Big news! LibraryThing is now free to all! Read the blog post and discuss the change on Talk.
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

By Robert Penn Warren: All the King's Men by…

By Robert Penn Warren: All the King's Men (original 1946; edition 1849)

by Robert Penn Warren (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,0481061,154 (4.11)335
The fictionalized account of Louisiana's colorful--and notorious--governor Huey Pierce Long, All the King's Men follows the startling rise and fall of Willie Stark, a country lawyer in the Deep South of the 1930s. Beset by political enemies, Stark seeks aid from his right-hand man Jack Burden, who will bear witness to the cataclysmic unfolding of this very American tragedy.… (more)
Title:By Robert Penn Warren: All the King's Men
Authors:Robert Penn Warren (Author)
Info:Harcourt Brace (1849), 661 pages
Collections:Your library, EBooks
Tags:Ebooks, American Writer, American Fiction, Fiction

Work details

All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren (1946)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 335 mentions

English (105)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (106)
Showing 1-5 of 105 (next | show all)
Set in the south somewhere, the story of politics and the corruption of the 1930's. Jack
Burden is the assistant to Willie Stark, the Governor, and aids in many different ways. Other characters include Anne and Adam Stanton, Jack's childhood friends, Judge Irwin, Jack's mother, and Willie's family. ( )
  LindaLeeJacobs | Feb 15, 2020 |
4.5* for this audiobook edition, 4* for the book itself

In many regards, this novel was much better than the 1949 movie (which was excellent!). Warren's prose is amazingly evocative and the characters were more complex than in the film. However, I did find Jack Burden's periodic excursions into philosophy & religion a bit tedious, perhaps due to the fact that I didn't comprehend his ideas (or maybe I did and just didn't like them...).

Unlike the film, the book is really more about Jack than Willie Stark. Stark is the flash point of the story and the not-so subtle resemblance to real life politician Huey Long makes Stark's character all the more fascinating. Despite that, it is the mysteries and complications of Jack's character and his relationships that are the heart of the book.

One final comment - Warren has included one of the best descriptions of undiagnosed clinical depression that I have ever read with Jack's "Great Sleep". ( )
  leslie.98 | Aug 17, 2019 |
Great book, great movie with (was it Broderick Crawford).
  JoshSapan | May 29, 2019 |
I detested this book. I think my expectations going in were off. I expected more politics and fewer flashbacks to the narrator's history research (which apparently were omitted from the British edition). But worse than that was the infuriating writing style. It is so repetitive (and digressionary)—and repetitive! Occasionally Warren catches something and for a moment there's a lyrical voice. But most of the attempts fall flat. And they fall flat.

"And all at once, you think that you are the one who is running away, and you had better run fast to wherever you are going because it will be dark soon. The train is going pretty fast now, but its effort seems to be through a stubborn cloying density of air as though an eel tried to swim in syrup, or the effort seems to be against an increasing and implacable magnetism of earth. You think that if the earth should twitch once, as the hide of a sleeping dog twitches, the train would be jerked over and piled up and the engine would spew and gasp while somewhere a canted-up wheel would revolve once with a massive and dreamlike deliberation. … You catch the sober, metallic, pure, late-light, unriffled glint of the water between the little banks, under the sky, and see the cow standing in the water upstream near the single leaning willow. And all at once you feel like crying. But the train is going fast, and almost immediately whatever you feel is taken away from you, too." ( )
  breic | Apr 26, 2019 |
"All the King’s Men" is a classic drama of political nature. If you already have a cynical attitude towards politicians, this story will surely reaffirm your views. It commences in the late 1930s, deep inside the South. Willie Stark, a back-woods, earthy, rough talking regular guy who is an outsider to politics, decides to run for Governor. He sways the public with his campaign rhetoric pushing honesty and his fight for the common man. With a short history of standing up to corruption in his local town, it comes as a total surprise that he wins.

The problem is that many of the self-serving political insiders are against him and determined to limit his power and ruin his political career. And they have no intention of giving up their own political advantage. Willie has good objectives. He really intends to do good, but quickly realizes the only way to fight corruption is through bribery and blackmail. He stoops to the same methods of all the other politicians by adopting Machiavelli’s philosophy of “the ends justify the means.”

So where do you draw the line on what defines corruption? And does the end justify the means in any situation? Governor Willie Stark never doubted he was doing the right thing for the people, but his right-hand man Jack Burden (who is narrating the story) certainly has reservations. Jack is the man responsible for delivering Willie’s ultimatums…and for carrying out the threat if intimidation doesn’t get the job done.

One thing both Jack and the reader come to realize is that life is often woven together with a web of secrets, lies, and deception that reach far beyond the political arena. And exposing those secrets often results in dire consequences for many innocent people.

"All the Kings Men" was written in 1946. It is rated as number 36 on Modern Library’s list of 100 best novels of all time. The language is harsh. The original version may not even be available and reviews on the revised and edited edition are mediocre at best. If you can get your hands on the original version, you’ll have a worthy read. One thing for certain, not much has changed in the past 70 years. And it will make you ponder… what don’t we know about our own representatives today… even with all the news networks and social media.

I have a feeling we aren’t even scratching the surface of all the secrets, lies, and deception that occur in the world of politics. But who knows? Maybe it’s for the best. ( )
1 vote LadyLo | Mar 4, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 105 (next | show all)
Robert Penn Warren's "All the King's Men" is magnificently vital reading, a book so charged with dramatic tension it almost crackles with blue sparks, a book so drenched with fierce emotion, narrative pace and poetic imagery that its stature as a "readin' book," as some of its characters would call it, dwarfs that of most current publications. Here, my lords and ladies, is no book to curl up with in a hammock, but a book to read until 3 o'clock in the morning, a book to read on trains and subways, while waiting for street cars and appointments, while riding elevators or elephants.

» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Warren, Robert Pennprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Koskinen, JuhaniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Mentre che la speranza ha fior del verde.

--La Divina Commedia, Purgatorio, III
To Justine and David Mitchell Clay
First words

To get there you follow Highway 58, going northeast out of the city, and it is a good highway and new. Or was new, that day we went up it.
It was like the second when you come home late at night and see the yellow envelope of the telegram sticking out from under your door and you lean and pick it up, but don't open it yet, not for a second. While you stand there in the hall, with the envelope in your hand, you feel like there's an eye on you, a great big eye looking straight at you from miles and dark and through walls and houses and through your coat and vest and hide and sees you huddled up way inside, in the dark which is you, inside yourself, like a clammy, sad little foetus you carry around inside yourself. The eye knows what's in the envelope, and it is watching you to see you when you open it and know it, too. But the clammy, sad little foetus which is you way down in the dark which is you too lifts up its sad little face and its eyes are blind, and it shivers cold inside you for it doesn't want to know what is in that envelope. It wants to lie in the dark and not know, and be warm in its not-knowing. The end of man is knowledge, but there is one thing he can't know. He can't know whether knowledge will save him or kill him. He will be killed, all right, but he can't know whether he is killed because of the knowledge which he has got or because of the knowledge he hasn't got and which if he had it, would save him. There's the cold in your stomach, but you open the envelope, you have to open the envelope, for the end of man is to know.
It was not so much any one example, any one event, which I recollected which was important, but the flow, the texture of the events, for meaning is never in the event but in the motion through event.  Otherwise we could isolate an instant in the event and say that this is the event itself.  The meaning.  But we cannot do that.  For it is the motion which is important.
So there are two you's, the one you yourself create by loving and the one the beloved creates by loving you.  The farther those two you's are apart the more the world grinds and grudges on its axis.  But if you loved and were loved perfectly then there wouldn't be any difference between the two you's or any distance between them.
The creation of man whom God in His foreknowledge knew doomed to sin was the awful index of God's omnipotence.  For it would have been a thing of trifling and contemptible ease for Perfection to create mere perfection.  To do so would, to speak truth, be not creation but extension.  Separateness is identity and the only way for God to create, truly create, man was to make him separate from God Himself,and to be separate from God is to be sinful.  The creation of evil is therefore the index of God's glory and His power.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
The rise and fall of

a demagogue, based somewhat

on a real statesman.


Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (4.11)
0.5 1
1 19
1.5 3
2 39
2.5 13
3 146
3.5 48
4 360
4.5 85
5 417

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 148,095,631 books! | Top bar: Always visible