Allen Drury

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Allen Stuart Drury
Born (1918-09-02)September 2, 1918
Houston, Texas, United States
Died September 2, 1998(1998-09-02) (aged 80)
San Francisco, California
Residence Tiburon, California
Nationality American
Citizenship American
Education Bachelor of Arts
Alma mater Stanford University
Occupation journalist, novelist
Years active 1943-1998
Employer Tulare Bee, in nearby Tulare, California
Known for Pulitzer Prize in literature & 20 novels
Home town Porterville, California
Spouse(s) never married
Parents Alden Monteith Drury
Flora Allen

Allen Stuart Drury (September 2, 1918 – September 2, 1998) was a American novelist. He wrote the 1959 novel Advise and Consent, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1960.[1]

Early life and ancestry[edit]

Drury was born on September 2, 1918 in Houston, Texas, to Alden Monteith Drury (1895-1975), a real estate broker and insurance agent, and Flora Allen (1894-1973), a legislative representative for the California Parent-Teacher Association. Drury was a direct descendant of Hugh Drury (1616-1689)[2] and Lydia Rice (1627-1675), daughter of Edmund Rice (1594-1663), all of whom were early immigrants to Massachusetts Bay Colony.[3]

Allen Stuart Drury grew up in Porterville, California and earned his B.A. at Stanford University in 1939. In the 1990s, he wrote three novels inspired by his experiences at Stanford: Toward What Bright Glory?, Into What Far Harbor?, and Public Men. After graduating from Stanford, Drury went to work for the Tulare Bee in Porterville, where he won a Sigma Delta Chi Award for editorial writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. Drury enlisted in the U.S. Army on July 25, 1942 in Los Angeles and trained as an infantry soldier.[4]

A Senate Journal[edit]

A Senate Journal by Allen Drury 1963

In late 1943, he was a 25-year old army veteran looking for work. A position as the United States Senate correspondent for United Press soon provided Drury not only with gainful employment, but also with the opportunity "to be of some slight assistance in making my fellow countrymen better acquainted with their Congress and particularly their Senate."[5]

In addition to fulfilling his duties as a reporter, Drury also kept a journal of his views of the Senate and individual senators. Drury freely offered his first impressions of many senators: "Alben Barkley, the Majority Leader, acts like a man who is working awfully hard and awfully earnestly at a job he doesn't particularly like."[5]

He considered Minority Leader Robert A. Taft "one of the strongest and ablest men here," and felt that "Guy Gillette of Iowa and Hugh Butler of Nebraska vie for the title of Most Senatorial. Both are model solons, white-haired, dignified, every inch the glamorous statesmen."[5]

Harry Truman was featured as his position changed from junior senator from Missouri to vice president to president in the course of Drury's narrative. Given the period it covered, it is natural that Drury's diary devoted considerable attention to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his contentious relations with the Senate. Drury wrote: "If he appears in a critical light, that is because this is how we saw him from the Hill."[5]

In addition to the chamber's personalities, Drury's journal captured the events, large and small, of the 78th and 79th Congresses. He characterized this period as "the days of the War Senate on its way to becoming the Peace Senate."[5]

At times the events Drury described had a national impact, such as FDR's death or the Senate's consideration of the United Nations Charter. In other cases, the effects were felt more clearly within the Senate community, such as the resignation of Majority Leader Barkley, the Senate's rejection of a congressional expense allowance, or the death of Secretary of the Senate Edwin Halsey.

Although written in the mid-1940s, Drury's diary was not published until 1963. A Senate Journal found an audience in part because of the great success of Advise and Consent, Drury's 1959 novel about the Senate's consideration of a controversial nominee for Secretary of State.

Later works[edit]

Advise and Consent by Allen Drury 1959

Drury's greatest success was Advise and Consent, which was made into a film in 1962. The book was partly inspired by the suicide of Wyoming Senator Lester C. Hunt. It spent 102 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list.[6]

Drury followed Advise and Consent with several sequels. A Shade of Difference is set a year after Advise and Consent. Drury then turned his attention to the next presidential election after those events with Capable of Honor and Preserve and Protect. He then wrote two alternative sequels based on two different outcomes of an assassination attack in an earlier work: Come Nineveh, Come Tyre and The Promise of Joy.

In 1971, Drury published The Throne of Saturn, a science fiction novel about the first attempt at sending a manned mission to Mars. He dedicated the work "To the US Astronauts and those who help them fly." Political characters in the book are archetypal rather than comfortably human. The only black astronaut is portrayed as trying to sabotage the mission. The book carries a strong anti-leftist/anti-communist flavor. The book has a lot to say about interference in the space program by leftist Americans.

Having wrapped up his political series by 1975, Drury began a new one with the 1977 novel Anna Hastings, more a novel about journalism than politics. He returned to the timeline in 1979, with the political novel Mark Coffin U.S.S. (though the main relationship between the two books was that Hastings was a minor character in Mark Coffin U.S.S.'s sequels). It was succeeded, by the two-part The Hill of Summer and The Roads of Earth, which are true sequels to Mark Coffin U.S.S. He also wrote stand-alone novels, Decision (about the Supreme Court) and Pentagon, as well as several other fiction and non-fiction works.

Drury's political novels have been described as page-turners, set against the Cold War, with an aggressive and determined Soviet Union seeking to undermine the U.S.


Drury lived in Tiburon, California from 1964 until his 1998 death of cardiac arrest. Drury had completed his 20th novel, Public Men set at Stanford, just two weeks before his death. He died on 2 September 1998 at St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco, California on his eightieth birthday. Drury was never married.[7]




  1. ^ Pulitzer Prize Winners: Fiction (1948-present) - Retrieved October 1, 2008.
  2. ^ "Hugh Drury in Edmund Rice 6-generation database". Edmund Rice (1638) Association, Inc. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  3. ^ Edmund Rice (1638) Association, 2010. Descendants of Edmund Rice: The First Nine Generations. (CD-ROM)
  4. ^ National Archives and Records Administration. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.
  5. ^ a b c d e "A Senate Journal 1943-45 by Allen Drury". U.S. Senate. Archived from the original on 9 April 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  6. ^ Tom Kemme, Political Fiction, the Spirit of the Age, and Allen Drury (Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1987), 242
  7. ^ Smith, Dinitia (1998-09-03). "Allen Drury, 80, Novelist; Wrote Advise and Consent (Obituary)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-07. 

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