Smith barely manages to confine his extraordinary life in this bulging autobiography. A semi-orphan (his mother simply parked him with a ""Nanny"" and disappeared) he ran away from schools, and by his mid teens was on his own. His itinrant jobs took him from lumbering, wheat harvesting, a sporting goods store of his own, to the market where he became a financial reporter on the San Francisco hronicle. Still in his '20's, he went to Europe, interviewed Hitler, Mussolini and had a tete a tete with Stalin's first wife a few months before she died. Back is financial editor of the Chronicle, he fell into a warm, daily relationship with Ex-President Hoover and by his 27th birthday was the editor and general manager of the Chronicle, where he stayed put for seventeen years. In 1938 (he was not yet thirty) he accompanied Hoover on a tour of European capitals, and made himself so extensively disagreeable to Nazi leaders that they somewhat admired him. While keeping the Chronicle ablaze, he became a staff officer for Wilkie's election campaign. During WWII he resigned as a naval lieutenant to reenlist as a Marine private. Three weeks after the Bombs were dropped, he found himself wandering horrified through Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Later, he went to New York to try to save the ailing Crowell-Collier magazines, Collier's, The American Magazine, etc. Their financial crisis provides Smith with an agonizing climax to his autobiography, and one feels a genuine sense of disaster as the magazines die.