FRONT ROYAL WOMEN’S RESOURCE CENTER AND ROYAL OAK BOOKSHOP co-sponsor donations to Samuels Public Library that are by or about women. This book is now available to be checked out.
By Keggie Carew
Winner of the Costa Book Award for Biography
Keggie Carew grew up in the gravitational field of an unorthodox father who lived on his wits and dazzling charm. In her adult life, Keggie’s relationship to her father became strained, but a new door opens when her stepmother dies, leaving the octogenarian Tom Carew in his children’s care. As Tom’s memory begins to fail with dementia, Keggie embarks on a quest to reconstruct the story of a man who has always remained an enigma. In his attic she discovers trunks of diaries, letters, newspaper cuttings, photographs, marriage and divorce certificates, and taped interviews that lead to extraordinary revelations about his secret past.
Born in Southern Ireland during the Irish War of Independence, Tom Carew was a maverick, a left-handed stutterer, a law unto himself and well-suited to an era of danger and adventure. In World War II, he joins an elite special operations unit called the Jedburghs – the first direct collaboration between the British and American intelligence agencies. In 1944 he is parachuted behind enemy lines to help raise guerrilla resistance, first against the Germans in France, then against the Japanese in Southeast Asia where – as a bearded, pipe-smoking, sarong-clad twenty-five-year-old – he won the moniker “Lawrence of Burma.” But his military exploits are only the beginning. For all his wartime success, the fearless Tom would have a much harder time adapting to domestic life during peace.
Fusing biography, compelling world War II history, and the exploration of an intricate father-daughter relationship, Dadland takes up on a spellbinding journey into surprising corners of twentieth-century politics, Keggie’s madcap English childhood, the poignant breakdown of a family, the bittersweet experience of caring for an ailing parent, and more. In piecing her father (and herself) back together again, Keggie celebrates the technicolor life of an impossible, irresistible, unstoppable man.
Keggie Carew has lived in London, Barcelona, Texas, and New Zealand. Before writing, she made her career in contemporary art. She now lives near Salisbury, in the UK. Dadland is her first book.