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A Visit to Hearst Castle

It’s no accident that the Pulitzer Prize – not a William Randolph Hearst prize – is the prestigious award for journalism. Ironically, William Randolph Hearst, Jr., the second son of the infamous publisher credited with creating “yellow journalism,” won a Pulitzer Prize in 1955.

The Hearst Castle tours were impressive, emphasizing only positive aspects of Hearst’s relationship with Julia Morgan, the talented architect who included many modern day innovations before they became popular. The room that impressed me was, of course, the library – with walls of books, including first editions by Jack London, one of Hearst’s favorite authors. The gift shop/bookstore displayed a number of books about “the Chief,” including:

“Hearst: an American Dynasty”by Judith Robinson

“William Randolph Hearst” by Ben Procter

“Julia Morgan: Architect and Creator of the Asilomar Grounds” by Russell Quacchia

“The Uncrowned King” by Kenneth Whyte

I bought the paperback – “The Times We Had: Life with William Randolph Hearst” by Marion Davies; it promised pictures and lots of gossip.

Notably, a few famous critiques of Hearst were not there: Martin Lee and Norman Solomon’s “Unreliable Sources,” and Upton Sinclair’s 1919 book, “The Brass Check: A Study of American Journalism.” And no mention of Citizen Kane – or Rosebud from the movie that Hearst tried unsuccessfully to ban. However, when questioned, a savvy tour guide told me that Rosebud was WRH’s pet name for his mistress, Hollywood actress Marion Davies. Maybe I’ll discover more when I read her book.

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