As founder of the largest U.S. prewar media empire, William Randolph Hearst, Sr., forever changed the face of American journalism by using his newspapers to aid in forcing the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. As a public figure he was larger than life, first as ambitious congressman, then as reclusive yet active businessman in the famous castle that rises above the Pacific at San Simeon. The elder Hearst was known for his extravagance as well as his long affair with Marion Davies, images that were highly embellished in Orson Welles' reproach of the Hearst persona, Citizen Kane.
In The Hearsts: Father and Son, William Randolph Hearst, Jr., and co-author Jack Casserly tell the extraordinary story of an American family from the gold-diggings of California to the present Hearst media empire. They also profile a cavalcade of reporters and columnists who became the stars of the Hearst newspapers, and portray the colorful New York nightlife of the 1930s and 1940s.
©1991 William Randolph Hearst, Jr. with Jack Casserly; (P)1994 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Brisk, unpretentious, opinionated." (Publishers Weekly)
Sorry, I have been to the Hearst Castle several times and was truly looking forward to this book. Unfortunately the reader is the worst I've ever heard. Do yourself a favor and listen to some excerpts first. He reads way to fast and with a completely dispassionate tone.
As a journalist, the story is fascinating and draws you in - such an interesting family and fascinating era(s). Oh to have worked during that time! The performance of the material is very distracting at times, though. Mr. Riggenbach needs to take a breath and some of his mispronunciations are distracting!
Likes intelligent mysteries, spy thrillers, world history, most anything Roman. Hates bad writing.
This book manages to make an interesting topic thoroughly uninteresting--and if you stick with it, increasingly annoying. The problem is the modest literary ability (even with the help of a co-author) of William Randolph Hearst Jr., a basically boring, uninsightful account of what should have been a fascintating story, and a narrator who does nothing to improve the mundane and superficial narrative. A bad book by a spoiled rich kid who apparently learned very little worth knowing in his 80+ years of life.
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