Taft 2012 Review
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In case you’ve somehow failed to notice, 2012 is an election year—one of those years when news reports are bombarded with campaign updates and otherwise kind, reasonable people come close to blows while arguing the infallibility of their chosen political party. With the government at a standstill and the recession raging on, some might say that what our country needs is (yet another) change. In Jason Heller’s satirical political novel, Taft 2012, that change comes in the form of a long-lost, widely-derided old president.

After a particularly ugly campaign, President William Howard Taft lost his bid for reelection to Woodrow Wilson in November of 1912. Months later, as he prepared to hand over the White House to his successor, he disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again—never, that is, until he comes out of his mysterious hibernation in the fall of 2011.

As he becomes acclimated to a strange new century, the 155-year-old former president begins stirring something in the American people: hope. Once a progressive Republican, Taft’s political policies make him popular with Republicans and Democrats alike. And it isn’t long before a new political party—the Taft Party—is calling for his presidential candidacy.

With help from his great-granddaughter, Rachel, Taft begins to rediscover the country he once served while trying to figure out his place in it.

Both political satire and imaginative adventure, Taft 2012 takes readers on a wild and crazy ride through present-day America—as seen through the eyes of a man who was born before the Civil War began. Readers will be amused by Taft’s reactions to modern conveniences and modern technology—from his new love of electronic golf and his introduction to Twitter to his unpleasant reactions to over-processed food products.

While Taft 2012 is definitely an entertaining read, though, it’s also an eye-opening one—the kind of book that (if you let it) will make you stop and think about where our country’s been, where it’s going, and what needs to be fixed. It stirs up questions about the political process, the problems within our bipartisan system, the ideal candidate, and the corruption that seems to play into every politician’s career.

Still, through it all, Taft remains a likable character. You’ll enjoy following him and his ever-present Secret Service escort, Agent Kowalczyk, as they travel around the country, and you’re sure to learn a thing or two from his experiences.

Is Taft 2012 a biting political satire—one that’s sure to shake up our political system? Well, not really. But, in this election year, it makes for an entertaining and thought-provoking read—one that might have you looking in unexpected places for your new favorite candidate.

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