CITIZEN HEARST by W. A. Swanberg


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This colorful yet careful biography of William Randolph Hearst does more to clarify that man, and the ""yellow journalism"" he started, than anything written to date. From ""Willie's"" birth in 1863 to fabulously wealthy parents (his miner father later became a senator) to his assumption of control of the San Francisco Examiner, then the New York Journal, to his intervention in the Cuban situation which led to the Spanish-American War, to his political intrigues, fights with Joseph Pulitzer, and screaming anti-trust clash, the story is as rich a slice of Americana as one could find in this century. All the less well-known, or distorted facts about Hearst--- his spell as a Congressman, his business affairs, his long relationship to actress Marion Davies-- are examined too. Through all of it, this megalomaniac, this showman, this man who built a castle at San Simeon, with his 30 automobiles, a flying field, and a zoo attached, is treated to a most penetrating analysis. How Hearst finally fell from power around 1940, gradually declining in California until his death in April of 1951, becomes a study of changing, possibly maturing American attitudes. Exciting, fast-moving, with real sense of character, and always aided by an underlying sense of American history and mores. Should do very well.

Pub Date: Sept. 11th, 1961
Publisher: Scribner