All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren is a political novel (though it's more about human relationships) set in the early 1900s. It tells the story of one man's rise to political success and his ultimate demise. But at it's heart, it's not about the politician at all.
This story is told through the eyes of an assistant to the eventual governor. His perspective on the events is the real story. A self-proclaimed student of history, we watch him lose sight of his own story as he participates in the story of the governor. As things tend to do, story lines collide, and the narrator is forced to come to terms with his own history.
On a political note, many would read this and watch the governor manipulate and blackmail his way to power and declare that this could never happen today. I disagree. Today he would make it all the way to the white house.