In this "masterpiece of American biography" (New York Times), Huey Long stands wholly revealed, analyzed, and understood.
©2009 Mark Millhone; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"A brilliant, bawdy, unforgettable picture of the most colorful as well as the most dangerous man to engage in American politics." (The Washington Post)
Something about myself...happy now?
Long can be easily called the father of the OWS movement. It's somewhat surprising that his name doesn't come up more often. His methods, though, raise thorny questions about how far one can push ethical boundaries to achieve fairness for all. Say what you will about the man, he had the courage of his convictions lacking in politics today. To stand up to Roosevelt because his agenda wasn't radical enough, that took, let's say, testicular fortitude.
The greatest praise I can give this book is that I finished at 32hr book in 10 days which is pretty much a record for me.
The only carp I have - Wiener's accents border on offensively clownish at times. I got used to the Cajun drawls but the Black and Hispanic made me wince.
From the introduction, I take this to be an official biography of Huey Long. With that, I am always concerned that the author may not be willing to show all the weaknesses of their subject. The work is extensive, and covers the whole of Huey's life with great attention to detail. Certainly, the author does show the more troubling parts of Huey's character. There are so many questions left by this book, such as what happened to the money? Was he a real threat to FDR in the 1936 election? What was the real public support for Share the Wealth? What would have happened in Louisiana, if he hadn't been killed in 1936? It's interesting the compare this biography to the character in Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men. I think the real Governor is an even more interesting man. He appears to have been quite the lawyer, an incredible shrewd politician, and a gifted orator. The author's use of oral history adds greatly to the character of the work. The Kingfish's use of language was often amusing, and he had quite the whit. Huey Long may be compared with Winston Churchill is some ways, and in those way quite favorably. This can also be taken as somewhat of a morality play, as the hero takes on too much power while trying to do good, that he cuts off any hope of succession. An interesting side note is to see the role of Drew Middleton, who ended up as a successful Division and Corps commander in World War II.
Hard to believe Louisiana was a separate dictatorship less than 100 years ago. Cloaked by Long's ego was an incredibly brilliant man and politician. Narration was superb.
Great, captivating book, except for the narration! The guy who read The book should not even attempt to do a southern accent. If you can ignore that, this is a great book.
Aside from an overall excellent reading, Weiner hits some fairly specific accents very well. I'll excuse him for a few mispronunciations of difficult Louisiana towns and other names. I would actually consider listening to another audiobook just because Tom Weiner recorded it.
This is the book if you want to really delve into the life of Huey Long. If you're looking to learn the basic story without as much detail, though still a well written book, try "Kingfish" by Richard D. White, Jr.
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