All the Kings Men - Robert Penn Warren (Unabridged)

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Robert Penn Warren - All the King's Men
Narrated by: Michael Emerson
Unabridged: Yes
Runtime: 20h 57mn 21sec
Total Number of Audio Files: 19
Audio: MP3, 2-channel, 96 Kbps @ 48000 Hz, CBR
All the King's Men is a novel by Robert Penn Warren first published in 1946. In 1947 Warren won the Pulitzer Prize for All the King's Men.
It was adapted for film in 1949 and 2006. The 1949 film won three Oscars that year: Best Picture, Best Actor (Broderick Crawford), and Best Supporting Actress (Mercedes McCambridge -- in her screen debut).
It is rated the 36th greatest novel of the 20th century by Modern Library.
There are many commonalties between this book and Orson Welles' classic film Citizen Kane. Whereas All the King's Men was based on Louisiana Governor Huey Long (aka Kingfish), Citizen Kane was a thinly disguised and well-deserved hatchet job on millionaire Newspaper Magnate William Randolph Hearst. As well, both are presented as viewed through the eyes of a third party.
Amazon Review
This landmark book is a loosely fictionalized account of Governor Huey Long of Louisiana, one of the nation's most astounding politicians. All the King's Men tells the story of Willie Stark, a southern-fried politician who builds support by appealing to the common man and playing dirty politics with the best of the back-room deal-makers. Though Stark quickly sheds his idealism, his right-hand man, Jack Burden -- who narrates the story -- retains it and proves to be a thorn in the new governor's side. Stark becomes a successful leader, but at a very high price, one that eventually costs him his life. The award-winning book is a play of politics, society and personal affairs, all wrapped in the cloak of history.
Born in Kentucky, Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989) had a long and prestigious literary career, his huge body of work including poetry, essays, textbooks, history and novels. "All the King's Men", written in 1946, won a Pulitzer Prize and I can well understand why. First of all there are the words, lots of them, words that flow and caress and make liberal use of just the right tiny details to get to the essence the people he dscribes. Never have I seen such artful characterization and I found I was re-reading some of these descriptions just for the pure beauty of the way he used his words. And yet those words never got in the way of the story; they enhanced it. It is also a piece of history as the author brings alive the South of 1920s and 1930s.
The story is about Willie Stark, man of humble origin who rose to power as a governor of an unnamed Southern state and is 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. I found the book impossible to put down, thinking about it all the time, not only as it related to the story itself, but also how it applies to my own life.
This is perhaps the best book I ever read and I can't heap enough praise on it. It is clearly a masterpiece and I give it my very highest recommendation. It's a present to yourself to read it. Don't miss it!
Yet Another
It is extremely hard to sit down and write a review for any piece of classic literature for there is very little a reviewer can say that is new. Of course, for a book to be considered a classic most of its reviewers have to have had a favorable opinion of the work and all a new reviewer can do is concur or disagree. In this case, I couldn't possibly agree more with previous reviewers who have written rave reviews of this book.
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. There are several morals and messages to be drawn from this story including thoughts on good and evil and past and future. In addition to the messages though, one has to admire the incredible amount of research Warren had to have done to write this book. Warren of course was alive and well during Huey Long's reign and that had to help him but in all events described his historical accuracy is uncanny. For example, one of the subplots involves Jefferson Davis in a minor way and even in delving in things well beyond his own memories Warren laces the story with many accurate details. In one passage, Warren relates that Davis missed the steamboat that was to carry him on the first leg of his trip to Montgomery to assume the Presidency of the new Confederacy. Warren points out that the boat left Davis Landing and then was halted out in the river while a smaller boat brought the new President out to get on board. A historical fact that would not be common knowledge but that is entirely accurate.
Many people avoid books that are considered to be top-flight works of literature. These people often assume that such books must be dull and so philosophical that they are beyond the average reader. In some instances this may be the case but not with this book. Warren has turned out a masterpiece that is not only fun to read but is so enjoyable that the reader will hate to come to the end. There are messages to be found here, both obvious and subtle but do not worry about the messages. They will come through on their own as you sit back and enjoy the ride over the falls. 
Enjoy and Seed!! 
Robert Penn Warren - All the King's Men - 00 - Introduction.mp3 1.357 MB
Robert Penn Warren - All the King's Men - 01.mp3 48.941 MB
Robert Penn Warren - All the King's Men - 02.mp3 52.166 MB
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