William Randolph Hearst, known to his staff as the Chief, was a brilliant business strategist and a man of prodigious appetites. By the 1930s, he controlled the largest publishing empire in the United States, including twenty-eight newspapers, the Cosmopolitan Picture Studio, radio stations, and thirteen magazines. He quickly learned how to use this media stronghold to achieve unprecedented political power.
The son of a gold miner, Hearst underwent a public metamorphosis from Harvard dropout to political kingmaker; from outspoken populist to opponent of the New Deal; and from citizen to congressman. In The Chief, David Nasaw presents an intimate portrait of the man famously characterized in the classic film Citizen Kane.
With unprecedented access to Hearst's personal and business papers, Nasaw details Heart's relationship with his wife Millicent and his romance with Marion Davies; his interactions with Hitler, Mussolini, Churchill, and every American president from Grover Cleveland to Franklin Roosevelt; and his acquaintance with movie giants such as Louis B. Mayer, Jack Warner, and Irving Thalberg. An "absorbing, sympathetic portrait of an American original," The Chief sheds light on the private life of a very public man (Chicago Tribune).