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Young, Scott.

Toronto, Macmillan, 1987. 288pp, cloth, $19.95, ISBN 0-7715-9518-2. CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by Jean Farquharson

Volume 16 Number 3
1988 May

"Gordon Sinclair was generally considered to be the most loved, hated, coarse, stubborn, unafraid, and irreverent Canadian of his time." Thus Scott Young introduces this well-known personality whom he first met in 1941 when Young was a twenty-three-year-old reporter on the Toronto Star.

Sinclair's writing career had begun in 1922 when, tired of bookkeeping, he was hired by the Star as a cub reporter. Brought up in a poor working-class family in Toronto, Sinclair had quit grade 9 to work in a bank, but he soon showed a strong interest in writing by taking reports of sports events to the papers for publication. Sinclair was strongly influenced by his mother Bessie, a hard-working woman with "a capacity to exaggerate almost everything."

Sinclair instinctively sensed stories that other reporters might have missed. After seven years without a byline, he became famous as a roving reporter who travelled thousands of miles to exotic countries and interviewed a variety of persons from hoboes and evangelists to Gandhi and Hitler. His books became best sellers. Before one trip, ten thousand people jammed Massey Hall and the surrounding streets to see him off.

A good investor, in fact a millionaire, Sinclair was a good provider to his wife and four children, but his travels and fame had a terrible effect on them. He loved them and hated to leave them but when he returned he couldn't fit in and often screamed at them and treated them cruelly, a womanizer, it is said he had a romance with evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson.

Fired and rehired several times by the Star, Sinclair eventually left to work in broadcasting for CFRB, and went on to further fame on CBC television with "From Page Challenge."

This is fascinating reading for anyone interested in journalism or just in finding out more about this well-known personality.

Jean Farquharson, Brantford Collegiate Institute & V. S., Brantford, Ont.
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