Huey Long by T. Harry WilliamsWho was Huey Long? He was an extraordinary figure in American political history – a great natural politician who looked, and often seemed to behave, like a caricature of the redneck Southern politico. Yet, at the time of his death, he had become a serious rival to Franklin Roosevelt for the presidency. In this biography, the first full-scale analysis of Long, this intriguing and incredible man stands wholly revealed and understood.
The eminent historian T. Harry Williams has created a work masterly in its scope and detail. This award-winning biography brings fresh life to the sensation-ridden years when Long became a figure of national importance. Huey Long was winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.
SEN. MIZELL: Should the Huey Long Monument Come Down?
Huey Long posed the most potent political challenge to Franklin Roosevelt in the first few years of his New Deal administration. How much of a challenge has long been a subject of debate among political analysts and historians, but FDR himself regarded Long as "one of the two most dangerous men in America" the other being General Douglas MacArthur. The concern was great enough for the Democratic National Committee to commission a secret political poll perhaps the first use of polling for this purpose to gauge his appeal; it found that he could get as much as 11 percent] of the vote if he ran as a third party candidate in Long first came to national notice when he became governor of Louisiana in ; he ruled the state as a virtual dictator but his corruption and dictatorship had a progressive side to it, including massive public works programs, improved public education and public health, and even some restrictions on corporate power in the state. Elected to the U. Senate in , he delayed taking office for two years so that he could continue to rule in Louisiana and assure that a close ally would succeed him.
HUEY LONG: EARLY YEARS
Huey Long was a fiery and charismatic Louisiana politician who moved up the ranks at a young age. Branded a demagogue and radical by his opponents, and known for turning his back on established processes to gain political victories, Long controlled a vast political machine in the name of courting working class and poor constituents. Long was born on August 30, , in rural north central Louisiana , the seventh child in his family. His hometown of Winnfield was in one of the poorest parishes in the state, but the Longs, farmers with livestock, were relatively well off. Long was known for his avid reading, photographic memory and an audacious personality with no inhibitions about offering his opinion. During high school, Long won a scholarship to Louisiana State University in a debate competition. His older brother George paid for attendance at Oklahoma Baptist University to become a preacher, but Long never registered.