Huey, Willie, and Bill

The classic novel All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren, is ostensibly the fictionalized story of Huey Long, the amoral populist Louisiana demagogue known as the "kingfish" . . . Warren embodies him in Willie Stark, known to his men as "the boss," and the novel delves deeply into the corrupt politics of the South and into the paradoxical soul of "the boss"-- he wants to do good for the poor, but he's got to get his hands dirty to do so (Stark is also reminiscent of Bill Clinton-- the arc of their ascent and their rhetorical strengths are similar) but really the book is about the narrator, Jack Burden-- he is an advisor to Willie Stark-- and how Jack grapples with the forces of history and slowly moves from believing in a detached deterministic universe (his Great Twitch theory) to finally believing in something larger (and there's also a scene right out of Star Wars: in between the philosophizing and politics, there's quite a bit of melodrama . . . a tour de force and a great read: ten sugar cubes out of ten).

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