A Good Book

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PHOTOS    Left: Senator Huey Long, Louisiana at the Democratic National Committee defending his group of delegates, Chicago, Illinois, June 28, 1932; AP Images.
Right: ‘U.S. Senator Huey Long, the political “Kingfish” of Louisiana.’ Stereograph by Keystone View Company, circa 1933; courtesy Library of Congress.

Robert Penn Warren’s

Inspired by the life of “The Kingfish”—Louisiana’s colorful and dangerous Huey Long—Warren’s atmospheric novel examines the life and death of Willie Stark, a smooth-tongued populist obsessed with his ambition to become President.

Told from the perspective of Stark’s young aide, Jack Burden, this 1946 story of political intrigue in the Depression-era South is disturbingly up-to-date in its observations on the gap between rich and poor, thuggish electoral tactics, and the conflicting demands of conscience versus ambition.