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The Times We Had : Life with William Randolph Hearst Mass Market Paperback – March 12, 1985


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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

THE book chronicling the high times in San Simeon. Don't even THINK about going to visit the amazing Hearst Castle before reading this one! It made MY trip (and my companions) much richer.
-Mark Bloomfield, Ballantine Sales

From the Inside Flap

The was the unofficial empress of Hollywood and she spent a lifetime as the mistress of one of America's richest men. Gathered from tapes recroded a decade before Marion Davie's death, read, in her own words, the story of a fantastic and glittering life, as never told before.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st edition (March 12, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034532739X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345327390
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #357,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

A must read for any silent fan!
Clara
It is in his forward... All I can say about this book is WOW.
W. Brandt
The author is not a good writer, the book is boring.
Magnum

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 67 people found the following review helpful By frumiousb VINE VOICE on June 27, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Honestly, I bought this book for the photographs. Having suffered through any number of star autobiographies I was expecting the book itself to be nothing more than at best a guilty pleasure. It was a pleasant surprise to find The Times We Had refreshing, engaging and moving.

In the summer of 1951, Davies began recording her memories of life with Hearst on tape. The book was not published during her lifetime and is a fairly literal transcription of the tapes (with some-- occasionally very odd-- editorial comments). The diction of the book is particularly striking. I suppose this is because it is really captured Davies spoken words. So often in ghost-written celebrity autobiography you have a strange blandness that makes it sound like a poor magazine article. By contrast, even though the book is not written in the most professional way, it has a strong feeling of immediacy and authenticity.

Davies can be astonishingly blunt, and makes no attempt to make herself look better or to filter the events of her life. For example, there is one eyebrow-raising moment where she discusses how disappointed she had been that she did not get to meet Hitler. She had met Mussolini and clearly thought that it would be really cool to meet Hitler as well. This is not the book to read if you are looking for political reflection or self-examination in the context of world events.

That said, it is really hard not to like the Marion Davies of the book. There is a very nice practical energy to her voice that is both refreshing and interesting to read. Anne Lindbergh once said that of all the people surrounding Hearst, she found Davies the most stable. After reading this, I get a sense of what she meant.

As noted, the editorial presence is a little strange.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 1, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love it when I find a book that can make me laugh out loud. This one did/does. I get it out and read it again sometimes when I need a pick-me-up. I can see why "WR" loved her. Her childlike sense of fun, her love of animals, her loyalty to friends, just to name a few. Her loyalty and devotion to "WR" would stand out at a time when he was in dire financial straits. Also, this book is interesting in that it gives us a glimpse of the golden era of Hollywood. There are serious moments in the book, but overall it is light-hearted and amusing. She wasn't really shallow or an air-head. The girl just liked to have fun!
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By MrsSchmidlapp on May 30, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There have been a lot of terrible things said about Marion Davies. She was not just a mistress. She was a talented actress and a very generous person. This book is Marion's real story told in her own words. There isn't anything scandalous in this book but Marion does reveal a lot about her career, her famous friends, and her life with William Randolph Hearst. There are also dozens of photos from Marion's private collection. If you are a fan of Marion or are curious to learn more about her you need to buy this book.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Christine Zinno Bagnasco on June 23, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a must for anyone who is even remotely interested in Hollywood's Golden Era. Marion Davies was a great actress in the silent era, and continued into the 1930's. She not only gave wonderful parties that were the talk of the town, but she was one of the most generous, giving, loving people of all time. She started her own children's clinic, and gave plenty of money to charities. If she heard that a crew member's father needed an operation, she'd give him the money. That was the type of wonderful person Marion was. This book is definately worth buying!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By W. Brandt on June 19, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book years ago and because of my ongoing interest in WR Hearst and Marion Davies read it again. Marion made some recordings shortly after her long time (30+years) lover W.R. Hearst died in 1951. She then did nothing with them and died in 1961. Two editors in 1975 took these tapes, edited them and the book appeared in 1975. This book is a time capsule of her years with Hearst and the people she met from Carole Lombard to a young Jack Kennedy.

What to know what Charles Limbergh was like personally? G. B. Shaw? What really happened the night Thomas Ince died?

Marion has come back to this world and invites you to sit with her while she tells you how it all was...

Want to know what Orson Wells thought of the comparison of her and Citizen Kane? It is in his forward...

All I can say about this book is WOW.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bigkahooona on June 8, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The conversational style of this book shines a light on the personality and character of Marion Davies. I recommend the book be read in conjunction with "The Chief" by David Nasaw and "Marion Davies" by Fred Laurence Guiles--taken together these books present a unique picture of the people portrayed and the times the lived.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Alexandra Roberts on February 22, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I once read that Winston Churchill wrote a letter to his wife, Clementine, after having met both, Mrs. William Hearst, Sr. and Hearst's mistress, actress Marion Davies, during an extended visit with publishing czar Hearst. Ever the diplomat, Churchill is alleged to have written, "I have met both Mrs. Hearsts, and they are both charming."

I bought a copy of Marion Davies autobiography from the Hearst Castle gift store, after completing a fourth (or was it fifth?) tour of that absolutely fabulous mountain-top estate. I wanted to know a lot more about this woman who openly lived with still-married Hearst for nearly four decades. So, who better than Davies, to tell her own story?

The book proved to be a very pleasant surprise as Davies' irrepressible "funster" voice transcends time and seduces readers as surely as one tour of Hearst Castle can never be one's last. No wonder "WR" adored this woman! While Davies was in no way Hearst's intellectual peer - and never pretended to be otherwise - she was a disarmingly funny, unpretentious, unstintingly generous, loving, loyal companion, who also happened to be drop-dead gorgeous, in her prime. Honesty may not have been among Davies strong suits - as noted in Orson Welles foreword, she rewrote or embroidered on facts to improve on her stories - but discretion certainly was.

Davies obliquely hinted at the probability she had a daughter, fathered by Hearst - Patricia Van Cleve Lake, who may or may not also have been Patty Hearst's namesake aunt - at several points in this memoir. Hearst descendants have yet to publicly corroborate Lake family claims that Davies' "niece" Patricia was actually Davies child with Hearst, Sr.
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