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Dadland A Journey into Uncharted Territory by Keggie Carew

Dadland A Journey into Uncharted Territory

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Winner of the Costa Biography Award 2016.

The author grew up in the gravitational field of an unorthodox father. As his memory begins to fail, she embarks on a quest to unravel his story. In this title, she takes us on a journey, in peace and war, into surprising and shady corners of history, her rackety English childhood, the breakdown of her family, the corridors of dementia and beyond.

Costa judges' comment: “A bravura tale of derring-do – stylish, unconventional and utterly hilarious.”


Dadland A Journey into Uncharted Territory by Keggie Carew

Tom Carew was a maverick, a left-handed stutterer, a law unto himself. As a member of an elite SOE unit he was parachuted behind enemy lines to raise guerrilla resistance in France, then Burma, in the Second World War. But his wartime exploits are only the start of it...Dadland is a manhunt. Keggie takes us on a spellbinding journey, in peace and war, into surprising and shady corners of history, her rackety English childhood, the poignant breakdown of her family, the corridors of dementia and beyond. As Keggie pieces Tom - and herself - back together again, she celebrates the technicolour life of an impossible, irresistible, unstoppable man.


'As Dad was losing his past... I was trying to retrieve it, Keggie writes... With the publication of this original, moving book, she has succeeded' -- Paul Laity Guardian (Review)

'It's now commonplace to say that sad memoirs are ultimately redemptive, but Dadland is the real McCoy. It is a rich and stunning achievement, a feat of imagination that sews together many parallel true stories. Above all, it is a labour of shining daughterly love' -- Caroline Sanderson Sunday Express (S Magazine)

'A fascinating mix of military history and family memoir studded with photographs... It's one woman's attempt to put her father's role in history on the page, at the same time as his own recollections of it diminish' -- Cathy Rentzenbrink The Times (Saturday Review)

'Compelling and moving from start to finish... Carew's funny, fascinating and unflinching tribute to her father is a portrait of a complex man: not just a war hero but a flawed husband; not just a Jedburgh but her incorrigible and much-missed dad' -- Melissa Harrison Financial Times

'A poignant, inspiring and often comic account of family life and the man known as the T E Lawrence of Burma ... Ripping real-life yarns of double agents, secret messages, illicit assassinations and cyanide pills... the heroics and humour persist to the end' -- Richard Benson Mail on Sunday

About the Author

Keggie Carew has lived in London, West Cork, Barcelona, Texas and New Zealand. Before writing, her career was in contemporary art. She lives near Salisbury. Tom Carew was born in Dublin in 1919. He served in the Jedburgh unit of the Special Operations Executive in the Second World War. The Times of India called him 'Lawrence of Burma' and 'the Mad Irishman'. He married three times, and had four children. He died in 2009.

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Book Info

Publication date

28th July 2016


Keggie Carew

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Chatto & Windus an imprint of Vintage Publishing


432 pages


Biography / Autobiography
All Shortlists and Winners
eBook Favourites

Coping with illness & specific conditions
Intergenerational relationships



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