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Kingfish: The Reign of Huey P. Long


Kingfish: The Reign of Huey P. Long Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the moment he took office as governor in 1928 to the day an assassin’s bullet cut him down in 1935, Huey Long wielded all but dictatorial control over the state of Louisiana. A man of shameless ambition and ruthless vindictiveness, Long orchestrated elections, hired and fired thousands at will, and deployed the state militia as his personal police force. And yet, paradoxically, as governor and later as senator, Long did more good for the state’s poor and uneducated than any politician before or since. Outrageous demagogue or charismatic visionary? In this powerful new biography, Richard D. White, Jr., brings Huey Long to life in all his blazing, controversial glory.

White taps invaluable new source material to present a fresh, vivid portrait of both the man and the Depression era that catapulted him to fame. From his boyhood in dirt-poor Winn Parish, Long knew he was destined for power–the problem was how to get it fast enough to satisfy his insatiable appetite. With cunning and crudity unheard of in Louisiana politics, Long crushed his opponents in the 1928 gubernatorial race, then immediately set about tightening his iron grip. The press attacked him viciously, the oil companies howled for his blood after he pushed through a controversial oil processing tax, but Long had the adulation of the people. In 1930, the Kingfish got himself elected senator, and then there was no stopping him.

White’s account of Long’s heyday unfolds with the mesmerizing intensity of a movie. Pegged by President Roosevelt as “one of the two most dangerous men in the country,” Long organized a radical movement to redistribute money through his Share Our Wealth Society–and his gospel of pensions for all, a shorter workweek, and free college spread like wildfire. The Louisiana poor already worshiped him for building thousands of miles of roads and funding schools, hospitals, and universities; his outrageous antics on the Senate floor gained him a growing national base. By 1935, despite a barrage of corruption investigations, Huey Long announced that he was running for president.

In the end, Long was a tragic hero–a power addict who squandered his genius and came close to destroying the very foundation of democratic rule. Kingfish is a balanced, lucid, and absolutely spellbinding portrait of the life and times of the most incendiary figure in the history of American politics.

From the Hardcover edition.


A portrait of one of America's most colorful political figures documents the career of Louisiana governor Huey Long, reassessing his controversial and paradoxical roles as demagogue or charismatic visionary in light of the Depression era that brought himinto the limelight.

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.

Table of Contents

A wedded man with a storm for a bride — I was born barefoot — Schoolbooks, scandals, and skulduggery — Enough money to burn a wet mule — Bought like a sack of potatoes — Green silk pajamas and a kidnapping — Sell them plugs — Witches bound at the stake — Hattie and Huey — Who is that awful man? — A black eye for the kingfish — Cut their nails and file their teeth — A tax on lying — Tear-dimmed eyes and hungry souls — Nuts running America — Struck like a rattlesnake.

Product Details

The Reign of Huey P. Long
Random House
White Jr, Richard D.
White, Richard
Jr. Richard D. White
Biography & Autobiography : Political
United states
Legislators -- United States.
Audio Books-Biography
Politics - General
US History-1920 to 1960
US History - 20th Century
Publication Date:

Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Political
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General

Kingfish: The Reign of Huey P. Long
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Product details 361 pages Random House Publishing Group - English 9780307535764 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A portrait of one of America's most colorful political figures documents the career of Louisiana governor Huey Long, reassessing his controversial and paradoxical roles as demagogue or charismatic visionary in light of the Depression era that brought himinto the limelight.
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