US Presidents Portrayed in Fiction

Here in the United States, President’s Day honors the birth of our first elected leader, George Washington, though in recent years the day also recognizes all who have followed him to this high office. If you are lucky to have the day free, you’re welcome to hang out at your local bookstore and find something […]



Here in the United States, President’s Day honors the birth of our first elected leader, George Washington, though in recent years the day also recognizes all who have followed him to this high office. If you are lucky to have the day free, you’re welcome to hang out at your local bookstore and find something to read.

I have read a few books with presidential themes that you might enjoy. Some are steeped in historical fact, while others are stories we probably wish really happened. Either way, these are nothing like your seventh-grade social studies textbooks.

You may have guessed that I planned to bring up Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. While I have had difficulty getting into the literary “mash-ups,” I actually enjoyed this book. I liked especially Lincoln’s encounters with another figure of note (I won’t spoil it for you), and the overall style and setting, which drew me into the story. On a similar vein, Jason Heller’s Taft 2012, places a president in an unlikely situation. This time, though, the story takes a tip from Rip Van Winkle and applies political knowledge of the past to contemporary issues. Definitely worth a read if you have a free day, like today.

If you find First Ladies more interesting, you might want to check out Rita Mae Brown’s Dolley, a fictional account of President and Mrs. Madison. If you’re familiar with Brown’s novels, you’ll know this is a departure from her mysteries and Runnymeade books. When I met Ms. Brown over a decade ago, she noted in her talk that after this book came out nearly every living First Lady wrote to her to compliment the work. Who can argue with reviews like that?

Lastly, I’ve read quite a few works that have fictionalized John F. Kennedy and various members of his family. It makes sense to find so many books, since the Kennedys have fascinated the public for decades. The Secret Letters of Marilyn Monroe and Jacqueline Kennedy by Wendy Leigh imagines a correspondence between two 20th century icons, while The Immortals by Michael Korda delves further into the Marilyn/JFK lore. Lastly, American Tabloid by James Ellroy offers a grittier look at Camelot.

Over the course of history, many fascinating men have taken the highest office in the country, and have inspired authors to write compelling fiction. Check out one of these titles at your favorite bookstore today.

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