I actually liked this book a lot more than I expected. The opening chapter kind of put me off, but I pushed through, and I'm glad I did. The opening is a sort of Kerouac-ish, romanticized, stream-of-consciousness-ish, description of a road trip.
But once I was past that, the story really picked up. I started reading this while working in a theater that was doing the stage version. I'm glad I read the book to fill out the story.
The story of Willie Stark is, of course, the thinly disguised fictional version of Huey Long, the Louisiana politician who became governor and was assassinated in the state capitol. So the book is usually described as the story of Stark, a country boy who wanted to do good, but was corrupted by power, and who eventually was trapped by his own success.
The narrator in the book is Jack Burden, a journalist who eventually comes to work for Willie Stark. I thought Jack's story was the more interesting one here: he's a guy who kind of drifts along, doing whatever comes in front of him. Throughout the book, Jack tries to find meaning/connection in the random events of life. It's only after the death of someone important in his life, and the effects of that death, that Jack starts to find meaning and connection with other people.
I enjoyed it, partly for its setting in (fictional) Louisiana, and also for its own sake.