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Taft 2012

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  1,180 ratings  ·  288 reviews


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 o
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 17th 2012 by Quirk Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.40  · 
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 ·  1,180 ratings  ·  288 reviews

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January 2012

The bathtub story. The goddamn bathtub story. William Howard Taft will never live that down. He vanished on the bitter day Woodrow Wilson took office and reappeared, enormous and dirt-caked, on the White House lawn nearly a hundred years later...and people are still talking about the time he got stuck in a bathtub.

What's a newly resurrected ex-President to do? Taft never wanted much in life--heck, he never even wanted to be President--but in this brave new world of bitter politics a
Lee Razer
Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
I love the idea of this book as I understood it before reading it, but don't much care for the execution. If only I had read the acknowledgements page first, in which the author thanks his editor for giving him this idea, and mentions that this first time novelist is the previous author of The Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook. Oh. That would have seriously adjusted my expectations of what kind of book this was; less serious yet playful examination of American politics by an inspired novelist, and m ...more
Rob Walker
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-2018
As if Frank Capra and Rod Serling had decided to collaborate on a story, TAFT 2012 tells the story of a revived William Howard Taft as he navigates the political pitfalls and cultural quirks of the 21st century and its people (some of whom want him to return to the White House).

The concept of TAFT 2012 is engaging enough, but you will certainly fall in love with the title character, the portly successor to the louder and more thrilling Teddy Roosevelt. This Taft is warm and charming, doing his b
Oct 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
I was ready to like this one- maybe even for the scifi book club? But no. The writing was clunky. Taft acclimated to 2012 after his hundred year (unexplained) nap far too well. His language wasn't quite different enough. And while I'm willing to believe that Taft has had his character assassins, this character was too perfect. He seemed to be just the mouthpiece for the author's "moderate" beliefs. I think the scene where Taft slept with a biker chick was supposed to be funny, but I found it utt ...more
M.J. Ryder
Jan 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
On first impression you might be forgiven for thinking Taft 2012 is a cheap “tie-in” – a work destined for the bargain basement, and cunningly crafted to make a fast buck from the buzz surrounding the American presidential election. I will certainly hold my hands up right now and admit this was the first thought that crossed my mind when I read the blurb:

He’s back. And he’s the biggest thing in politics.

He is the perfect presidential candidate. Conservatives love his hard-hitting Republican resu
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had never even heard of this book until today. I stopped at the library this afternoon to return Bossypants and Swimming Upstream, Slowly. I had just gone for a run not twenty minutes prior, and my chubby self still needed a bit of time to recuperate, so I wandered around the library's new books section. Once I saw the cover, I had to take a peek.

Taft 2012is a "science fiction/alternate reality meets saucy political commentary" novel. Former President William H. Taft decided to lie down and ta
Diane S ☔
Feb 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 i ...more
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: time-travel
Lots of fun! Time travel and US Presidents... what's not to love? I was cracking up at Taft trying to use Twitter. There were a couple small things that bothered me in the book, but I didn't focus on them long enough to really put my finger on it, the idea was too much fun. ...more
May 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
An excellent premise, well executed. This was a quick and interesting read that combined history, politics, and some laugh out loud humor.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: taft
I read this book during election season, as it seemed appropriate to read a campaign book. I’m not sure that I like how the timeline in the story erases Taft’s tenure as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, although it’s implied that we ultimately get there.

This was far more charming than expected, and does a weird balance between making fat jokes while also disparaging fat jokes. Something that has always bothered me is the historical footnote that Taft has been relegated to because he was fat.
Jan 04, 2012 rated it liked it
What would happen if President William Howard Taft—the 27th president of the United States—suddenly reappeared in modern day America? How would America react, and how would it affect the presidential race of 2012? Author Jason Heller tries to answer these questions in the comic novel Taft 2012.

This novel was fun while it lasted—unfortunately, it didn't last long. Clocking in at only 249 pages, it didn't explore enough of the possibilities that were possible, and in fact, the ending was so abrupt
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: awesome
This book was great. I like alternative history- because, well, it's alternative history. And I'm a nerd and like history. Anyway...
William Howard Taft- disappears while heading out to the White House lawn to hear Woodrow Wilson's acceptance 1912.. and never returns. All of a sudden, flash forward to 2012...and there's Taft! Back from wherever he was(it's never completely established, but that's part of the fun). To a completely new and unhinged(in his eyes, compared to 100 years ag
Paul Mcfarland
Feb 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Feb 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Taft 2012 is part history lesson, part political commentary, part indictment of the food industry, and part quirky fantasy. Taken individually, each part would be interesting enough, but as a whole, they blend into an odd little tale about the people we choose to lead us.

The story centers around William Howard Taft, his unexplained disappearance in 1913 and his sudden reappearance in 2011. Far from being just an unwilling time traveler, Taft is a reminder to the populous of what the nation used
Jim Loter
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
A high-concept political satire that imagines a 2012 presidential race after William Howard Taft inexplicably emerges from a 100-year hibernation. Taft's combination of progressive conservatism appeals to a politically polarized electorate and inspires the grass-roots "Taft Party" - an obvious nod to the Tea Party. The scenes of Taft's re-entry into the modern world are quickly dispatched with very little of the "OMG airplanes television cellphones Internet!" hoopla, which is welcomed. But the l ...more
Emily Van Herik
Feb 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting little think piece. Worth a read if you already love politics, although Taft essentially seems like a stand in for Heller to say what he thinks about issues. quick read, decent plot, and a fun idea.
Nov 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: quit
I had looked forward to reading this one for quite some time, but barely made it halfway through. I don't quit a book lightly, but I'm sorry. I think 146 pages is more than an adequate chance and I really, really wanted to like this. Unfortunately, this just wasn't doing it for me. I found the epistolary parts of the book much stronger than the author's attempts at straight prose, which seemed clunky and pretty unimaginative (save of course, for the central conceit of the book, which I suspect t ...more
Kasa Cotugno
I chose this book because it was described as being for "Vonnegut fans," but i should have read further in the description. Had I done so, I would have realized it would not be my cup of tea. There are some good ideas here, but the execution is slapdash and doesn't hold the reader's interest. The idea of resurrecting Taft to take the reins for the Republican party in 2012 makes about as much sense as the current list of potential GOP candidates, but I couldn't get past the fact that the author h ...more
Dec 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book. The idea was intriquing. Sad to say, I found it dissapointing. The little side writings of memos/news articles/TV commentary etc was distracting. They moved the story along, but were a cheap trick that a better writer would have avoided. After a jump of 100 years into the future, Taft ajusted to the 21st Century with little trouble. I pushed myself to finish this book.
Nicholas Lubofsky
Feb 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This wonderful and unique book is perfect to read during this campaign season. Not only is it entertaining, it's really thought-provoking, causing me to re-examine my ideas about government, society, and life. Bravo! ...more
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyable with a great perspective on our political culture today.
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was dumb and I don't know what I was thinking. I guess it was just the concept of it. ...more
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
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 s
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a very interesting book that imagines what would happen if former President William Taft suddenly came back to life in 2012. According to the story, Taft mysteriously disappeared after his failed reelection bid and was never heard from again. One hundred years later in 2012, Taft awakens in a muddy pit on the White House grounds and walks right into a presidential press conference. He becomes an instant phenomenon because of his resurrection and possibly a new presidential candidate.

Sep 01, 2017 rated it liked it
William Howard Taft disappeared on the day of Woodrow Wilson's inauguration in 1913, and reappears suddenly on the White House lawn in 2011. Don't get too bogged down in how/why this happened, because really this book is about what would happen if this largely forgotten president showed up in time to affect the 2012 election. It's interesting to see how people pick and choose Taft's historic stances - as well as the historic events he lived through but did not necessarily endorse - to support wh ...more
Nov 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
This review was first published by The New York Journal of Books in 2012. I reproduce it here:

Our political system is a theater of the absurd. Would anyone disagree?

As we brace ourselves for the the yearlong election season, political humorists can rest assured there will be no shortage of material keeping them engaged and employed. But they must be careful not to settle for easy parody when their targets often do such a good job of parodying themselves.

Not for nothing can The Daily Show’s Jon S
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
A sometimes humorous tale of an alternate reality in which President William Howard Taft awakens to find himself in a new century, and later at the head of the presidential ticket for a third party that carries his name. A satire that slaps both traditional parties, the actual (unnamed) president in 2012, corporate greed, and the gullibility of the American populace, the fictional story line finished as unfulfilling as a Fulsom dinner. I kept waiting for an explanation to tell me how, and more i ...more
Dec 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
William Howard Taft comes back from the beyond (in this version, he was hibernating under the White House lawn for a hundred years) and becomes the object of a populist movement to give him a second term, 100 years after the first.

It seems like it's not sure if it wants to be an examination of politics-- the kind of politics that gave rise to Trump 10 years after this book's flight of fancy-- or a fish-out-of-water story in which a past-century guy meets up with the mores of a new era, or just t
Tom Brown
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This satire was very humorous. It centers on the strange premise that William Howard Taft wake up after 100 years and is suddenly living in our time. What he thinks of the present and how people react to him make for a very interesting story that is quite timely for our present day. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Taft's experience in world of the United States in 2012 is completely understandable and not very surprising. How he manages this "brave new world" is quite curious and I found ...more
Devyn Harris
Jan 05, 2021 rated it liked it
Such a fun premise, brought to life with witty banter, interesting scenarios and history lessons. Sadly though, what makes the meat of the plot interesting, also becomes thinly veiled early on by incessant foreshadowing. Knowing full well where this story intended to go, the ride was still worth it and I feel many sentiments the book brings forth may ring even truer among the American people in 2020.
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I'm a Denver-based writer who contributes regularly to The A.V. Club and Alternative Press. Quirk Books will publish my debut novel, Taft 2012, as well as a series of middle-grade horror books (to be announced). I'm also the nonfiction editor of Clarkesworld Magazine and am represented by Jennifer Jackson of Donald Maass Literary Agency. ...more

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