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The Eclectic Life of an Irish Canadian

Overview


At 80, Michael Barber, like many emerging computer-literate seniors, decided to write a book. Although a work of fiction, detailing the life of Philip Townsend, THE ECLECTIC LIFE OF AN IRISH CANADIAN mirrors Barber's own life. This readable story originates in his hometown of Cork, in Ireland, at a time when the horse and buggy were giving way to the 'Model T' Ford.
His early years in Ireland describe the difficulties of growing up with the 'stigma' of having an English father...
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Overview


At 80, Michael Barber, like many emerging computer-literate seniors, decided to write a book. Although a work of fiction, detailing the life of Philip Townsend, THE ECLECTIC LIFE OF AN IRISH CANADIAN mirrors Barber's own life. This readable story originates in his hometown of Cork, in Ireland, at a time when the horse and buggy were giving way to the 'Model T' Ford.
His early years in Ireland describe the difficulties of growing up with the 'stigma' of having an English father whose Cockney accent constantly embarrassed the children and caused much taunting by their peers. It was a time when anti-British feelings were running high following the execution of the perpetrators of the 1916 failed Irish Rebellion in Dublin and just prior to the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922.
Barber deals honestly and frankly with the problems of pedophilia in the Christian Brother's School in Cork - a problem as tacitly covered up then as it has been in recent times but, obviously, as pervasive as it has been in the U. S. and Canada throughout the past two decades.
He deals poignantly with the accidental death of his brother, Jackie, at age 15 followed later by the stigma of his older sister, Gertie's pregnancy and, later her delivery of a child out of wedlock, an event considered to be disgraceful by any standards in Catholic Ireland at the time. The previously contented and joyful life of the Townsend family was ended forever.
Leaving home, like many of his forebears, he saw service during World War Two in the Royal Air Force, first in England and later in Algiers, Italy and India. His experiences are descriptive and mesmerizing.
Following the warhe joined the British Admiralty as an Electronic Spy monitoring Russian military radio transmissions. His oath of secrecy, no longer valid following the end of the Cold War, allowed him to be one of the first to provide a detailed description of this, heretofore, unpublicized activity. This work took him to Malta, shortly after his marriage to a young German woman, where he lived for three years. The couples first two children were born there.
As if this were not 'eclectic' enough for one lifetime he describes the family's experiences in settling in Canada where he spent four years in the Canadian arctic and sub-arctic during the building of the mammoth Distant Early Warning and Mid-Canada Radar Warning Lines. From this uncertain lifestyle he made a major switch in careers and spent the next 25 years as a Canadian career bureaucrat.
Still not 'putting his feet up' after retirement, he and his wife spent 6 years in Mexico, she as an Artist and he in the study and, later, teaching of Spanish in the well-known expatriate inhabited town of San Miguel de Allende.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412000093
  • Publisher: Trafford Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/2/2003
  • Pages: 276

Meet the Author



This is Michael Barber's first book but, at eighty years of age, he hopes, not his last. He is currently working on his second book, to be published in the Fall of 2003, Alfredo and the Toro, a children's book which brings attention to the cruelty involved in the annual 'Running of the Bulls' in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

He admits that when he first left Ireland in 1942 as a 20-year old shy, timid Irish boy he had no idea just how eclectic his life was to become. After being swamped with paper work for 25 years in his job with the Canadian Federal Government he felt he did not want to see another sheet of paper again as long as he lived. Now, however, 60 years after leaving Ireland and, after much coaxing from his family, he has relented. After a year of research and writing he has completed the story of his life as a work of fiction based on the facts of his own life.

He also attributes his desire to write to the inspiration he has received from the many books he has read since his retirement. He admits that reading what others have written is as much a requirement of a writer's arsenal as the writing itself.

He has made a remarkable comeback from a serious heart condition and believes that his adventures may not yet be over. A further book still in the embryo stage to be entitled Back From the Brink will describe his horrendous experiences with the Canadian Medical system.
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