Next Up: All The King’s Men
All The King’s Men is one of those novels that has always lurked in the background of my reading list.
I’ve heard great things about it. I’ve known it as a political novel that’s highly regarded, and I’ve always wanted to read it.
Now’s that time! Honestly, the majority of my familiarity with this book comes from the Academy Award winning 1949 film.
Here are a few quick facts about All The King’s Men and its author, Robert Penn Warren.
- All The King’s Men was for published in 1946.
- Robert Penn Warren won the Pulitzer Prize for the novel in 1947.
- In addition to appearing on the Time list, the novel ranks 36 on the Modern Library list.
- The title came from the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme: “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.”
- The main character in the novel, Willie Stark, is based on Huey Long, who was the controversial Governor of Louisiana from 1928-1932.
- The novel was recreated as a film in 1949 and 2006.
- The 2006 version featured an all-star cast, with Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins, and James Gandolfini.
- The 1949 film won three Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress.
- Robert Penn Warren received his undergrad degree from Vanderbilt and has a building on campus named after him—the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities.
- He passed away in 1989, at the age of 85, from complications from bone cancer.
As much as I despise politicians, I still look forward to reading this book. I’m interested to see how Warren exposes the “dark underbelly” of backwoods, southern politics.
And I’m especially interested in digging into the story of Huey Long, the shady politician who was the inspiration for this novel.
Everything I’ve read about All The King’s Men tells me this should be a great novel.
Have you read it? Any thoughts?