Gordon Sinclair: A Life ... and Then Some
James G. Snell is a history professor at the University of Guelph,
author of In the Shadow of the Law: Divorce in Canada, 1900-1939, and
co-author of The Supreme Court of Canada: History of the Institution.
Scott Young has the experienced writer’s eye for a good story, and the life of Gordon Sinclair, Toronto’s famed newspaper, radio, and television personality, provides Young with much material. To his credit the author has chosen to reveal his subject “warts and all.” Indeed, this is the book’s main interest, for much of the story of Sinclair’s media career is relatively well known, as is the nature of his public persona.
It is in revealing Sinclair’s private life that Young’s story is most interesting. What made Gordon Sinclair most interesting on his radio and television shows — his apparent crassness, his concern for money, his perversity — was what made him least attractive in private life. Young willingly discusses Sinclair’s unhappy career as husband and father, and his extra-marital liaisons, successfully paralleling this material with Sinclair’s rising success in the media.
Gordon Sinclair: A Life ... and Then Some is a good read. Young has an easy way with words. The book’s organization is somewhat puzzling, and it is unclear why some of the material was included in specific chapters.
Young has not provided an analysis as to why Sinclair was so popular, first in Toronto and then across English-speaking Canada. But he has provided an entertaining biography of one of twentieth-century Canada’s folk heroes.