Thursday, August 31, 2017

Dadland: A Journey into Uncharted Territory by Keggie Carew

My book for August was Dadland: A Journey into Uncharted Territory by Keggie Carew. I bought the book after hearing the author interviewed on a NPR podcast earlier this year. The book was the winner of the 2016 Costa Book Award for Biography.

The book is a biography of the author's father Tom Carew. Much of the book was researched and written after Tom already had dementia. His daugther worked to unravel her father's story based on news accounts, letters and interviews. What she found astonished her... The book is part family memoir and part military history.

Largely unbeknownst to his family, Tom Carew was part of Operation Jedburgh. This was a clandestine operation during World War II. Personnel of the British Special Operations Executive, the U.S. Office of Strategic Services and the Free French Bureau Central de Renseignements et d'Action were dropped by parachute into occupied Europe to conduct sabotage and guerrilla warfare. They led the local resistance forces in actions against the Germans. After serving behind enemy lines in France, Tom was dropped in Burma to organize Burmese resistance to the Japanese.

The early sections of the book covering Carew's time in France and Burma are very compelling. I found the second half of the book focusing on Carew's job and family struggles after the war to be less interesting. Nevertheless, I give the book a strong "B" grade.

Reading the book, I realized that while I understand the events of World War II in Europe, I don't have a clear picture of the events in Southeast Asia. [Note to self], I need to find a book that provides an overview of World War II in Southeast Asia.

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