Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Captains And The Kings” as Want to Read:
Captains And The Kings
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Captains And The Kings

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  13,802 Ratings  ·  157 Reviews
This is a great surging novel about the amassing of a colossal fortune, the political power that comes with it, and the operation of a curse laid on an Irish-American dynasty and the ruthless driving man who founded it.

Joseph Francis Xavier Armagh was thirteen years old when he first saw America through a dirty porthole on the steerage deck of The Irish Queen. It was the
Mass Market Paperback, 816 pages
Published December 12th 1983 by Fawcett Publications (first published January 1st 1972)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Captains And The Kings, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Captains And The Kings

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 12, 2012 Philip rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Taylor Caldwell is largely unknown today, and CAPTAINS AND THE KINGS is virtually the only novel of her left in print in mass-market paperback, and less than a handful are available in oversized paperback editions. But from 1938 (DYNASTY OF DEATH) through her last published novel, ANSWER AS A MAN (1980), Caldwell kept countless readers enthralled with her powerful sagas of ambition and destiny, set during various periods of American and European history (along with a few diversions to Ancient Ro ...more
Jun 30, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't even know where to start with this book. My dad told me about it years ago. Its not exactly one you find lying around on library shelves waiting to be checked out. And, in fact, I only have a copy because I borrowed it from my dad... and HE only has a copy because my sister found it at a thrift store. Anyway- back to reviewing it.

First- beware it is what I call "old" writing. What I mean by that is it is more of a Margaret Mitchell or MM Kaye style than say a modern day popular author. I
Jan 10, 2009 Laura marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Ok--Be very careful with Taylor Caldwell books. She has geared these toward women who want hardcore romance--if you know what I mean. It is usually brief I hear, but the point of her books is not about "heaving bossoms" it's to educate the average reader about governments and what goes on behind the scenes. She is very educated and a very talented writer and usually writes about a specific conspiracy. They may sound strange but I would highly recommend any of her books (minus the bedroom scene) ...more
Mar 19, 2015 Maryam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
داستان زندگی پسری ایرلندی بنام جوزف است که در سیزده سالگی یتیم می شود و سرپرستی خواهر وبرادر کوچکترش را بر عهده می گیرد .آنها از مهاجران به آمریکا هستند
.داستان شرح کارهایی است که جوزف انجام می دهد تا به ثروت می رسد تاآنجا که پسرش را می خواهد رئیس جمهور کند در بخش دوم داستان شرح حال پسرش روایت می شودکه تم سیاسی ماجرا بیشتر پرداخت می شود. هر چه که داستان پیش میرود پرکشش تر میشود
Aug 12, 2011 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A truly extraordinary book in every way! My mom told me that a long time ago, she read a book that was so good, and I thought to myself, I have to read this. I enjoyed every page, and it's amazing to think about how it applies to our lives today. If you read it and think about it, the book should both frighten you while making you wonder who the hell is actually running our country and the world. Men behind curtains that no one has ever heard of making decisions that change how the world functio ...more
Ashkan Ansari
Sep 01, 2009 Ashkan Ansari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
این کتاب نه تنها یک رمان، که نمایه ای از ساختار سیاسی اکثر کشورهاست. ساختاری که شکل دهنده قدرت است.
این کتاب زندگی یک مهاجر ایرلندی به امریکا در سنین پایین تا دوران پیری اش را به تصویر کشیده است که از فقر و نداری به جاه و قدرت می رسد تا جایی که می خواهد پسرش را به نامزدی ریاست جمهوری برساند.
داستانی مملو از زندگی و مبین ناپاکی قدرت که با معادلات انسانی همخوانی ندارد. در کل می توانم بگویم که رمانی است برپایه عرض فلسفه ای که مد نظر نویسنده اش بوده است و به شدت به دوستان توصیه می کنم که آن را مطالع
Aug 26, 2009 Jeanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating read. You feel totally involved in this world while you are reading. I read it as a teenager and as an adult and it's loosely based on the story of the Kennedys more particularly their father Joseph with a lot of intrigue and nasty back-stabbing thrown in. Creepy doesn't even begin to describe the kind of people that are in this book...and anyone who comes in contact with them is fighting a losing battle.
Nov 07, 2008 Lynette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone over fifteen
Recommended to Lynette by: self
For everyone who did or has ever voted in a presidential election, this is a must read. When an unknown can come out of the woodwork, unstudied and untested, without any sort of litmus test, and become our president, we must ask ourselves, "Who is he and who owns him?' Read this book! It is haunting!
Jun 23, 2012 LemonLinda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a pretty powerful HF from the early 70s. Caldwell was quite a prolific writer. This is one of her later books which was made into a popular mini-series in the 70s. On the surface it is a book of a young Irish immigrant who with hard work and a willingness to do whatever was needed for success was able to build a multi-million dollar business empire and to consort with the world's most powerful people. Joseph Armagh closely resembles Joe Kennedy in his Irish heritage, his interest in poli ...more
Captains and the Kings is the sweeping 1972 novel of the family of Joseph Francis Xavier Armagh, who departs Ireland as a 13-year-old with his mother and younger brother Sean to join his father in America. His mother dies upon arrival in New York harbor giving birth to his baby sister Regina. He promises her to take care of the family. They are penniless and find out they will not be allowed to debark in New York at the same time that he is informed that his father has recently died. They debark ...more
A long awaited book, just arrived from USA through BM.

The tumult and the shouting dies,

The Captains and the Kings depart.

Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice -

An humble and a contrite heart.

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget, lets we forget!

Rudyard Kipling

This is the story of Joseph Armagh, an Irish immigrant, and his family.

He struggled in order to survive as soon as his mother and two little brothers arrived in America but his perseverance made him a rich and powerful man, which
Ken Rossignol
Oct 02, 2011 Ken Rossignol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Taylor Caldwell reveals the ruthless world of the era after the industrialization of America began and one could imagine the same world of today's corporate climate in the digital era. The common thread of course is mankind with the good and the bad traits shining through! Captains and the Kings was made into a mini-series and CD set is available even now on Amazon. I am going to order the set. After reading the book in the 70's, I gained a great insight not only into the history of the era but ...more
Oct 21, 2012 Valeria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Captains and the Kings is such a great all around read in my opinion. So much so that it is one of my favorite books of all time (and that's saying a lot coming from me).

While the theme at first glance seems to be a rags to riches story, it goes so much more beyond that. You have history, romance, politics, drama (plenty of it yet not overdone), and it also delves into the different natures of human beings. It is easy to read, yet pretty intense and I had a difficult time putting this book down
Jul 05, 2011 Renie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book started out super strong with vivid details, moving images, and character investment. I loved, loved, loved it. Then, imagine my surprise when on page 100 the author tells all about the protagonist moving to Titusville, PA (my humble home town) in order to strike it rich in the oil fields. It was absolutely fascinating reading about my town 150 years ago! I enjoyed the book, except there are places where it gets bogged down in politics which, although I recognize is the main theme of t ...more
Deborah Pickstone
3.5 stars, really. It would have been 4 but for the oddness of a key issue in the narrative: out of nowhere (it appeared to me; I am told I may have missed a whole part of the storyline - see below), we suddenly learned of the man who had cursed our main protagonist's family - but the narrative of that happening and how and why was never included. Yet, from its first mention, this curse was referenced over and over again in the rest of the story. Weird.
19th Century America was an exciting time of economic growth, a time in which fortunes were made and lost, the time that Mark Twain called "The Guilded Age", when fortunes were made and lost and empires were built. It is in this context that Taylor Caldwell's novel "The Captains and the Kings" takes place.

This novel is a typical Caldwell novel. Despite her love of historical novels, Caldwell is not a historian and tends to get the basic facts wrong concerning the era about which she is writing.
May 14, 2012 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful and lengthy. But it held my attention, especially when I realize what family this story was based upon. The author has a way of making you feel the period and emotions of the main character as he grows from man child to man hood. Being driven by his circumstances to take on the responsibility of caring for those in his circle of life to realize in the end that .... will lets say," money answereth all things."
Peg Gasperoni
Aug 20, 2012 Peg Gasperoni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rereading this book... 40 years later!! Often recalled this book - especially during election years. I am, again, totally engrossed again. The story of Joseph Armaugh takes place back in the mid 19th century, but it seems like only yesterday... and, yes, today. It will color your view 'politics-as-usual'. Always thought it shoukd be a required read/discussion book. -
Jan 20, 2013 Recynd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great book! As run-of-the-mill historical fiction, it was good: great character development, wonderful writing (keep a dictionary handy!), fresh plot. As social commentary, well, it was fantastic. Caldwell obviously understand how our world works, and the story is as relevant today than it was when it was written, if not more so.
Oct 20, 2009 DOC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very good read. I found some minor plot problems, but was able to look past them. The idea of a secret society of bankers running the world is shocking, scary, and all too believable. Also, I couldn't help but think of A. Mary F. Robinson's line from A Ballad of Heroes: Now all your victories are in vain.
Linda O
Jun 11, 2009 Linda O rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1983. Powerful story that had a great impact upon me in my younger adulthood, the way I looked at the world of leaders, power and the existence of good and evil as it exists in the world of the 'powerful' and the not-so powerful.
Apr 30, 2010 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Taylor Caldwell's novels are always good reads...but I must say, I prefer her novels about biblical characters. She takes you into the minds and lives of people like, Paul, Luke, Judas and others with such emotion and insight!
Apr 08, 2009 Marilyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second time I have read this book, and I enjoyed it and understood it much better this time!! Maybe that's because I looked up words I had never seen like epergne and Panjandrum.
Feb 18, 2010 Elizabeth marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
My dad sent me this as a surprise in the mail. We do NOT have similar reading tastes, but I will give it a try. It might be part of his underhanded scheme to get me to join his conservative agenda.
Sep 03, 2011 Carterswift rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is from the same vein as Rich Man, Poor Man and is truly an epic novel with over 800 pages. A great conspiracy theory book of the early 1900 that does make you think.
if you can find any of her books i recommend them highly,she wrote so many books and they are wonderful,i read these years ago and still look for any copies i can find,
Kathy Schultz
Nov 23, 2010 Kathy Schultz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another of Caldwell's books I read in the 1970's. I remember it very well as it was one of my favorites. Also gets into the International Bankers.
Feb 13, 2010 Rita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this in the 70's. It is one of my favorites. Taylor Caldwell is a wonderful author with a lot of knowledge of historial events and lifestyles.
Oct 27, 2011 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book several years ago on my mother's bookcase and just took it for something to read. It was excellent! I have read it twice..
Apr 16, 2012 Vickie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the few books that I have read more than one time. I am not sure why it intrigued me. I guess I will have to read it again!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Do you think their are Captains and Kings Today? 7 20 Sep 17, 2015 12:51PM  
  • Beulah Land (Beulah Land, #1)
  • The Bastard (Kent Family Chronicles, #1)
  • Cashelmara
  • Centennial
  • The Immigrants (Lavette Family, #1)
  • The Search for a Soul: Taylor Caldwell's Psychic Lives
  • Evergreen
  • Independence! (Wagons West, #1)
  • Rich Man, Poor Man
  • QB VII
  • The Proud Breed
  • And Ladies of the Club
  • The Winds of War (The Henry Family, #1)
  • God Is an Englishman (Swann Saga, #1)
  • A Woman of Substance (Emma Harte Saga #1)
  • Trade Wind
  • Sacajawea
Also known by the pen names Marcus Holland and Max Reiner.

Taylor Caldwell was born in Manchester, England. In 1907 she emigrated to the United States with her parents and younger brother. Her father died shortly after the move, and the family struggled. At the age of eight she started to write stories, and in fact wrote her first novel, The Romance of Atlantis, at the age of twelve (although it
More about Taylor Caldwell...

Share This Book

“The world is a tragedy for those who feel and a comedy for those who think.” 11 likes
“Republics never survive, for their people do not like freedom but prefer to be led and guided and flattered and seduced into slavery by a benevolent, or not so, benevolent despot. They want to worship Caesar. So, American republicanism will inevitably die and become a democracy, and then decline, as Aristotle said into a despotism.” 3 likes
More quotes…