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Tom Crean Biography – Release of the Centenary Edition

Tom Crean Biography - Release of the Centenary Edition Tom Crean BookShown here is a preview of the second edition, a centenary version of my biography on the life of Tom Crean – Crean – the Extraordinary Life of an Irish Hero.

Since I first announced I had been working on a book about Tom Crean back in September 2017, I have faced and continue to face barriers in trying to get it out there and easily accessible to readers in Ireland. My latest e-mail to Eason’s may help change that – I hope so.

From an early e-mail sent to me by the author of a previous book on Crean, warning 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, I found myself in the firing line even before my book was released.

The bitterness and resentment of a small group continued after I released the book and in December 2018 I became the butt of libellous comments and lies that still sit there today on Michael Smith, the same author’s Facebook profile. Stressful though it was to become victim to nothing short of group bullying I defended myself on every false accusation posted there. I later removed my replies after deciding to go high when others went low. I never directed anyone to the offending post and right here is the first time I’ve referred to it. The main post itself had no foundation whatsoever yet it was an early opportunity, an in if you like, to try and discredit my work. Conceitedly, and with the true intention of the post becoming quickly apparent, Smith chose to describe my biography on Crean as a ‘booklet’.

One of the commenters accused me of plagiarism – now plagiarism is the worst of insults that can be hurled at any self-respecting author and I contacted the person who admitted to never having read my book. He’d posted his comment purely in support of his friend. After I made contact with him he immediately removed it.

The vast majority of images that appear in my book from the cover to those inside, were created under my own direction or were photographs in my ownership – it was a means of bypassing those who never wanted this book to see the light of day and I’m delighted how well the designs turned out.

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

The book isn’t written from the pen of an author who specialises in Polar biographies, I’m not an author who specialises in Polar books – I have no desire to be and I never professed to be. It wasn’t written to compete with any other book and initially my plan was to write a short book covering the stories of Tom Crean’s heroism while in serving in Antarctica.

Throughout my research I discovered more than I’d anticipated, much of which conflicted with that written in previous 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.

I’m no academic, however I can write and I have excellent research skills. I write in a style that appears to connect well otherwise the platforms I regularly post to wouldn’t have generated the number of supporters they have.

My book may never get the exposure of others, it’s self-published and as such we self-publishers are at a disadvantage when it comes to placement in book stores. I have no large publisher promoting my book for me yet from my experience of corresponding with a number of them, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I own all the rights to my book, I was in control of what content would appear in my book and, after a previous experience of a publisher asking that I write in their house style, I handed the advance they’d given me back to them.

Consequently my book may not sit prominently on the Irish historical biography section of booksellers but it should, because I absolutely believe it to be the definitive biography of Tom Crean.

It has cost a lot in time and in money to create it and to get it out there under my own imprint (Keel Foley Publishing). It is out there though and no-one was successful in preventing that. I’m as proud of that as I am of the book.

There was a perception, made in a comment on the aforementioned profile, that I was some high-flying wealthy TV Executive out to exploit the name of Tom Crean and that I’d been rude to a bookowner who decided, on the strength of his relationship with the commenter, not to stock my book. I have the complete transcript of that conversation with the bookseller and far from being an eye-opener to any rudeness on my part, which it really isn’t, it does reveal the intentions of bullies to prevent my book entering a bookstore in their town of Kenmare. The fool who put that comment up wasn’t such a great researcher – let me explain why.

I’m a working-class, second generation Irish Salfordian who flunked my grammar school education and had a long career in kitchens as an installer and a contractor. On a website forum I later created, I offered my expertise and free advice to those looking to buy a kitchen. That led to me being hired as a Project Consultant in a few TV series, mainly those of a DIY nature. Among the shows I worked on back in the early noughties, was 60-Minute-Makeover for which I was present at the inaugural meeting as to whether the concept might work.

I also appeared in the show and embarrassing footage of me working alongside and directing other trades to get cracking for the hour we had to complete the work, is still out there – I’m the guy in the Irish shirt if you do come across the early episodes of the show.

That’s the extent of it – no high-flying, hard-hitting TV executive, just a minor bod with his name on the credits of shows I worked on who was valued to lead a team of tradesmen into transforming five rooms in an hour on the telly.

Throughout my time in kitchens I had a longstanding passion to see a hero of mine get the recognition he deserved and I began a campaign to achieve official recognition for Tom Crean in 2010.

I’ve put in many hours to try and generate support and I’ve paid out a substantial sum over the years in order to boost our numbers. For the hundreds of posts I’ve put up, I designed and created images and I’ve relentlessly promoted the platforms I operate. For those who believe it’s a team of people operating the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles, it’s not, it’s just me.

In early 2017 I created a petition for a planned Irish Navy flagship to be named in Crean’s honour. To date the petition has generated over 14,100 signatures and in February 2018, when the petition had passed 10,000 signatures, I travelled over to Dublin, met up with supporters of the campaign and they handed the petition over to the Irish Minister of Defence. I have no other motives other than to see Tom Crean honoured and I never expected nor wanted a return or a reward aside from a victory in achieving that goal.

In writing a book that will win more fans of the man and the campaign, I was lambasted by a tiny clique of pompous, bitter individuals and their loyal followers, who believe they have ownership of Tom Crean and his story. Quite apart from their objections to the book they decided to criticise the campaign stating that Tom Crean is already sufficiently honoured. The sad irony of this is that those who began criticising the campaign were, before my book was released, in support of it.

Not my usual type of blog post this but I’ve waited a year to post it and it’s in response to what others may read about me elsewhere. If that post and another person’s musings about me had been removed I would never have taken to writing this one in response. It’s sad that I have to but so long as resentful bullies post their lies and accusations for all to see then I’ve been left with no choice.

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 my account of a man whose story will act to inspire them – there’s no better role model than Tom Crean. 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, will be available at the end of October. There will be two versions, one that I have personally arranged and had printed in County Kerry and another that will be available as a print-on demand version via Ingram Spark and available through Amazon.

The difference between the two versions is that the Kerry-made version is made from a heavier, full colour style paper and weighs 100 grams more than the print on demand version. The Kerry version is available to purchase from the website and I’m happy to sign it if requested to. This version can also be dispatched in larger orders to booksellers if they wish to offer it to customers.

In reality, because I don’t have a distributor in Ireland, this means me packaging and boxing each order before carrying it or driving across to my local post office for delivery. The Kerry version also comes with a free custom designed bookmark, one of which is Christmas themed.

Unfortunately I don’t have access to the print on demand versions in order to sign copies because they arrive direct to buyers from the printers. This also means that the bookmark is not made available for the print on demand versions unless purchased separately on the website. I have though priced the POD versions accordingly at £13.99/€15.50/$18. The Kerry version, because of the heavier and different paper type used in its production, retails at £15.99/€18/$20. Aside from these differences, the content inside is identical.

Since releasing the first edition I’ve uncovered further information which explains my being absent on the page recently. There are an additional 20 pages in this new edition which includes three 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 additional info 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 pre-order at – it will be the centenary version that arrives for those wanting to order the book. I will also update here when the print on demand versions become available.

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.

Tom Crean Biography - Release of the Centenary Edition Tom Crean Book

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