All the King's Men is, without reservation, one of the great American novels. It may rank behind the greatest of the Faulkner novels — The Sound and the Fury, Absalom, Absalom!, and perhaps Light in August — and behind Melville's magnificent epic of the sea, Moby-Dick, but it belongs among the ranks of other novels that have received more attention, novels such as The Scarlet Letter, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby, A Farewell to Arms, and Invisible Man. Unfortunately, however, All the King's Men simply has not received the attention it richly deserves.One of the reasons for this unjustified neglect seems to be a misconception about the subject matter of this novel. The cover of at least one edition, for example, proclaims that it is a novel about "the rise and fall of an American dictator!" Even granting that this
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Jack Burden, Political boss, it. Jack Burden, future. Jack Burden, great American novels.