© 2021 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
WYSO Stories

Book Nook: William Howard Taft, by Jeffrey Rosen

Vick Mickunas' interview with Jeffrey Rosen


William Howard Taft is the only president who also served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He was our 27th president and was the most judicial of the lot. While he was a reluctant president; he never really wanted the job, he was an immensely gifted chief justice and is considered to have been one of the best judges to have served in that position.

Taft was part of an enduring political dynasty, the Tafts of Cincinnati. His father was one of the founders of the Republican party.  Other Tafts have served in the US Senate, as the Mayor of Cincinnati, and most recently, as the Governor of Ohio.

While Taft is often remembered as the man who was our heaviest president, he was much more than that. In many ways he was the exact opposite of the current occupant of the White House but they did share one common trait, Taft was notoriously thin-skinned and prone to firing members of his administration with little thought as to the consequences.

Ohio produced numerous presidents during the 19th century. Taft was elected in 1908 then lost his bid for reelection in 1912. He was one of the last presidents to come from Ohio. In 1920 Warren Harding, the last president from Ohio took office and he was the one who ultimately permitted Taft to realize his long cherished dream by appointing him to be our chief justice.

William Howard Taft treasured the U.S. Constitution- the author Jeffrey Rosen is a Constitution scholar and an ideal biographer for Taft, a man who wanted all of our presidents to understand and to respect this hallowed document.

The Book Nook on WYSO is presented by the Greene County Public Library with additional support from Washington-Centerville Public Library,  Clark County Public LibraryDayton Metro Library, and Wright Memorial Public Library.

Copyright 2021 WYSO. To see more, visit WYSO.