This is why we read: to put yourself in someone else's mind, let them carry you along with them through an incredible journey, learning what it's like to be this person at this time, and returning with an abundance of insight into how to live. There's so much here: A obstinate, defiant, rebel father who focused his feistiness to become a war hero, a daughter who takes care of her energetic yet increasingly faltering, demented father at the end of his life, a family interacting within the constraints of the times and the personalities, marriages, wars, class issues, and family, family, family.
The military/war/secret missions sections were the impetus for writing this book, but they were honestly the least interesting to me being that when you're on the right side, you're a covert operations hero but when you're on the wrong side, you're a terrorist. Reading this with that in mind, it's amazing to see the bravery in people to fight for good, but also to see how someone becomes such a hero. The grit and determination needed to do these death-defying operations without concern for survival is honorable, at least when it comes to saving the world from Nazis.
Instead, I learned so much about family dynamics, about miscommunication and unintended consequences, of hurts, slights, games, and interactions between people that are related yet hated. When I stopped reading, the family issues were still in my head, being worked through as if it were my family. As if I were thinking what I might do in that situation, and how each misstep and miscommunication and closed door occurred so that I might not do the same thing in my life with my own family. It was better than any counseling session, and much more enjoyable. And I have to say, I came away with an understanding about how people can see the same event and respond Rashomon-like, with such different interpretations. I have already used this insight into my interactions with my more feisty family members to much more positive results.
At the end of it all, this is just a delightful journey through the end of life relationship between a "give me a job" feisty dad and his daughter. As a daughter of a feisty dad, this was easily relatable, but even without this relationship in common, this book took me to a new understanding of how to deal with, and how to not deal with strong-willed people, particularly when you're related to them and can't just ghost them (or you can but family, particularly parents, are not replaceable so you're the one who loses).
Huge snapshot of the British Empire in decline. Author pieced together her non-conformist father roller-coaster ride as a SOE agent, Jedburgh in France & Burma to messy civilian life with dysfunctional family.
Really heartbreaking that stubborn REMF pre-war governor Dorman-Smith in Burma probably spitefully masterminded assassination of Aung Sun nationalist just because the rules have changed, he could not control Burmese nationalism & locals won't go back to the old Imperial days.
Author wondered if Colby, former CIA director & her father friend from Jedburgh days really die of natural causes.
Chuckled on shyster/scrape-grace who stole subject's name in post 9/11 book get exposed on live national television
What happens to daring young war heroes when the war ends? How does a young man adjust to civilian life where rules, procedures, and order reign supreme? Keggie Carew, in this memoir about her enigmatic father, Tom, unravels the story as her father descends into dementia at the end of his life. Tom Carew, dubbed the "Mad Irishman", was a member of an elite World War II special operations unit in France and Burma. When the war ended, Tom never really adjusted to civilian life despite 3 wives and 4 children. As the author slowly unravels the mysteries of her father's life, she is also honest about her emotions and actions during the same time. Lavishly illustrated with family photos, Carew shares her family's compelling and often sad story.
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