No Mud on the Back Seat: Memoirs of a Reporter


339 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 1-895854-39-3
DDC 070.92




Reviewed by Geoffrey Hayes

Geoffrey Hayes is an assistant professor of history at the University of


Gerald Clark began his career as a reporter at the McGill Daily in 1935,
continued it at The Montreal Star, and more recently moved to Reader’s
Digest. As a journalist he has witnessed the liberation of Paris from
German occupation in August 1944; the German surrender in May 1945; the
Nuremberg war-crimes trials; Red China in the 1950s; Jerusalem during
the Six-Day and Yom Kippur Wars; and the Bosnian civil war.

What makes Clark’s stories about his experiences so compelling is his
eye for the unusual. For example, before the Hotel Scribe in Paris
became the headquarters of Allied reporters in 1944, it was in the hands
of the Gestapo, who, Clark discovered, for four years dutifully paid
rent to the hotel’s owners—the Canadian National Railway. Such
stories, told in Clark’s easy style, are the book’s strength.

But this book is also about reporting (“I look on every story I do
with two thoughts: it has never been done before, and while I am doing
it, it is the most important story in the world”), and the author’s
closing remarks reflect on the state of his profession. His advice is
humble and eminently practical, and every budding journalist should read


Clark, Gerald., “No Mud on the Back Seat: Memoirs of a Reporter,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 20, 2024,