Sher, Julian 1953-
Sher, Julian 1953-
Born 1953. Education: McGill University, honours graduate in history.
Television writer, producer, and director. Investigative journalist for the New York Times, New York, NY; Globe and Mail and Toronto Star, both Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Investigative producer, "The Fifth Estate," Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC-TV), 1990-2000. Columnist for Media magazine; creator and webmaster, JournalismNet. Consultant for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Paris, France; and United Nation's Children's Fund (UNICEF), New York, NY.
Canadian Association of Journalists (former president), Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (member of advisory board).
Gemini Award for best documentary, 1997; Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing nomination, and CAA Birks Family Foundation Award for Biography, both 2002, both for Until You Are Dead: Steven Truscott's Long Ride into History; DuPont Award, Columbia University, 2006, for Nuclear Jihad; Arthur Ellis Award, 2008, for One Child at a Time: The Global Fight to Rescue Children from Online Predators; Governor General's Award for Meritorious Public Service.
Until You Are Dead: Steven Truscott's Long Ride into History, Vintage Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.
(With William Marsden) The Road to Hell: How the Biker Gangs Are Conquering Canada, Knopf Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2003.
(With William Marsden) Angels of Death: Inside the Biker Gangs' Global Crime Empire, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2006.
(And director) Nuclear Jihad (television documentary), Canadian Broadcasting Channel (CBC), 2006.
Caught in the Web: Inside the Police Hunt to Rescue Children from Online Predators, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2007, published as One Child at a Time: The Global Fight to Rescue Children from Online Predators, Random House Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2007.
Contributor to periodicals and online journals, including the New York Times, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, CNN Online, Globe and Mail, Ottawa Citizen, and Commonwealth Broadcasters Association.
Producer and journalist Julian Sher is the author of several investigative studies that discuss the widespread problem of crime in Canada and the United States. "His first book, White Hoods: Canada's Ku Klux Klan, is an expose of racism in Canada that is still cited as the main source of the subject in the encyclopedias," wrote a contributor to the author's home page. "He also wrote the award-winning national bestseller Until You Are Dead: Steven Truscott's Long Ride into History about Canada's most famous murder trial, which led to an official reopening of a forty-year-old case." "Julian has trained journalists around the world to master the Internet as a tool for investigative reporting," declared a writer for the Web site JournalismNet.com. "On special assignment, Julian has also trained journalists in Kosovo for the Canadian International Development Agency, and in the African countries of Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana and Nigeria for the World Bank."
Until You Are Dead is the story of the sentencing and imprisonment of a juvenile offender who may never have been guilty of the crime of which he was accused. "In 1959, at the age of fourteen, Steven Truscott was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder and sexual assault of twelve-year-old Lynne Harper, which took place near Clinton, Ontario," explained Christine Gervais, writing for the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice. "The title of the book, Until You Are Dead, is a direct quotation of the words used by the judge in Steven Truscott's sentencing to death by hanging in 1959." His sentence was commuted to life in prison in 1961, but he was paroled in 1969 and essentially released from his parole in 1974—all because of his exemplary behavior while incarcerated. He later found employment, married, and raised children, all while using an assumed name.
Sher covered Truscott's story while working for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's program The Fifth Estate. He expanded the scope of the program in Until You Are Dead. "In its entirety, Until You Are Dead constitutes a passionate and thorough review of what is perceived by many as a miscarriage of justice," wrote Gervais. "Sher's exhaustive documentary reveals a rather myopic investigation undertaken by the police and the prosecution. The author uncovers witnesses who were never called upon to testify, more probable suspects who were never investigated, and information that was never included as evidence. The result is that many disturbing doubts are raised about Steven Truscott's trial and conviction." The doubts raised were serious enough to allow Truscott's defenders to seek to have the case reviewed. In August of 2007 the Ontario Board of Appeals acquitted Truscott of the charge of murder.
Working with fellow journalist William Marsden, Sher wrote two books about the influence of the international motorcycle gang the Hell's Angels: The Road to Hell: How the Biker Gangs Are Conquering Canada and Angels of Death: Inside the Biker Gangs' Global Crime Empire. "These guys act like they're just a bunch of wasted hippies on bikes (which they sort of are)," declared Ean Hernandez in a review of Angels of Death posted on his Ean Goes to College Web site. But appearances are deceiving; Hell's Angels have amassed considerable wealth over the years, a good deal of it coming from drug smuggling and gun running, and their ability to accumulate this wealth rests on their willingness to employ violence against other motorcycle gangs and—on occasion—one another. "Sher and Marsden," Mike Tribby declared in his Booklist review of Angels of Death, "bring readers up to speed with an ace true-crime saga whose last chapter is far from written." "Angels of Death," concluded Tom Dewe Mathews in the New Statesman, "is a well-researched, engrossing account of the biker gangs' rise up America's crime tree."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 1, 2006, Mike Tribby, review of Angels of Death: Inside the Biker Gangs' Global Crime Empire, p. 9.
Books in Canada, May 1, 2003, review of Until You Are Dead: Steven Truscott's Long Ride into History, p. 35.
Canadian Book Review Annual, January 1, 2003, Geoff Hamilton, review of Road to Hell: How the Biker Gangs Are Conquering Canada, p. 319.
Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, January 15, 2004, Christine Gervais, review of Until You Are Dead, p. 209.
Canadian Law Libraries, fall, 2002, Nils Jensen, review of Until You Are Dead, p. 195.
New Statesman, July 17, 2006, Tom Dewe Mathews, "Wheels of Fire," review of Angels of Death, p. 59.
Bookclubs.ca,http://www.bookclubs.ca/ (August 24, 2008), "Author Alert."
CBC.ca,http://www.cbc.ca/ (August 24, 2008), "Julian Sher, Jon Redfern among Crime-Writing Award-Winners."
Ean Goes to College,http://eanh.blogspot.com/ (August 24, 2008), Ean Hernandez, review of Angels of Death.
JournalismNet,http://www.journalismnet.com/ (August 24, 2008), author profile.
Julian Sher Home page,http://www.juliansher.com (August 24, 2008), author profile.
MysteryBooks.ca,http://www.mysterybooks.ca/ (August 24, 2008), author profile.