New York State Writers Institute
David Nasaw
November 9, 2000

8:00 p.m. Reading

Please NoteRecital Hall, PAC
(Not Page Hall)
UAlbany, Uptown Campus

4:00 Informal Seminar, HU 354
UAlbany, Uptown Campus

The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst

David Nasaw's epic new biography, The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst (2000, Houghton Mifflin Co, ISBN 0-395-82759-0), is based on the media mogul's newly released private and business papers. Nasaw is the first biographer permitted access to these materials by the Hearst family. The papers document Hearst's interactions and correspondence with the leading political figures of his day, including Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, Benito Mussolini, and every president from Grover Cleveland to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Also featured is Hearst's love-hate relationship with Hollywood, informed by documentation of his relationships with movie kings, Irving Thalberg, Louis B Mayer, and Jack Warner.

Nasaw's book exposes misconceptions about Hearst made popular by Orson Welles's Citizen Kane, and presents a man who embodies many contradictions, "a huge man with a tiny voice; a shy man who was most comfortable in crowds. . .an autocratic boss who could not fire people; a devoted husband who lived with his mistress."

Nasaw is also the author of two acclaimed books about the role of recreation in American culture, Going Out: The Rise and Fall of Public Amusements (1993) and Children of the City: At Work and At Play (1985). He has served as historical consultant for several television documentaries and is currently the chair of the doctoral history program at the City University of New York Graduate Center.

The Chief:  The Life of William Randolph Hearst Going Out: The Rise and Fall of Public Amusements

"David Nasaw's superb biography of William Randolph Hearst is both a portrait of a colorful, powerful, and controversial publisher and an important cultural history of the birth of modern mass media." - Alan Brinkley

"Filled with fascinating details and surprising new facts, David Nasaw's splendid biography of the Chief reconfigures William Randolph Hearst's troubled and turbulent life and times." - Blanche Wiesen Cook

"William Randolph Hearst was the most famous, ambitious, unscrupulous, outrageous American newspaper publisher in the twentieth century, the most glorified and the most reviled; at last, in The Chief, he has received a fascinating biography that does justice to all facets of a picturesque personality. David Nasaw has not only uncovered new material, but he sets Hearst in a broad political and cultural context and writes about him engagingly, lucidly, and fair-mindedly. It is a superb portrait and a superb book." - Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

Writers Online Magazine Article
Albany Times Union Article

Houghton Mifflin Company