William Kennedy

William Kennedy is an American writer and journalist born on January 16, 1928, in Albany, New York. He is best known for his Albany Cycle of novels centered on the city of Albany, portraying its history and experience. His most famous work, 'Ironweed', won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was adapted into a 1987 film. Kennedy's writing is notable for its rich use of language and exploration of the human condition.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Ironweed

    Set during the Great Depression, the novel follows Francis Phelan, a former professional baseball player, who has become a drifter following a series of unfortunate events. Haunted by his past, including the accidental death of his infant son, Phelan returns to his hometown of Albany, New York, where he confronts his past and tries to make amends. The book explores themes of guilt, suffering, survival, and redemption.

    The 1407th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Legs

    "Legs" is a fictional biography of the notorious gangster Jack 'Legs' Diamond, set in the Prohibition era. The narrative, told from the perspective of Marcus Gorman, a lawyer and friend to Diamond, explores the gangster's life, his criminal activities, his relationships, and his untimely death. The book provides a vivid portrayal of the Jazz Age, offering a deep exploration of the criminal underworld of that time.

    The 5813th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Billy Phelan's Greatest Game

    Billy Phelan's Greatest Game is a novel set in the 1930s, focusing on the life of a small-time hustler and poker player named Billy Phelan. When a local politician's son is kidnapped, Billy becomes embroiled in the case, despite his attempts to stay out of it. The story explores the themes of morality, corruption, and redemption as Billy navigates the seedy underbelly of Albany, New York, and is forced to confront his own past and make some tough decisions.

    The 6088th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. The Albany Cycle

    The Albany Cycle is a series of novels that intricately weaves the personal and political narratives of multiple generations of characters in Albany, New York. Set against the backdrop of the 20th century, the series explores themes of corruption, power, and redemption, delving into the lives of Irish-American families and their entanglements with the city's political machine. Through a blend of historical fact and fiction, the novels paint a vivid portrait of urban life, examining the complexities of human nature and the impact of societal change on individual destinies.

    The 8310th Greatest Book of All Time