Survivors of institutionalised childcare are the exception. We expect them to be losers. Today, 60% of British children in care grow up to be either criminals, homeless, or suicidal. Yet Tommy is a survivor. His story provides an uplifting demonstration of the power of perseverance. Starting life on the lowest rung, he saw only one way to go...
It was in 1739 that Britain's first childcare provider, the Foundling Hospital led by its almost saintly founder, Captain Thomas Coram began its pioneering work. Tommy passed into its care exactly two centuries later as a weeks old baby in its last intake of institutionalised children. His particular misfortune was to be born to a mother who was not married.
Leaving the Foundling Hospital at 15 with no qualifications and no family, Tommy had to make his own way. After a shaky start, his life became a rollercoaster of great successes and heartbreaking disasters, ranging from the founding of South West England s first health club and the country s largest artificial ski slope to the ordeal of bankruptcy and the tragedies of losing a much-loved wife and child.
'The Last Foundling: The Memoir of an Underdog' is a tale of our times. It is an affirmation, to all who feel they have been dealt a bum hand in life, that perseverance and a positive outlook can often turn things round.
"Tom Mackenzie's 'The Last Foundling' is a moving and compelling story told with authenticity and verve. One is perhaps more apt to associate the author's early autobiographical experiences with a Dickensian world or the title with something out of Fielding's 'Tom Jones', but the story is indeed unmistakably a modern one and one definitely to reckon with. What especially comes across in these varied adventures is Tom Mackenzie's humanity, vitality and spirit all of which are considerable and impressive."
- Michael Krasny, host of award-winning San Francisco talk radio show, Forum, on America s most-listened-to National Public Radio station, KQED. Dr Krasny is also a Professor of English at San Francisco State University and author of 'Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life' and 'Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic’s Quest'.
"This is what I call a candid tale. Gritty, compelling and beautifully written."
- Gary Streeter, British Member of Parliament for South West Devon.
"A book which is well worth reading for its portrait of a bygone age and the insight it contains into children in the mid twentieth century whose family were not in a position to support them. It is also a life-affirming story of a tenacious individual who made a life for himself often against the odds."
- Jill Weekes, Amazon UK Top 50 Reviewer