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Kingfish: The Reign of Huey P. Long Paperback – 19 Sep 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 361 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade (19 Sept. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812973836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812973839
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 946,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Richard D. White, Jr., is a professor of public administration at Louisiana State University and the author of Roosevelt the Reformer: Theodore Roosevelt as Civil Service Commissioner 1889 1895. He lives in Baton Rouge.

"From the Hardcover edition.""

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I came across Huey Long in a detective story, Voodoo River, by Robert Crais and he came across as a fascinating character. Having read Kingfish I'm still fascinated. I may go on to read the longer biography by T Harry Williams but I doubt I know enough about politics in general and American politics in particular to judge Huey in his time and context. Long intrigued and horrified me in some ways but I found his early career goals in a positive light. His methods were often amusing and sometimes brutal but there is an impish charm that comes through the narrative. Was he worse than many of his contemporaries? Was he an embryonic Hitler taken out before achieving his evil destiny, probably not but his career is a lesson to voters everywhere to beware.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great price for a great book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9aa659fc) out of 5 stars 41 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97c3e7b0) out of 5 stars Kingfish - Louisiana's first dictator 17 April 2006
By Robert Hines - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed "Kingfish." White provides a wonderfully written and marvelously concise book that reads more like a novel than some dreary historical tome. The story of Huey Long, Louisiana's power-hungry governer and senator, is fast paced, to the point, and refreshingly free of long-winded academic analysis and ten-dollar words. White does not fall into the trap of attempting a psyco-history where he tries to "channel" Huey and read his thoughts. He also doesn't speculate about Huey's real killer or whether or not he was a great democrat or a great dictator. Instead, he uses solid research lay Huey bare and expose his many strengths and weaknesses. For the most part, White steps back and lets the colorful Kingfish tell his own story through his own purple words and scrappy behavior. And what a story it is. Long was loved by thousands and hated by thousands more and did more good - and more harm - to an American state than any leader in our history. Every American should know the story of Huey Long, our country's most outrageous and dangerous politician. For those who know little of the turbulent Kingfish, White's solid biography is the place to start.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x981a8f84) out of 5 stars An Introduction To Louisiana's Politics 14 April 2006
By C. Hutton - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Mr. White has written for the causal reader an introduction to the political career of Huey Long. Focusing on his nine years of domination of Louisiana's politics, the biography forgoes an analysis of his formative years to joining the story when Mr. Long was already in his early 30's. The good Mr. Long did early in his career by breaking the power of the corrupt, entrenched power structure in Baton Rouge was undone by his metamorphose into the very evil he had crushed.

This is not the definitive life of Huey Long -- that honor goes to the nearly 1,000 page account by T. Harry Williams nearly a generation ago. And "Kingfish" lacks the poetic license of "All The King's Men" by Robert Penn Warren. But for the reader who desires a readable story and wants the controversial aspects of Huey Long's life laid out, this book will do.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98172f0c) out of 5 stars A very good bio of the Kingfish, but not as good as the Williams' masterpiece 22 July 2007
By Mark Greenbaum - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Huey P. Long is my favorite political figure of all time. Since I read T. Harry Williams' masterful bio of Long, I've tried to read any and everything about Huey that I can get my hands on. When I saw "Kingfish," I scooped it right up. Admittedly, I may be biased because I think Williams' book is the best political biography ever written and may hold Long bios to a very high standard. In the end, after reading through this book pretty fast - it is less than 300 pages - I liked "Kingfish", and would recommend it to anyone interested in learning about Huey but without the time to read Williams' large text. Further, whereas Williams' book is fairly pro-Long, this book is mostly anti-Huey. Nevertheless, it doesn't hold a candle to "Huey Long" by Williams. It isn't even close.

The book doesn't spend much attention on Huey's early years (he was born in 1893), and focuses on the period from his successful gubernatorial run in 1928, to his Senate election two years late, to his ascension as a national figure, to his assassination in 1935. In between, it provides delicious detailed stories and tidbits of many of Huey's often unbelievable exploits as he ruthlessly conquered every inch of Louisiana and came close to running for President and perhaps endangering FDR's re-election chances in 1936. Beyond that, the book perfectly captures the political and social mood in the Pelican State in Long's day: the sweltering heat, the unrest and bitter hatred Huey engendered in the elite and ruling classes and the equal love and hope he inspired in the long-ignored rural masses, and of course Long's larger than life persona and even bigger ambitions. I also loved the author's use of all of the classic insults Huey and his enemies hurled at each other that seem to appear on every page ("demagogic screech owl from the swamps of Louisiana").

"Kingfish" is a very good book and a quick and fun read for anyone interested in learning about Huey's life and exploits. However, if you want to read a great book, do yourself a favor and buy "Huey Long" by T. Harry Williams. Still, the two books could work well together - as "Kingfish" covers a few areas Williams' book does not - so it might be a good idea to check out "Kingfish" as an appetizer, and move on to "Huey Long" as the main course. You won't be disappointed.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98516780) out of 5 stars Interesting life, but a hard study for a biography 28 Jan. 2007
By Russell A. Carleton - Published on
Format: Paperback
A biography of Huey Long is going to be dominated by one thing: his megalomaniacal desire for power. It makes for interesting reading in political tactics, but that's really all there was to his life. White is even-handed in his handling with his treatment of Long's excesses, but his prose is a little clunky and repetitive. The problem with a biography on Long (or perhaps just this biography on Long) is that there is little to texture the overally picture of a power-hungry man. There is no underlying complex character to understand. A recommended read for those seeking to understand the dangers of power to excess or people with a romantic attachment to the state of Louisiana or the 1930s.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9aaa5324) out of 5 stars Good but not Great 3 July 2006
By S. Conner - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Mr. White's book is a solid condensation of the saga of Huey Long, but as I read this book I couldn't shake the feeling that the book was often just a Cliff Notes version of T. Harry Williams' Pulitzer Prize winning opus. The details that White omits for brevity sake are what makes Williams' book great. Mr. White includes all the major information, but he omits the color that illuminates the players around Huey and by doing so diminishes Huey Long's strengths and weaknesses.

I was not impressed by Mr. White taking a shot at Mr. Williams in the booknotes section...unnecessary and tasteless.

Good but not great. Read this, then go read T. Harry Williams book.
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