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An American Requiem is the story of one man's coming of age. But more than that, it is a coming to terms with the conflicts that disrupted many families, inflicting personal wounds that were also social, political, and religious. Carroll grew up in a Catholic family that seemed blessed. His father had abandoned his own dream of becoming a priest to rise through the ranks of Hoover's FBI and then become one of the most powerful men in the Pentagon, the founder of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Young Jim lived the privileged life of a general's son, dating the daughter of a vice president and meeting the pope, all in the shadow of nuclear war, waiting for the red telephone to ring in his parents' house. He worshiped his father until Martin Luther King, Jr., the civil rights movement, turmoil in the Catholic Church, and then Vietnam combined to outweigh the bond between father and son. These were issues on which they would never agree. Only after Carroll left the priesthood to become a writer and husband with children of his own did he come to understand fully the struggles his father had faced. In this work of nonfiction, the best-selling novelist draws on the skills he honed with nine much-admired novels to tell the story he was, literally, born to tell. An American Requiem is a benediction on his father's lief, his family's struggles, and the legacies of an entire generation.<P><P> Winner of the National Book Award
A New York Times bestselling and widely admired Catholic writer explores how we can retrieve transcendent faith in modern times Critically acclaimed and bestselling author James Carroll has explored every aspect of Christianity, faith, and Jesus Christ except this central one: What can we believe about--and how can we believe in--Jesus in the twenty-first century in light of the Holocaust and other atrocities of the twentieth century and the drift from religion that followed? What Carroll has discovered through decades of writing and lecturing is that he is far from alone in clinging to a received memory of Jesus that separates him from his crucial identity as a Jew, and therefore as a human. Yet if Jesus was not taken as divine, he would be of no interest to us. What can that mean now? Paradoxically, the key is his permanent Jewishness. No Christian himself, Jesus actually transcends Christianity. Drawing on both a wide range of scholarship as well as his own acute searching as a believer, Carroll takes a fresh look at the most familiar narratives of all--Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Far from another book about the "historical Jesus," he takes the challenges of science and contemporary philosophy seriously. He retrieves the power of Jesus' profound ordinariness, as an answer to his own last question--what is the future of Jesus Christ?--as the key to a renewal of faith.From the Hardcover edition.
In this compelling family saga set during a tumultuous era in Boston history, 1960-1984, James Carroll chronicles the lives of two brothers, Nick and Terry Doyle, as they strive to move beyond the strictures of their working-class Charlestown neighborhood to" the city below." Though one brother is drawn to the worlds of politics and real estate and the other to the underworld of organized crime, their fates remain inextricably linked as each struggles to break free of the blood tie holding him captive to the past. As in his previous best-selling novels Mortal Friends and Family Trade, James Carroll seamlessly blends fiction and history to create a gripping tale of family bonds and ethnic violence, vows and betrayals, and political intrigue in the inner sanctums of both church and state.
In this "rare book that combines searing passion . . . with a subject that has affected all of our lives" (Chicago Tribune), the novelist and cultural critic James Carroll maps the two-thousand-year course of the Church's battle against Judaism and faces the crisis of faith it has sparked in his own life as a Catholic. "Fascinating, brave and sometimes infuriating" (Time), this dark history is more than a chronicle of religion. It is the central tragedy of Western civilization, its fault lines reaching deep into our culture. Drawing on his well-known talents as a storyteller and memoirist, Carroll has created "a deeply felt work, a book that measures the 'sweep of history' against [his] experience as a man of the church" (San Francisco Chronicle). A courageous and affecting reckoning with difficult truths that will touch every reader, "CONSTANTINE'S SWORD is a history written to change the way people live" (Talk).
Analysis of the relationship between Christianity and the persecution of the Jews throughout history.
Analyzes the war against Iraq within our history of war-making.
In House of War, the best-selling author James Carroll has created a history of the Pentagon that is both epic and personal. Through Carroll we see how the Pentagon, since its founding, has operated beyond the control of any force in government or society, undermining the very national security it is sworn to protect.From its "birth" on September 11, 1941, through the nuclear buildup of the Cold War and the eventual "shock and awe" of Iraq, Carroll recounts how "the Building" and its officials have achieved what President Eisenhower called "a disastrous rise of misplaced power."This is not faded history. House of War offers a compelling account of the virtues and follies that led America to permanently, and tragically, define itself around war. Carroll shows how the consequences of the American response to September 11, 2001 -- including two wars and an ignited Middle East -- form one end of an arc that stretches from Donald Rumsfeld back to James Forrestal, the first man to occupy the office of secretary of defense in the Pentagon. House of War confronts this dark past so we may understand the current war and forestall the next.
James Carroll's urgent, masterly Jerusalem, Jerusalem uncovers the ways in which the ancient city became a transcendent fantasy that ignites religious fervor unlike anywhere else on earth. That fervor animates American history as much as it does the Middle East, in the present as deeply as in the past. In Carroll's provocative reading of the deep past, the Bible came into being as an act of resistance to the violence that threatened Jerusalem from the start. Centuries later, holy wars burned apocalyptic Jerusalem into the Western mind, sparking expressly religious conflict among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The heat stretched from Richard the Lionheart to Field Marshal Edmund Allenby, whose World War I conquest of the city relit the fuse for a war that still rages. Carroll's brilliant leap is to show how, as Christopher Columbus was dispatched from the Crusades-obsessed Knights Templar's last outpost in Iberia, the New World too was powerfully shaped by the millennial obsessions of the City on a Hill -- from Governor Winthrop to Abraham Lincoln to Woodrow Wilson to Ronald Reagan. Heavenly Jerusalem defines the American imagination -- and always, the earthly city smolders. Jerusalem fever, inextricably tied to Christian fervor, is the deadly -- unnamed -- third party to the Israeli-Palestinian wars. Understanding Jerusalem fever is the key that unlocks world history, and the diagnosis that gives us our best chance to reimagine peace.
From the gangster-ridden politics of Depression-era Chicago to the intrigue and glamour of wartime Washington; from the triumph of virtue in the defeat of Hitler to the moral chaos of Vietnam; from inner-circle turf battles in the Pentagon to tear-gas conflict in the streets; from a man's inbred solitude to the story of an extraordinary love-- Memorial Bridge arcs across the pivotal decades of the twentieth century and spans the divisions of the American heart. Memorial Bridge is the story of Sean Dillon, who escapes from the rough world of the Chicago stockyards to become an agent in J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, and then rises to the very top of military intelligence on the eve of its greatest challenge -- and the nation's greatest failure. Dillon is an Irishman, a Catholic, a lawyer obsessed with justice, a man whose fierce integrity sets him apart even in his youth. As he advances, finally becoming an air force general charged with an impossible duty, he finds himself an outsider to everyone but Cass, the indomitable yet deeply feeling woman with whom he has built his life. She alone sees what his defiant adherence to principle is costing him. In the final, gripping chain of events, Dillon's deepest loyalties to family and country are tested during the Vietnam War, when he must confront not only the man he has become, but also his son, who opposes the war--and Dillon's role in it--with nothing less than the merciless conscience he has inherited from his father. Memorial Bridge is a rich, dramatic novel about one family's intimate and painful participation in America's coming of age, told with all the excitement and compassion we have come to expect from this master storyteller
A clear-eyed and personal examination of the Catholic faith, its leaders, and its complicated history by National Book Award-winner James Carroll James Carroll turns to the notion of practice--both as a way to learn and a means of improvement--as a lens for this thoughtful and frank look at what it means to be Catholic. He acknowledges the slow and steady transformation of the Church from its darker, medieval roots to a more pluralist and inclusive institution, charting along the way stories of powerful Catholic leaders (Pope John XXIII, Thomas Merton, John F. Kennedy) and historical milestones like Vatican II. These individuals and events represent progress for Carroll, a former priest, and as he considers the new meaning of belief in a world that is increasingly as secular as it is fundamentalist, he shows why the world needs a Church that is committed to faith and renewal.
Vietnam: bitterly contested on the American home front and on the battlefields of Southeast Asia. Risking his vows to the priesthood and his status as a Korean War hero, Michael Maguire struggles with God and country in this thrilling novel of faith, truth, and honor, "so rich and vital it leaves you breathless" (Chicago Tribune).
Secret Father is a suspenseful drama of family and politics set in Cold War Berlin. Missed signals, cloaked motives, false postures, and panicked responses echo tragically across borders and generations when, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a father and son recount the tense events of nearly thirty years before. In 1961, just before the Wall rises, three teenagers from an American school in West Germany travel to the Communist side of the divided city to join a rally. Unknown to them, their parents have unfinished business reaching back to World War II which will pull the teens into the vortex of an international incident.
Elaborating on "A Call for Vatican III" in his best-selling book Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews, James Carroll proposes a clear agenda for reform to help concerned Catholics understand the most essential issues facing their Church. He moves beyond current events to suggest new ways for Catholics to approach Scripture, Jesus, and power, and he looks at the daunting challenges facing the Church in a world of diverse beliefs and contentious religious fervor. His case for democracy within the Church illustrates why lay people have already initiated change. Carroll shows that all Catholics -- parishioners, priests, bishops, men and women -- have an equal stake in the Church's future.
An unprecedented gathering of the essential texts of the American antiwar tradition: from the Revolution to the war on terror, over 150 eloquent, provocative voices for peace. An unequalled military superpower responsible for the atomic bomb--involved, since its founding, in wars too numerous to list--the United States has also produced an astonishing antiwar literature. At every turn in our history, from the Revolution to the war on terror, a diverse chorus of voices has questioned and resisted both particular wars and justifications for war in general. They have begged, prayed, demanded, and in some instances suffered heroically to make an alternative case. Can we not imagine and hasten a world, they have asked, in which war is a thing of the barbaric past, and peace will prevail, this time and the next? War No More gathers the essays, letters, speeches, memoirs, poems, stories, and songs of over 150 writers spanning almost three centuries. It offers an unprecedented view of a powerful and perennially relevant American tradition, encompassing five-star generals, theologians, nuclear physicists, folk singers, signers of the declaration, quietists, anarchists, veterans, and Nobel laureates. Some have objected on the basis of conscience, inspired by Christian example or other faiths; some have been animated by parallel struggles against racism, capitalism, or the excessive power of the state; some have been moved by the loss of sons, daughters, or comrades, or their personal experience of war's horror. Collectively, they have confronted the proposition that war is inevitable, a necessary price of prosperity or liberty. Their challenge remains an open one, and their words ought to concern every American.From the Hardcover edition.
David Warburg, newly minted director of the U.S. War Refugee Board, arrives in Rome at war's end, determined to bring aid to the destitute European Jews streaming into the city. Marguerite d'Erasmo, a French-Italian Red Cross worker with a shadowed past, is initially Warburg's guide to a complicated Rome; while a charismatic young American Catholic priest, Monsignor Kevin Deane, seems equally committed to aiding Italian Jews. But the city is a labyrinth of desperate fugitives, runaway Nazis, Jewish resisters, and criminal Church figures. Marguerite, caught between justice and revenge, is forced to play a double game. At the center of the maze, Warburg discovers one of history's great scandals--the Vatican ratline, a clandestine escape route maintained by Church officials and providing scores of Nazi war criminals with secret passage to Argentina. Warburg's disillusionment is complete when, turning to American intelligence officials, he learns that the dark secret is not so secret, and that even those he trusts may betray him. James Carroll delivers an authoritative, stirring novel that reckons powerfully with the postwar complexities of good and evil in the Eternal City.