All the Governor's Men: A Mountain Brook Novel

All the Governor's Men: A Mountain Brook Novel

All the Governor's Men: A Mountain Brook Novel

All the Governor's Men: A Mountain Brook Novel

Synopsis

It's the summer of George Wallace's last run for governor of Alabama in 1982, and the state is at a crossroads. In Katherine Clark's All the Governor's Men, a political comedy of manners that reimagines Wallace's last campaign, voters face a clear choice between the infamous segregationist, now a crippled old man in a wheelchair, and his primary opponent, Aaron Osgood, a progressive young candidate poised to liberate the state from its George Wallace-poisoned past.
Daniel Dobbs, a twenty one-year-old Harvard graduate and South Alabama native, is one of many young people who have joined the campaign representing hope and change for a downtrodden Alabama. A political animal himself, Daniel possesses so much charm and charisma that he was nicknamed "the Governor" in college. Nowhe is engaged in the struggle to conquer once and for all the malignant man Alabamians have traditionally called "the Governor."
This historic election isn't the only thing Daniel wants to win. During his senior year, he fell in love with a freshman girl from Mountain Brook, the "Tiny Kingdom" of wealth and privilege, a world apart from his own Alabama origins. A small-town country boy, Daniel desperately wants to gain the favor of his girlfriend's family along with her mentor, the larger-than-life English teacher Norman Laney. Daniel also wants to keep one or two ex-girlfriends firmly out of the picture. In the course of his summer, he must untangle his complicated personal life, satisfy the middle-class dreams of his parents for their Harvard-educated son, decide whether to enter law school or launch his own political career, and, incidentally, help his candidate defeat George Wallace, in a close and increasingly dirty race.
All the Governor's Men is a darkly comic look at both the political process in general and a significant political chapter in Alabama history. This second novel in Katherine Clark's Mountain Brook series depicts the social and political landscape of an Alabama world that is at once a place like no other and at the same time, a place like all others.

Excerpt

Katherine Clark published her first novel The Headmaster’s Darlings to wide acclaim in 2015, and it is certain to become a classic American novel about the transformational power of great teachers. Katherine also introduced her readers to the paradisiacal charms ensconced in the site of her childhood, the dreamy hill town of Mountain Brook, Alabama, sitting as it does like a queen’s jewel box above the roiled city of Birmingham in the valley below.

All the Governor’s Men is the second in her series of Mountain Brook novels, published by Story River Books as the most ambitious literary project our young press has yet undertaken. Through Katherine’s novels, we glimpse the entire history of Mountain Brook, and in this second novel, we peer into the political world of Alabama and the slow, tortuous death rattle of the Jim Crow South. All the Governor’s Men tells the intimate story of one Alabama election that seems so authentic and universal it could stand as a case study in the ruinous underworld of politics everywhere. In the South, as in the rest of the world, politics is a blood sport that attracts its own special breed of gladiators and hangers-on. Katherine’s novel illustrates how fools can disguise themselves as idealists, and even as heroes, until the mask of idealism falls away to reveal a grotesque—or, worse yet—an all-too-human visage beneath.

In this book, Clark does for Alabama politics what Robert Penn Warren does in All the King’s Men for the Louisiana of Huey Long. Both novels let us know that Southern politics contain all the seeds of malice and corruption, with the music of stump speeches and good intentions played on instruments slightly out of tune. The disorder of politics is simply a magnified reflection of the egregious flaws in the family of man.

In All the Governor’s Men, South Alabama boy Daniel Dobbs returns to his home state after graduating from Harvard, filled with a revolutionary zeal to bring Alabama into mainstream American society. He enters the political fray . . .

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