Taft 2012 by Jason Heller

8/10 An entertaining quick read with an interesting presentation style.

William Howard Taft, 27th president of the United States of America. He was a large and imposing figure who ran the USA from 1909 to 1913. Just under one hundred years later he unexpectedly returns to life and politics.

His personality is larger than life and he not only has to deal with modern life but is thrust back in to political life whether he likes it or not. His reappearance comes at an important time for the US when election fever hits and the disillusioned voters turn to Taft 2012.

I am not a big expert on US history and for a long while I thought that William Howard Taft was a fictional president. However, the book and the way it tied in with historical references and characteristics of the ex-president made me research him a bit further. From what I can tell, Taft is not one of the most celebrated US presidents but what Heller’s story does is personalise this man and set out how his personality influenced his time in office with reference to his policies in the modern day.

Taft’s reappearance in the modern day is an amusing read and well timed for the American political landscape. However, I don’t think the central theme of Taft’s campaign, the production of food products, is a serious issue in US politics. I can understand why Heller shies away from dealing with the big issues facing the presidential candidates however; the campaign against Fulsom foods did, in my opinion, make me think the story was less believable.

Despite this, the book is an entertaining quick read with an interesting presentation style. It makes use of short narrative and supplementary extracts from Twitter and talk show transcripts.

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