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Author Unravels Her Spy Dad’s Life, One Secret Mission at a Time

Keggie Carew’s father, Tom Carew, was once known as “Lawrence of Burma” and “the Mad Irishman,” and in her new book, Dadland, we find out why:

Carew’s father was part of the Jedburghs, an elite British unit established during World War II. Carew had heard stories about her father’s war years, but she was never sure how much to believe until she went to a Jedburgh reunion with him. There, she learned that they were trained in everything from setting mines and neutralizing booby traps to silent killing and night parachuting.

“It was never mundane with dad, even with dementia.”

Carew’s book combines espionage and war stories with reflections on parent-child relationships. But writing it wasn’t so straightforward: Carew started her project just as her father was losing his memory to dementia.

“It was a parallel journey,” she says. “As my dad was losing his memory, I had set the task of retrieving it. But it was as his life was sort of going out of the station [and] I was chasing the train in the other direction.”

Interview by Ari Shapiro, NPR
Photo: Keggie Carew with her father, Tom Carew

Listen To The Interview at Minnesota Public Radio >