Novels with presidents as characters

I just finished Richard North Patterson’s trilogy about President Kerry Kilcannon. It was OK – Kilcannon was way too smart and principled and by the third one I was a little bored because you just knew he’d win again. Fortunately I was of the right political persuasion. I don’t see how anyone who’s not a bleeding-heart liberal (like me) wouldn’t throw the books across the room after reading twenty pages.

Aaaanyway, I’ve also read Absolute Power by David Baldacci (crap), A God in Ruins by Leon Uris (OK), and The People’s Choice by Jeff Greenfield (funny and fascinating).

All these books feature a POTUS as a significant character – sometimes the main character, like Patterson’s and Uris’s books. I guess since it’s an election year, I suddenly have a jones for political novels.

Can anyone recommend some others? They can be comedies, tragedies, thrillers, sci-fi, anything – except historical. I don’t mind if they’re about real presidents, as long as the story itself is fiction.

If you’re a bleeding heart liberal, you may not like the books, but there’s Tom Clancy’s “Executive Orders” and “The Bear and the Dragon”, with Clancy’s character and alter ego Jack Ryan as the President and also a major character in both.

The R Document by Irving Wallace makes the President out to be something of a stooge, manipulated by a scheming FBI director, and can only be saved by a crusading Assistant Attorney General. But for two critical deus-ex moments (where characters blurt out information for no apparant reason but to advance the plot), it’s quite readable.

I should add that as long as the story’s good, I myself don’t care about the POTUS’s political persuasion.

For Alternate History, Turtledove’s How Few Remain/Great War/American Empire have various US and CS presidents as major characters.

This is going to drive me crazy. I just read a book with a president major character and I can’t remember what the book was and I got it from the library so I can’t just go find it on the bookshelf. Aiieee!

And then, of course, as soon as I hit submit I remember the book and also remember why I forgot the book. Exclusive, by Sandra Brown.

It sucks.

So nevermind!

There was an entire genre of presidential thrillers in the 60s, beginning with Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey’s Seven Days in May. Knebel went on to write several other similar books, including Vanished and The Night of Camp David.

Robert J. Serling (Rod’s brother) wrote The President’s Plane is Missing, though, of course, the president is missing, too. Still, he’s a major character.

In Action Comics in 1963, Superman reveals his secret identity to President Kennedy.

By co-incidence, this comic, written & drawn months in advance, hit the stands 24 hours after Kennedy’s death.

Some storeowners, not unsuprisingl;y, destroyed them in grief & anger.

It’s not DC Comics Company’s fault, of course.

The issue is highly sought-after as a collector’s item.

The narrator and protagonist of Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slapstick: Or Lonesome No More! is Dr. Wilbur Daffodil-11 Swain, the final President of the United States.

In those Executioner pulp novels (there’re hundreds of them), Mac Bolan’s boss answers directly to the President, so “The President” makes frequent appearances in the stories. He is never named, though, as far as I know.

The President’s actions are significant at the beginning of the book, but most of the story focuses on the election: Interface by Neal Stephenson. A quick search didn’t show it, though definitely has it. Any US fans know if it has a different title over there? Or hasn’t been published?

You must read Fail-Safe by Burdick and Wheeler (1962). This is one of the greatest Cold War books ever written, about a communication failure that triggers an accidental attack on the Soviet Union. The (fictional) President is featured prominently in this book, as he is faced with several agonizing but crucial decisions.

Wallace does have some pretty clumsy exposition at times. I wanted to mention his novel The Man, about the impeachment trial of the first black president of the US, a man named Douglas Dilman. James Earl Jones portrayed Dilman in a film adaptation of the book.

Irving Wallace also wrote The Man, about the first black president of the United States. The VP had died in office, and before a new one was appointed the President and the Secretary of State died in a building collapse in Germany. The new president, Douglas Dillman, was next in line, an appointee.

One line that is amusing now, and dates the book, is when Dillman, beset by the incredible pressure of the job, is speaking with his political mentor, another retired POTUS. Dillman mentions that the thought of resigning has crossed his mind and the old man says “No President of this country has ever disgraced this office by resigning, and you’re not going to be the first!”

I think they made a TV movie out of the book, with James Earl Jones as the title character, but I never saw it.

Almost a simulpost!

Creepy! Yours the better post, IMO; much more detail than mine.

Also, if you want to go a little sleazy, try American Rhapsody by Joe Eszterhas, the screenwriter who gave us Showgirls. The book has a lot to do with Hollywood and Bill Clinton, and while it isn’t technically fiction, the final chapter features a monologue from Clinton’s penis.

The 3rd installment of the excellent Flashman series by George MacDonald Fraser, Flash for Freedom! has the “protagonist” running into Abe Lincoln on a couple of occasions.
You should probably read at least on of the first two episodes beforehand, though.

Not exactly true – I personally bought a copy before the assassination. It was on the newsstands at the time, though.

Of course, this provides the motive forSuperman killing JFK.

Also, this might not count, because he’s not president when the book takes place, but “X-President” starts out in the future with somebody ghost-writing President Clinton’s biography (and Clinton shows up there), and then becoming part of a government project and travelling back in time to when Clinton was a teenager (and the teenaged Clinton shows up there) to change history.