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An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War That Came Between Usby James Carroll
Synopses & Reviews
Joe Carroll was an Air Force lieutenant general who chose Vietnamese targets for American bombs. Joe's son James began adulthood by fulfilling his father's abandoned dream of joining the priesthood. But soon a father's hopes for his son — and a son't peace with his father — were ruined, yet another casualty of a war that changed America forever. This book tells the story of one family — and of many families.
"Carroll, a novelist (Family Trade), poet and former priest, has written a moving memoir of the effect of the Vietnam War on his family that is at once personal and the story of a generation....At once heartbreaking and heroic, this is autobiography at its best." Publishers Weekly
"An exceptionally well-written work that is effective on many levels; highly recommended for academic and public libraries." John R. Vallely, Library Journal
"I cannot recall being more touched by a book about a real family since John Gunther's Death Be Not Proud." Washington Post, Stephen S. Rosenfeld
"In the more straightforward sense of the subtitle's meaning, the book is about how Vietnam came between the author and God on the one hand and between the author and his father on the other....[I]n writing this bleak, tortured confession Mr. Carroll finally achieves a degree of reconciliation. And in telling the story of the sundering he cuts to the bone of our troubled times." Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times Book Review
"In this stunning memoir, the author attempts to determine how his daddy, his worshiped 'Abba,' became simply 'dad.'...a magnificent portrayal of two noble men who broke each other's hearts." Patricia Hassler, Booklist
"A fresh retelling of old stories about a son's struggles with his father and his God, and a memoir that may help put more demons to rest for others of the '60s generation." Kirkus Reviews
"A tragic, moving book about a family torn apart by the Vietnam War, a young man looking for God, a writer finding his voice." Boston Magazine
"It is the experience of that time as personally painful but ultimately liberating that informs the novelist James Carroll's memoir...As a coming-of-age story, this is a sad one, evoking a profound sense of familial loss." New York Times Book Review
"The dry bones of their relationship could not live. But in writing this bleak, tortured confession Mr. Carroll finally achieves a degree of reconciliation. And in telling the story of the sundering he cuts to the bone of our troubled times." New York Times
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 life, his family's struggles, and the legacies of an entire generation.
targets for American bombs. Joe's son, James, began adulthood by fulfilling his father's abandoned dream of joining the priesthood. But soon a father's hopes for his son--and a son's peace with his father--were ruined, when James chose to protest the war and all it stood for. Winner of the National Book Award. 18 photos.
About the Author
James Carroll was born in Chicago in 1943 and raised in Washington, D.C., where his father was an Air Force general and the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He was educated at Washington"s Priory School and at an American high school in Wiesbaden, Germany. He attended Georgetown University before entering St. Paul"s College, the Paulist Fathers"seminary, where he received his B.A. and M.A. degrees. Carroll has been a civil rights worker, an antiwar activist, and a community organizer in Washington and New York. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1969. Carroll served as Catholic chaplain at Boston University from 1969 to 1974. During that time, he studied poetry with George Starbuck and published books on religious subjects and a book of poems. He was also a columnist for the National Catholic Reporter (1972-1975) and was named Best Columnist by the Catholic Press Association. For his writing on religion and politics he received the first Thomas Merton Award from Pittsburgh"s Thomas Merton Center in 1972. Carroll left the priesthood to become a writer, and in 1974 was a playwright-in-residence at the Berkshire Theater Festival. His plays have been produced at the BTF and at Boston"s Next Move Theater. In 1976 he published his first novel, MADONNA RED, which was followed by--among others--MORTAL FRIENDS (1978), PRINCE OF PEACE (1984), and MEMORIAL BRIDGE (1991). THE CITY BELOW (1994) is now available in a Houghton Mifflin trade-paperback edition. He has written for numerous publications, including THE NEW YORKER, and his op-ed column appears weekly in the BOSTON GLOBE. He won a National Book Award for AN AMERICAN REQUIEM. James Carroll lives in Boston with his wife, the novelist Alexandra Marshall, and their two children.
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