The President goes missing. Every corner of the White House has been searched and double-checked, without success. The Vice President is in Europe, so the decision of whether to go public or not falls upon the Chief of Staff. Just then the phone rings: a journalist has spotted the President sitting on a park bench near the Lincoln Memorial, his only disguise a baseball cap pulled well down over his eyes.
The Commander in Chief of the most powerful military force in the world has acted strangely and explanations are sought, but the President is far from apologetic. It is he who is asking questions.
This incident, which occurs about fifteen months from the end of the President’s first term, provokes a change of attitude. This worries his campaign manager who fears he is throwing away his chances of re-election, but more sinisterly, it provokes the opposition of vested interests who fear their privileges are under threat.
But the President is convinced he has seen a way to make a real change, to cut through the tired arguments of both Left and Right and heal the rifts in society. In a carefully crafted dialogue, John Stewart spells out the implications and the reaction of press and public.
The interest in real change aroused by the US presidential primaries makes this book timely on both sides of the Atlantic. The reform the President seeks to introduce in the USA could be just as relevant for the UK.
John Stewart, the son of a farmer in Northern Ireland, moved to London in the 1950s. He is the author of three historical novels, The Centurion, translated into German, Italian and Spanish, The Last Romans, placed in the time of Justinian and Boethius, and Marsilio, centred on the early life of the Florentine philosopher-priest, Marsilio Ficino. He has written two biographies, Standing for Justice, on the life of Andrew MacLaren MP and A Promise Kept, on the work of a Christian trade unionist.
‘John Stewart’s second political novel is, on one level, a tale of the ‘good man’ in politics: in the vein of Being There, say, or Good as Gold. John Duncan, the President of the United States, and hence the most powerful man in the world, has an epiphany which leads him to a realization of what is wrong with society, the economy and government. This realization, and Duncan’s insistence on truth-telling, brings him into conflict with established interests; and it brings him also to the thought and ideas of the American economist Henry George (1839-1897), particularly his notion of ‘location value’. It is beautifully written, Stewart’s prose is graceful indeed. Entertaining and thought-provoking, it will undoubtedly serve to spark interest in the work and thought of Henry George.’
Paul Kane, www.compulsivereader.com
‘This is an unusual book in that it is enjoyable and entertaining fictional reading which simultaneously outlines simple but feasible economic solutions to the USA’s problems. It is surprisingly appropriate at this moment to the dilemma which is being faced by the world and the American people in particular. John Stewart shows extraordinary powers of subtle perception of character. The courage and words of this fictitious president are quite moving at times. The book left me quite uplifted at the end. Excellent.’
Hm Harper on amazon.co.uk