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Tom Crean Biography – Release of the Centenary Edition

Shown here is the second edition centenary version of my biography on the life of Tom Crean – Crean – the Extraordinary Life of an Irish Hero.

Tom Crean Biography - Release of the Centenary Edition Tom Crean BookSince I first announced I had been working on a Tom Crean biography back in September 2017, I faced and continue to face barriers in trying to get it out there.

From an early e-mail sent to me by the Michael Smith, author of a previous book on Crean, forewarning me of the importance of the possible infringement of copyright of his publication, to moves aimed at making it difficult for me to use the name and the image of Tom Crean by those labelling themselves as the custodians of Tom Crean’s name, (Tom Crean’s direct descendants), I found myself in the firing line even before my book was released.

The bitterness and resentment of this small group is a story I felt I had to write up and I did so in a separate blog platform on Google Blogger where you are able to add your opinions in the comments if you wish. That post can be read here

From those who have read the book, I’ve had great reviews and I’m really pleased that all of those reviews have been in high praise of what I wrote.

Throughout my research I discovered far more than I’d anticipated, much of what I found conflicted with that written in Smith’s accounts of Crean’s life. As a result much of the  information and stories in my book have never before been documented in a publication.

The book I wrote is a standalone, comprehensive biography about the life of a remarkable Irishman who served on three Antarctic expeditions and who was born in the county of my father. It was painstakingly researched to ensure everything I discovered and transcribed to it was ‘accurate’ and fully-referenced. A great personal reward came in official validation of my book when, in March 2021, after submitting all my sources as evidence, the Royal Irish Academy applied substantial revisions to Tom Crean’s article entry in the Dictionary of Irish Biography where my book also appears in the references.

Writing Tom Crean’s biography has won more fans of the man and of the campaign which, after 11 years, has finally bore fruit through the efforts of an early signatory to the petition I created in late 2016. A scientific vessel, the RV Tom Crean, will take to the seas next year after being given the green light by the Irish government.

When I heard the news in January 2021 I was delighted but the same barriers were thrown up when the press release made no mention whatsoever of the campaign that brought this ambition about. Someone of influence found it right to dismiss the part of 50,000 campaign supporters when the news was released.

The legacy of Tom Crean is best served by those inspired by his story and those creators who write, sketch, sing and paint out of sheer admiration of a great man. They should be offered free licence to allow them to create and spread the story of a great man, providing its told in a factual way – a goal that happens to be my new mission.

It is not served well by his name becoming a brand that appears on a beer pump or a brewery or any other overtly commercial enterprise that utilises his name primarily as a money-making marque that benefits a select few.

A PDF version of my book has been made available free of charge to schools and my book is very different to any other account of Tom Crean’s life. If that grates with those who protested about it when I announced it – good, I hope it grates with you more.

My reason for making it freely available to schools? Because I want young minds to read an accurate account of a man whose story will act to inspire them – there’s no better role model than Tom Crean and for too long they’ve been misinformed about his life and made bereft of a number of significant events he played a part in  That PDF version will remain freely available to schools the world over regardless of my future position. I’ve already sent it over to a number of teachers and schools and I love that this book is now the subject of school projects in and outside of Ireland.

The second edition of my book, a centenary version in commemoration of Tom Crean’s retirement in 1920, is still available and further details on the formats and where they can be purchased can be read here

There are many additional pages in the second and third editions which include colour maps, photographs and sketches and newly discovered stories that add to the information I previously discovered. I won’t give anything away at present but the information I have added is enlightening and I’m sure readers will find the new stuff of great interest.

For those who have read my first edition, there are a couple of minor errors, none of which affect the story but I’m a stickler for getting the facts right and so they are as follows:

I mention that Charles Green was the cook aboard when the Queen visited Endurance before she set off for Buenos Aires. Green actually joined the ship when she reached Buenos Aires. The original cook was dismissed by Shackleton when the ship had reached Argentina.

Secondly I mistakingly named William Stephenson as one of the two Endurance members who played a part in smuggling the stowaway Perce Blackborrow aboard in Argentina, it was actually William Bakewell.

There’s obviously something about Argentina that forced me into errors but I won’t cry about it 🙂 it happens to every author and both errors have been addressed in my second edition.

The Kerry version of the book is available now as a signed version at https://tomcreanbook.com/product/tom-crean-book-paperback

Sorry for the lengthy post and for having to subject you to a piece that includes my first ever rant on here but I felt is was important to get a few things off my chest.

Because of my research Tom Crean's story has changed so do please share the posts.
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