm afraid that Taft 2012 will prove as ephemeral as its title indicates. I'm happy I read it for what it told me about Taft, who up until this point, had just been our fattest President and one who upset Teddy Roosevelt. And it is very fast read--I read it in less than a day. Heller writes well. He just needs to inject a little more substance next time. (Or a little more humor, take your pick.)