My father died when I was seven years old. I've always thought that was the most important thing anyone could know about me. The beloved, lost father - the Shadow Man: in this searing memoir, one of America's finest writers discovers the truth about the man whose romantic image defined her life. But who was David Gordon really? In Mary Gordon's memories of him, he was an erudite and charming man: an intellectual, a writer and publisher, a Harvard dropout and Jazz Age bohemian. But at midlife she began to question these loving memories and to go in search of the man whose presence - and absence - haunted her life. Unburying startling truths, Gordon discovers both a devoted, inventive, and loving father and a person desperate to cover up the underside of the immigrant's encounter with the American dream. As Gordon tracks her father - in the archives, in libraries, in the middle of America - she uncovers lies, despair, madness: a man who lied about many things, including his date and place of birth, his native language, his family, his education. A Jew born in the last years of the nineteenth century, he became a convert to Catholicism and to right-wing politics, a literary critic who was also a pornographer, and a vicious anti-Semite. As a realistic portrait of her father emerges, Mary Gordon reevaluates herself in the light of these painful discoveries about her heritage and past.