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.
©1946 Robert Penn Warren; renewed 1974 Robert Penn Warren; (P)2005 Recorded Books
"The definitive novel about American politics." (The New York Times)
"Mr. Warren has employed vivid characterization and strong language combined with subtle overtones to write a vital, compelling narrative." (Booklist)
"Michael Emerson's performance brings the characters to life with verve and personality....Through a mix of understatement and intensity, Emerson clearly conveys the political turmoil underlying the book; his performance perfectly complements the story, which is as timely as it was 60 years ago....Emerson's reading does justice to a great work." (AudioFile)
One part fictionalized historical record and one part rumination on the journey, vicissitudes, and meaning of life's lessons. The book captures your attention, brings it soaring to heights and crashing to lows ... all while being read to you with the mix of frenetic pace of thought and drawling speech patterns in which it was written. Truly worth the listen and addition to your library.
It may not be ranked first in my range of audio books, but it is definitely on the top portion of my list.
I would almost compare this book to "The Great Gatsby" and Plato's "The Allegory of the Cave" I know these comparisons seem boring, but it really isn't. Without giving too much away this book just goes to show how far people are willing to go for what they want. How much they can be swayed from their original goal by greed, impatience, and all around human nature.
I can't really give this part away without giving away the climax of the story.
In all honesty, no. It wasn't that it wasn't a good book to listen to, but the length between chapters are long and I needed a break after a while.
I highly recommend the read and comparing it to the movies. It's always fascinating to see the contrast between the original and condensed versions of a story.
It is not among the top audiobooks I have listened to. I did not find myself so wrapped up in the story that I just had to keep listening, which I have experienced with other audio books. I felt the storyline got off to a slow start and in fact I thought I had made a bad choice. I kept going though and eventually I started to get into it a little more. Yet it is not a fast paced book, so if that is what you are looking for this could be disappointing. At times the storyline seems to require some coaxing like an old dog to get up and get moving again.
Willie Stark because of the dichotomy of the character playing the hick, but highly intelligent and with an uncommon philosophy on politics and life.
Hard to say since I haven't just read the book, but I suspect I would perhaps have a different perspective about the characters since I would likely give them a different voice in my own mind.
No, even at the most interesting parts, I felt I could stop listening without the compulsion that I had to know what was just around the corner.
While I think it is better than average, it is not one that stands out or be one of the top audio books that I recommend. I felt it was a bit long winded and there was a lot of extraneous writing that really did not add to the storyline or character development. What I did like is that there was some thought provoking philosophy infused into the dialogue that made the listen worthwhile. A portion of the book is centered around politics, yet there is much more to be gained about life philosophies and human nature.
Yes, this is a Great American Novel, a classic of its time. The story of a back country crusader who becomes the powerful governor of an unnamed state (which is, of course, Louisiana) carries, at its core, important messages about America, politics and mankind.
But they are buried under mountains of words. There are intricate descriptions of people who we only glimpse once and never return to the story (anyone remember the man at the California gas station? you listened to 10 minutes about him). Peoples' actions are described multiple times with only slightly different phrases. Nothing is left to the imagination. And that is what I missed most in this book - the way good writing sends my mind reaching for images and stories beyond the words on the page.
It was also difficult for me to continue with a 20 hour book when I actively dislike the first person character. Yes, he does exhibit strong racist and sexist attitudes, but this was written in the 1940s and takes place in the South, so that is not the problem. But he is amoral man with no beliefs of his own. He is not even interesting - he simply observes interesting things.
Literature is often complimented for its spare writing, with the bones of the story expressed and the rest only alluded to - a style exemplified by Ernest Hemingway. If the opposite of that style is flowery and overgrown as in Ayn Rand, this story clearly falls into the second group. Too much for my tastes; I do not prefer being smothered by the vines and tendrils of a book.
This was a great book, I really enjoyed it, but it was a bit hard to consume by listening. Some of the characters would seem insignificant, but by the time I realized they were important, it was hard to remember who they were and where they fit in. I ended up re-listening to a bit and also looking at the online version of "cliffnotes" to get through it. That said, excellent store, really enjoyed it...
Jack Burden, Judge Irwin, Willy Stark.
Robert Penn Warren uses beautiful prose and creates lifelike and complex characters that are easy to relate to and sympathize with (even if you loathe them all a little bit too). The plot draws you in and has many different subplots without being hard to follow.
Reading, the arts and physical activity clarify, explain, illustrate, and interpret life’s goods and bads.
I enjoy writing reviews but an effort here would be superfluous. Just read the 10 reviews that preceded mine. They are wonderful descriptions of all the book has to offer and how you will enjoy reading, learning, and having an opportunity to consider the value of life and all the things we seem to do to diminish its beauty.
Michael Emerson brings this wonderful book to life. While I don't think that one can judge an audible book against the print version, this book looses nothing in being read aloud. The reader conveys the many nuances that Robert Penn Warren wove into the narrative.
While "All the Kings Men" is known as the fictional account of Huey Long, it is much, much more than that - and this version leaves no doubt about the many layers that can be found in the book.
Michael Emerson is able to give us many voices that are necessary to the story - from the Jack's genteel mother and true father to Sugar-Boy, the stuttering gunman.
20+ hours is too much for one sitting, but it is hard to turn off.
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