All The King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren is set in the 1930’s and tells the story of Willie Talos’ (or Stark depending on the version you are reading) rise to power as Governor of Louisiana. Talos is most probably a thinly fictionalized version of Senator Huey Long, a charismatic politician who shook up the status quo. Long was a complex politician, a man of the people and a populist but not immune to corruption, he was assassinated in 1935. Willie does a lot of good for the people of his state but he is not opposed to using whatever method for achieving his goals is most efficient, not necessarily considered the most correct. The story’s other main character is a newspaperman who goes to work for Willie; it is through him we see the historic context and local influences. Both men are fully rendered, complicated, rich characters. Willie is charismatic, able to give rousing speeches that bring his people to their feet. His energy is boundless, his ambition equally so. All the King’s Men won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, Robert Penn Warren was also a Pulitzer Prize winner for his poetry.
— Deon Stonehouse
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this classic book is generally regarded as the finest novel ever written on American politics. It describes the career of Willie Stark, a back-country lawyer whose idealism is overcome by his lust for power.
About the Author
Robert Penn Warren (1905–1989) won three Pulitzer Prizes, the National Book Award, the National Medal for Literature, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1986 he was named the country’s first poet laureate.
PRAISE FOR THE RESTORED EDITION OF ALL THE KING'S MEN
"To read it in this new edition is to be struck again by its raw power, its urgency and relevance."--New Orleans Times-Picayune
"The original editors adjusted the novel to the tastes and styles of the time, but now we can read it as it was written. The result is a more complicated and emotionally charged--and longer--story."--Chicago Tribune