Praise for Dadland :
Named a San Francisco Chronicle top 10 book of the year and a best book of the year by NPR’s Book Concierge
Winner of the Costa Book Award for Biography
#1 nonfiction bestseller in the UK
An Amazon Best Book of the Month in Biographies & Memoirs
"Oh this book. Beautiful and fierce and brave. Memory and war and family and loss and, well, wow." Helen Macdonald, author of H Is For Hawk
"Carew's memoir about her father follows a winding, extraordinary path through the thickets of dementia and the jungles of Burmaa thrilling, bloody, educative history of Churchill's Special Operations Executive (AKA the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare) in the second world war combined ingeniously with a tender, moving, funny portrait of the author's father." Nick Hornby, Observer (UK), "best holiday reads 2017"
Keggie Carew dives deep into her father's world in this extraordinary blend of personal memoir, biography, and World War II military history . . . Dadland brings to mind Helen MacDonald's H is for Hawk in the way it soars off in surprising directions, teaches you things you didn't know, and ambushes your emotions. It's a similarly fierce and unconventional book that defies categorization to explore mortality, loss, life decisions and influences through a daughter's intense bond with her father." Heller McAlpin, NPR.org
"The Dadland of Keggie Carew's first book is a vast expanse indeed . . . To understand his military history required archival deepdiving, while plumbing the (relatively) peaceful years involved sifting through diaries and letters, sorting out generations of mismatched marriages (temperament, class), and engaging in capacious acts of empathy and imagination . . . Part memoir, part biography, part military history, Dadland is also a lovingly unconventional elegy for a generation." Dawn Raffel, San Francisco Chronicle
"[A] superb book." Sunday Times (UK)
"A very moving story, very mature, very visual book. A stand out, standalone piece of work because it was so unusual. For me it had the magic ingredient: It had beautiful prose, beautiful, smooth, readable, accessible prose and it was utterly hilarious. The most unconventional biography I have ever read." Mary Loudon, Judge of Costa Award for Biography 2016
"A brilliant, bittersweet biography." Cornelia Parker, Observer (UK), "best holiday reads 2017"
"An astonishingly moving story: how, as she slowly lost her father to dementia, a writer pieced together the awesome truth about his recklessly daring wartime exploits behind enemy lines." Daily Mail (UK)
"Part military history and part personal memoir . . . It's an exorcism, ghost-hunt, and swim through the archipelago of her father's shattered self . . . The shuttle between multiple timeframes and voices suits a character as vivid and layered as Tom Carew: a master of deception, a fearless charmer more at ease in war than in peacetime, impervious to pain." Times Literary Supplement (UK)
"We all adored this hilarious and heartbreaking bookyou'll be so glad you read it." Costa Biography Award judges
"Celebrated as 'Lawrence of Burma' and 'the Mad Irishman,' Carew was the youngest officer ever to be awarded a Distinguished Service Order . . . This chiaroscuro of dad-as-hero and dad-in-decline patterns a book which is as much about love and family as allies v axis . . . It's a book about a singular man. Even near the end of his life, Tom managed to charm and astonish . . . [An] original, moving book." Guardian (UK)
Dadland is a rare amalgam: It's a memoir of the days her father Tom Carew spent as one of the dashing, daring "Jedburghs" during World War II . . . The author pieces together a joint memoir/biography that tugs at the heartstrings even as it describes real feats of bravery, such as Tom's parachuting into Occupied France with a tiny team to defy Nazis, and his incredible work in trying to maintain a free Burma." Literary Hub , "14 Books to Read This March"
"Energetic. . . Carew's vivid narrative takes readers briskly through the horrors and excitement of war, portraying Tom as a vigorous, charismatic soldier fully in his element . . . Carew's evocative blend of biography and memoir maintains a warmly clear-eyed tone while taking the full measure of dysfunctional and disappointed lives . . . A scintillating portrait of Britain's Greatest Generation at war and uneasy peace." Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"One of the most vivid books I have ever read about the cut and thrust of family life, its best of times and its worst of times . . . 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." Sunday Express (UK)
"Dazzling . . . An unforgettable portrait of a maverick father who is in the process of forgetting everything, including the exploits for which he was awarded a Croix de Guerre. But it's so much more besides: a detective story, a family history, a thrilling tale of derring-do, and the most distinctive and affecting memoir I've read since H Is for Hawk." Bookseller (UK), "Book of the Month"
"A clear-eyed portrait of a man caught in the vortex of his own enigma." Costa Book Awards shortlist citation
" Dadland is part family memoir, part history book, and is compelling and moving from start to finish . . . [Keggie Carew] hasn't just uncovered the facts about her father's war; she's inhabited it imaginatively with him, for him, and has recorded it vividly as his own grip on memory wavers and fails . . . 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." Financial Times
"An astonishing biography . . . Dadland mixes intimate memoir, biography, history and detective story: this is a shape-shifting hybrid that meditates on the nature of time and identity . . . Tom Carew was a razzle-dazzle character, larger than life and anarchically self-invented . . . For all its vigour and comic zest, Dadland is a careful and tender discovery that patiently circles around a man who spent his life mythologizing and running away from himself." Observer (UK)
"Outstandingly good." Esquire (UK)
"Moving . . . Dadland is a poignant look at a child's changing perspective on her father's life, a journey many children take as their parents grow older." BookPage
"A moving memoir-cum-biography." Irish Times (UK)
"An intoxicating blend of history, memoir and biography." BBC Radio Bristol
"In Dadland , [Keggie Carew] tells [her father's] story . . . with poignancy and humour." Vogue (UK)
"How lovely to discover a book that makes one seize friends by the lapels and implore them, 'Read this' . . . On one level, Keggie Carew's Dadland is a wartime adventure story. On another, it is an investigative memoir, a history of how one family's fortunes can be sunk. But above all it is a portrait of a loveable, charming, mischievous old rascal named Tom Carew . . . [A] wonderful book." Literary Review (UK)
"I was so absorbed and moved by Dadland I haven't been able to read anything else. It is beautifully writtendeft and funny and so tenderbut I have also come away knowing more about history, more about dementia, more about men, more about daughters, more about love, family, sheds, diaries, an inquisitive mind and peeing in plastic bottles. I loved it." Rachel Joyce, New York Times bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
"I loved Dadland for its tenderness, humour and candour . . . It has also taught me something deeply moving about tolerance, and about love." Robert Macfarlane, author of The Old Ways
" Dadland is a wonderful, haunting and beautifully written memoir unlike any other I have ever read . . . It is a profoundly rewarding and life-affirming book of many layers and a deeply moving homage to that extraordinary generation who lived, loved and fought through the Second World War. An absolutely stunning book." James Holland, author of The Rise of Germany, 1939-1941
As Thomas Carew lost his memory to dementia, his daughter embarked on a search to find a man she hardly knew. Throughout her childhood, Carew reveals in her captivating debut memoir, her father was a man who could fix anything and solve any problem. Energetic, ingenious, and charming, he was also unconventional (cheering her occasional truancy from school, for example) and no stickler for decorum or rules. She knew he had been a spy, but until she began to assemble the pieces of his life, she had little idea what that meant. In fact, during World War II, he had been a member of the Jedburghs, an elite international corps that parachuted into France to aid the resistance fighters and into Burma to hold back the Japanese. "I was one of the first good terrorists," Tom later told an interviewer. In charge of "ambushes, explosives, and small-arms instructions," he engaged in missions that were chaotic and frighteningly dangerous. But among Jedburghs and other guerrilla fighters, and when leading his team into Japanese-occupied Burma, he claimed to feel more alive than he ever would feel again. Burma proved much more challenging than France. "To start with," writes the author, "it would be impossible for the Jeds to blend in; and even if they kept themselves hidden, their great big footprints would give them away." Carew recounts the Jedburghs' role in Burmese political upheaval, smoothly weaving that narrative into her family's unsettled history. Her mother was the second of Tom's wives, an unstable, unhappy woman who railed against marriage to a man who seemed destined for financial ruin. Carew's childhood was "curdled with anger…I don't remember anything but discord." After Tom left the military, he suffered repeated business failures that left his wife and children vulnerable. The couple eventually divorced, and Tom remarried. Carew is as vicious in her portrayal of this possessive, controlling stepmother as she is empathetic to her father's loss of his adventuresome past and, more tragically, sense of identity. A tender evocation of an extraordinary life.