Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Opening paragraphs.........................

William Randolph Hearst did not speak often of his father.  He preferred to think of himself as sui generis and self-created, which in many ways he was.  Only in his late seventies, when he began writing a daily column in his newspapers, did he remind his readers - and himself - that he was the son of a pioneer.  In a column about the song "Oh Susannah," which he claimed his father had sung to him, Hearst recounted the hardships George Hearst had endured on his thousand-mile trek from Missouri to California in 1850.  There was pride in the telling and in the story.  His father had been one of the lucky ones, one of the stronger ones.  While others had "died from cholera or were drowned by the floods or were killed by the Indians or tarried by the wayside under crude crosses and little hasty heaps of stone," his father had stayed the course, braved "the difficulties and dangers" and "at length.....reached California in safety."
-David Nasaw, The Chief:  The Life of William Randolph Hearst

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