Black, Conrad (Moffat) 1944-
BLACK, Conrad (Moffat) 1944-
PERSONAL: Born August 25, 1944, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; became naturalized British citizen, 2001; son of George Montegu (a business executive) and Jean Elizabeth (Riley) Black; married Shirley Gail Hishon (divorced); married Barbara Amiel (a writer), 1992. Education: Carleton University (Ottawa, B.A.), 1965; Laval University, L.L.L., 1970; McGill University, M.A., 1973. Politics: Conservative
ADDRESSES: Offıce—10 Toronto St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5C 2B7. Agent—Mort Janklow, Janklow Nesbitt Literary Agency, 445 Park Ave., New York, NY 10022.
CAREER: Businessman, politician, and writer. Sherbrooke Record, Quebec, Montreal, Canada, owner, beginning 1969; Sterling Newspapers Ltd. (chain of daily and weekly periodicals), Canada, owner; Argus Corporation, Ltd. (holding company), Toronto, Ontario,Canada, chairman of board and chairman of executive committee, 1978-86; Hollinger International, Inc. (media company), Toronto, founder and chief executive officer, 1978-2003. Writer. Elected to House of Lords, Great Britain.
AWARDS, HONORS: LL.D., St. Francis Xavier University and McMaster University, 1979; Litt.D., University of Windsor (Ontario, Canada), 1979; named Lord Black of Crossharbour, 2002.
Duplessis, McClelland & Stewart (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1977, published as Render unto Caesar: The Life and Legacy of Maurice Duplessis, Key Porter Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1998.
A Life in Progress (autobiography), Key Porter Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1993.
Former general columnist, Toronto Globe and Mail. Contributor of articles to numerous newspapers.
SIDELIGHTS: Conrad Black is a Canadian-born British citizen who has presided over an international media empire through his Hollinger International holding corporation. Black began purchasing small newspapers in Canada in 1969, at the age of twenty-five. Since then, through multinational ventures, he has presided over numerous businesses, principally but not exclusively in print journalism. By the late 1990s Black's media holdings through Hollinger International were the third largest in the world, surpassed only by Rupert Murdoch and the Gannett Company. Some of Black's best known newspapers have included the Chicago Sun-Times, Jerusalem Post, and London's Daily Telegraph.
Following in the footsteps of other Canadian media moguls, Black was named Lord Black of Crossharbour in 2002, thereby gaining a seat in Great Britain's House of Lords. Since then, Hollinger International's financial records—and some of Black's transactions—have occasioned a great deal of press, some of it critical of Black's management. He retired as chief executive officer of Hollinger in 2003, but remained the company's principal stockholder.
Black's first book, Duplessis, analyzes Maurice Duplessis, a former provincial premier of Quebec, and discusses Duplessis' influence upon Canadian politics. Unlike many scholarly works, Duplessis sold briskly in Canada and was published in 1998 as Render unto Caesar: The Life and Legacy of Maurice Duplessis. In 1993 Black published A Life in Progress, his own autobiography. In a Maclean's review of the work, Peter C. Newman praised the work as "a lively and rare chronicle of power seized and exercised." Also in Maclean's, Allan Fotheringham commended A Life in Progress as being "remarkably candid."
Some reviewers expressed surprise that Black, a staunch conservative, would choose to write Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom. John Cassidy, writing in the New Yorker, reported that Black explained: "My feeling is that we have to emancipate Roosevelt from the left. . . . The fact is he belongs to the country, and he was, essentially, a centrist. He was not a bleeding heart." Overall, reviewers of Franklin Delano Roosevelt praised Black's thoroughness as well as his style of presentation. A critic for the Economist called the book "a great achievement . . . well-researched, readable and judicious." The critic added that Black makes "claims, which are not only just in themselves, but which illustrate the historical grasp and literary precision of this admirable book." In Booklist, Jay Freeman suggested that Franklin Delano Roosevelt "has great value, particularly when it focuses upon Roosevelt as president and indomitable wartime leader." Commentary contributor Arthur Waldron noted: "This book is impressive both as a labor of love and as a labor of labor." Waldron went on to conclude, "Black writes forcefully and at times with real eloquence, deploys a genuine gift for evocation of character and scene, and has crammed his pages with fascinating details that reflect the depth of his long immersion in the subject."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Barlow, Maude, and James Winter, The Big BlackBook: The Essential Views of Conrad and Barbara Amiel Black, Stoddart (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1997.
Black, Conrad, A Life in Progress, Key Porter Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1993.
Contemporary Newsmakers 1986, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1987.
Cook, Peter, Massey at the Brink, Collins Publishers (London, England), 1981.
Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd edition, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1998.
Newman, Peter Charles, The Establishment Man: APortrait of Power, McClelland & Stewart (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1982.
Siklos, Richard, Shades of Black: Conrad Black and the World's Fastest Growing Press Empire, Reed Books Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1995.
Beaver, April-May, 2004, Christopher Moore, review of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, p. 49.
Booklist, November 1, 2003, Jay Freeman, review of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, p. 475.
Canadian Dimension, October, 1992, Doug Smith, "More Black Humour," p. 39.
Commentary, March, 2004, Arthur Waldron, review of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, p. 57.
Economist, November 29, 2003, "A Paean for Roosevelt: American Poltical History," p. 81.
Editor & Publisher, November 24, 2003, Mark Fitzgerald, "The Talented Mr. Black," p. 7.
Fortune, October 4, 2004, Devin Leonard, "More Trials for Lord Black," p. 42.
Library Journal, November 15, 2003, William D. Pederson, review of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, p. 76.
Maclean's, November 22, 1993, Peter C. Newman, review of A Life in Progress, p. 42, and Allan Fotheringham, review of A Life in Progress, p. 76.
New Leader, November-December, 2003, Henry Graff,review of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, p. 24.
New Yorker, December 8, 2003, John Cassidy, "Baron/Biographer," p. 44.
Publishers Weekly, September 22, 2003, review of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, p. 94.
Canadian Studies Web site,http://www.canadianstudies.ca/ (October 6, 2004), "Conrad Black."
Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (October 6, 2004), "Conrad Black."
Nationmaster.com,http://www.nationmaster.com/ (October 6, 2004), "Conrad Black."
The Frank Truth (film), 2001.
This Hour Has Twenty-two Minutes (film), 2003.
Citizen Black (film), 2004.