Psychiatry would probably have ruined Joseph Pulitzer if he were arriving from Hungary today instead of in 1864, but there's no question that the immigrant who swung U.S. political history and changed the face of American journalism needed a brace of head shrinkers. He spent the last twenty-two years in a luxurious, wandering self-exile and from his padded yacht drove his editors to drink, his family to despair and his hired companions back to less demanding companionship. To the irritability and selfishness of a near-blind psychotic, Pulitzer added a foul mouth and the inability to trust the administrators of his two influential newspapers. One of the marks of his journalism was sensationalism, but while Swanberg notes this it didn't influence his writing. Perhaps Pulitzer's early and impressive record prevented the author from suppling author judgments of the last years, which are described in detail with readers left to exercise their own comments on the nature of Pulitzer's psychosis. Pulitzer's best years went into the establishment of his two great, crusading papers and this makes up the best part of the book, which attempts to cover the whole life. Two other recent books, Rammelkamp's Pulitzer's Post Dispatch (1967) and Juergens' Joseph Pulitzer's World (1967) probably tell the general reader more than he cares to know about the day-to-day running and content of the papers, while this book fails to say as much as might be said about the man and his contradictions of character. Competent biography but not half so sensational as the forceful fanatic who is its subject would have demanded.