Number One, 1943

Tyler Spotswood, an alcoholic campaign manager, helps elect a corrupt Southern politician to the U.S. Senate. When his boss, Chuck Crawford aka “Number One,” pins a scandal on Spotswood, Tyler is too drunk to blow the whistle. Number One draws many comparisons to Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men. Crawford reminds many of Louisiana politician Huey Long, a figure studied in person by Dos Passos.

Time calls Crawford the “most noisome, best drawn demagogue in U.S. fiction.” The New Yorker calls the book “smoothly geared, expertly written, sharply observed.” Of Crawford, The New York Times Book Review says that “few characters in contemporary fiction are so brilliantly inspired and so faithfully exhibited to public view.”

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