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All the King's Men Paperback – September 1, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Polk went back to Warren's original typescript draft to restore many of the passages, phrases, and stylistic features that were changed or deleted in the editorial process before publication (and approved by Warren); and he claims that his editorial decisions have created a superior novel. The first problem is that, except for a very sketchy 10-page essay, Polk gives the reader no help in judging for himself. A respectable scholarly edition would at the least indicate, at the bottom of each page or the back of the book, each instance in which the first edition text has been changed and where the change came from (the draft was edited by several hands, including Warren's). A reader who wants to assess Polk's work will have to have both editions in hand and scan page by page, and even then will not know whose decisions Polk has overruled. Thus Polk puts himself beyond criticism.
Polk's essay tries to justify his decisions, but his illustrations are merely anecdotal and offer no consistent editorial principles or methodology. I haven't the space here to go through a critique point by point; suffice it to say, I'm not convinced by any of his examples, including the reversion from Willie Stark to Willie Talos.Read more ›
The story is about Willie Stark, man of humble origin who rose to power as a governor of an unnamed Southern state and is supposedly loosely based on the life of Huey Long, the Governor of Louisiana. But the main character is really Jack Burden, the narrator of the story. He's a reporter when he meets Willie Stark early in his career and is there as witness his political rise. Later, he works directly for Willie and becomes a key player in the blackmailing and political intrigue that surrounds the Governor. We come to know Jack through the people in his life as well as his own internal introspections and watch the swirl of events that grow in depth and complexity. Nothing is quite what it seems at first, and there are multiple sub-stories that unfold as the basic action of the book moves along. And then, just when I think I understand it all, there is yet another and another layer of depth and meaning. Everything has an effect on everything else.Read more ›
This is not so much the story of Willie Stark, who was Willie Talos in the original manuscript, as it the story of Jack Burden, the man telling the story. It really seems to be the story of a young man and his road to maturity. That young man is Jack Burden and Stark seems to be just a convenient focal point around which Warren weaves his story. The plot is very well laid out and flows very well from beginning to end, which is quite an accomplishment when one considers all of the subplots to be found in this book. As Burden tells his story he often wanders down memory lane, recalling events which his story has recalled. Each subplot builds to it's own climax while also building toward the climax of the main story and the reader is swept along like a barrel on the Niagara River. Just as the reader feels as if he can put the book aside for a while, another subplot begins to ascend through the story and the reader is again swept along unable to pause. I got so caught up in one of the subplots that I was late for a very important appointment. I just couldn't stop until I found out what happened.
Stark is obviously supposed to resemble Louisiana Governor Huey Long and he very much does so. If one also reads T. Harry Williams biography of Long they will see just how strong the resemblance is.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am a business professor so the long involved descriptions of his angst drove me crazy.Published 16 days ago by CP
One of the greatest "political" books. It is so well written. I read this book when I was a young man and I had forgotten how beautifullycrafted it is. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Chris
Warning: Major spoilers!
If you've only seen the 1949 film I beg you to read the book because while the film does an excellent job summarizing the basic plot, every book... Read more
I've not seen the movie so I'm looking forward to seeing it after reading the book! Enjoyed the book very much.Published 29 days ago by Al Lick
Enjoyable reading despite numerous lengthy sentences often describing the weather or the roadscape. Too much focus on the narrator's own internal dialogues. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer