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The times we had: Life with William Randolph Hearst Hardcover – 1975

3.8 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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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 --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill; First Edition edition (1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0672521121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672521126
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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I liked the book quite a bit, I seem to have a slight fascination with Marion Davies and Wm. Randolph Hearst so this was a must when I read the other reviews. I am just surprised that Marion Davies just didn't seem to have any focus or passions in life. She just bounced around in life and let it happen, which maybe is the way it's supposed to be??? Lots of nice photos and it certainly seems to be a truthful book.
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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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