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, Tulare, California; The New York Times
Known for Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and 20 novels
Home town Porterville, California
Spouse(s) Never married
Parent(s) Alden Monteith Drury
Flora Allen

Allen Stuart Drury (September 2, 1918 – September 2, 1998) was an American novelist. He wrote the 1959 novel Advise and Consent, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1960.[1][2][3][4]

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.[5] Drury was a direct descendant of Hugh Drury (1616-1689)[6] and Lydia Rice (1627-1675), daughter of Edmund Rice (1594-1663), all of whom were early immigrants to Massachusetts Bay Colony.[7]

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 in 1940, where he won a Sigma Delta Chi Award for editorial writing from the Society of Professional Journalists.[5] Drury enlisted in the U.S. Army on July 25, 1942 in Los Angeles and trained as an infantry soldier.[8]

A Senate Journal[edit]

A Senate Journal (1963)

From 1943-45, Drury worked as the United States Senate correspondent for United Press which, as he wrote, gave him the opportunity "to be of some slight assistance in making my fellow countrymen better acquainted with their Congress and particularly their Senate." He worked as a reporter, but also kept a journal in which he recorded the events of Congress as well as his impressions and views of individual senators and the Senate itself. Drury's journal followed the career of Harry S. Truman from junior senator to President of the United States, and also covered "President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his contentious relations with the Senate." The journal was published in 1963 as A Senate Journal 1943-45 after Drury had experienced great success with his 1959 novel Advise and Consent.[9]

Advise and Consent and later works[edit]

Advise and Consent (1959)

In 1954 Drury was hired as a reporter for The New York Times, and in his spare time wrote the novel which would become 1959's Advise and Consent.[5] Partly inspired by the suicide of Wyoming Senator Lester C. Hunt, the novel spent 102 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list,[1][10] won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1960 and was adapted into a successful 1962 film starring Henry Fonda.[1][2][3][4] In 2009, Scott Simon wrote in the The Wall Street Journal, "Fifty years after its publication and astounding success ... Allen Drury's novel remains the definitive Washington tale."[1]

With the success of the Advise and Consent, Drury left The New York Times and became a political correspondent for Reader's Digest. He followed the novel with several sequels. A Shade of Difference (1962) 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 (1966) and Preserve and Protect (1968). He then wrote two alternative sequels based on two different outcomes of the assassination attack cliffhanger ending of Preserve and Protect: Come Nineveh, Come Tyre (1973) and The Promise of Joy (1975).[5]

In 1971, Drury published The Throne of Saturn, a political/science fiction novel about the first attempt at sending a manned mission to Mars in competition with a similar Soviet effort.[11] With the historical novel A God Against the Gods (1976) and its sequel Return to Thebes, Drury explored the reign and fall of Pharaoh Akhenaten of ancient Egypt,[12][13][14] a country whose political struggles he likened to those of Washington, D. C.[5]

Having wrapped up his Advise and Consent political series by 1975, Drury began a new one with the 1977 novel Anna Hastings, more a novel about journalism than politics.[1][15] 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 sequels to Mark Coffin U.S.S.:[2][16] the two-part The Hill of Summer (1981) and The Roads of Earth (1984). Drury also wrote stand-alone novels, 1983's Decision (about the Supreme Court)[2][16] and 1986's Pentagon,[17][18] as well as several other fiction and non-fiction works.

Advise and Consent had been out of print for almost 15 years and ranked #27 on the 2013 list of the Top 100 Most Searched for Out of Print Books before WordFire Press reissued it in paperback and e-book format in February 2014.[2][4][16][19] The WordFire edition includes never-before-published essays about the book written by Drury himself, new appendices, and remembrances by Drury's heirs and literary executors Kenneth and Kevin Killiany. WordFire also released Advise and Consent‍‍ '​‍s five sequels, and other novels.[2][16]


Drury lived in Tiburon, California from 1964 until his 1998 death by cardiac arrest. Drury had completed his 20th novel, Public Men, just two weeks before his death. He died on September 2, 1998 at St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco, California on his eightieth birthday. Drury was never married.[5]




  1. ^ a b c d e Simon, Scott (September 2, 2009). "At 50, a D.C. Novel With Legs". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 15, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Simon, Phil (May 28, 2014). "Classic Politics: The Works of Allen Drury Now Back in Print". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 14, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Pulitzer Prize Winners: Fiction (1948-present)". Retrieved January 14, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c Simon, Phil (July 16, 2013). "Zombie Detectives and the Changing Face of Publishing". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 14, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Smith, Dinitia (September 3, 1998). "Allen Drury, 80, Novelist; Wrote Advise and Consent (Obituary)". The New York Times. Retrieved January 19, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Hugh Drury in Edmund Rice 6-generation database". Edmund Rice (1638) Association, Inc. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  7. ^ Edmund Rice (1638) Association, 2010. Descendants of Edmund Rice: The First Nine Generations. (CD-ROM)
  8. ^ National Archives and Records Administration. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.
  9. ^ "A Senate Journal 1943-45 by Allen Drury". U.S. Senate. Archived from the original on April 9, 2011. Retrieved April 17, 2011. 
  10. ^ Kemme, Tom (1987). Political Fiction, the Spirit of the Age, and Allen Drury. Bowling Green State University Popular Press. p. 242. 
  11. ^ Jacoby, Alfred (February 21, 1971). "Mixing power politics and a planetary trip". The Lowell Sun. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  12. ^ Adamson, Lynda G. (October 21, 1998). World Historical Fiction: An Annotated Guide to Novels for Adults and Young. Greenwood Publishing. p. 3. ISBN 1-573-56066-9. 
  13. ^ Brennan, Elizabeth A.; Clarage, Elizabeth C., eds. (December 17, 1998). Who's Who of Pulitzer Prize Winners. Greenwood Press. pp. 229–230. ISBN 1-573-56111-8. 
  14. ^ "Drury, Allen (1918 September 2 - 1998 September 2): Biographical History". Online Archive of California. Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  15. ^ Barkham, John (August 7, 1977). "Drury Returns to Washington". The Victoria Advocate. Retrieved January 15, 2015. 
  16. ^ a b c d Karl, Jonathan (May 23, 2014). "Book Review: Allen Drury". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 21, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Pentagon (1986) by Allen Drury". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved January 21, 2015. 
  18. ^ Henderson, Diane D. (December 1986). "Pentagon by Allen Drury". The Washington Monthly. Retrieved January 21, 2015. 
  19. ^ "11th Annual Report: Out-of-print and in demand". 2013. Retrieved January 14, 2015. 
  20. ^ The Doubleday first edition of The Throne of Saturn was printed December 1970 per gutter code 'L50' on page 588, and published in early 1971, so its copyright page states copyright '1970, 1971'.

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