Captains and the Kings

Captains and the Kings is a 1972 historical novel by Taylor Caldwell chronicling the rise to wealth and power of an Irish immigrant, Joseph Francis Xavier Armagh, who emigrates as a penniless teenager to the United States, along with his younger brother and baby sister, only for their parents to die shortly afterwards. Joseph Armagh befriends a Lebanese immigrant, and both are taken under the tutelage of an American plutocrat. An inter-generational saga focusing on the themes of the American dream, discrimination and bigotry in American life, and of history as made by a cabal of the rich and powerful, through Armagh's attempt to make his eldest son, who eventually becomes a senator, the first Catholic President of the United States.

Captains and the Kings
Captains and the Kings - Cover.jpg
Front Cover (1972)
AuthorTaylor Caldwell
CountryUnited States
GenreHistorical Novel
PublisherFawcett Publications
Publication date
Preceded byOn Growing Up Tough 
Followed byTo Look and Pass 


Young Joseph Armagh, recently of Ireland, who promised his dying mother to care for his younger siblings lands in Boston. His determination carries him through years of shady-deal making and his gradual accumulation of wealth and power. Armagh takes on the global power brokers.



It was one of the top 10 best-sellers of 1972, as ranked by The New York Times Best Seller list.[1] Caldwell drew heavily on aspects of the Kennedy family, John D. Rockefeller and Howard Hughes, although she did write in the epilogue that the "Armagh family" is fictional and was not meant to lampoon nor criticize.[citation needed]


The book was adapted into an eight-part television miniseries by NBC in the 1976 broadcast season as part of its Best Sellers series.[2]




Duke won an Emmy Award for her performance. Jordan won a Golden Globe award and an Emmy nomination for his performance. Durning was nominated for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe. Beverly D'Angelo made her debut. Cinematographer Ric Waite won his only Emmy Award for his work on the miniseries.[3]


  1. ^ Burt, Daniel S. (2004). The Chronology of American Literature: America's Literary Achievements from the Colonial Era to Modern Times. p. 579. ISBN 978-0618168217.
  2. ^ "CAPTAINS AND THE KINGS (1976)". Fan TV. Archived from the original on November 3, 2016. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  3. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (February 21, 2012). "Cinematographer Ric Waite Dies at 78". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 29, 2012.

External linksEdit