Synopses & Reviews
From the National Book Awardand#150;winning author of An American Requiem and Constantine's Sword comes a sweeping yet intimate look at the Pentagon and its vast and#151; often hidden and#151; impact on America.
This landmark, myth-shattering work chronicles the most powerful institution in America, the people who created it, and the pathologies it has spawned. James Carroll proves a controversial thesis: the Pentagon has, since its founding, operated beyond the control of any force in government or society. It is the biggest, loosest cannon in American history, and no institution has changed this country more. To argue his case, he marshals a trove of often chilling evidence. He recounts how "the Building" and its denizens achieved what Eisenhower called "a disastrous rise of misplaced power" and#151; from the unprecedented aerial bombing of Germany and Japan during World War II to the "shock and awe" of Iraq. He charts the colossal U.S. nuclear buildup, which far outpaced that of the USSR, and has outlived it. He reveals how consistently the Building has found new enemies just as old threats and#151; and funding and#151; evaporate. He demonstrates how Pentagon policy brought about U.S. indifference to an epidemic of genocide during the 1990s. And he shows how the forces that attacked the Pentagon on 9/11 were set in motion exactly sixty years earlier, on September 11, 1941, when ground was broken for the house of war.
Carroll draws on rich personal experience (his father was a top Pentagon official for more than twenty years) as well as exhaustive research and dozens of extensive interviews with Washington insiders. The result is a grand yet intimate work of history, unashamedly polemical and personal but unerringly factual. With a breadth and focus that no other book could muster, it explains what America has become over the past sixty years.
"'Oh, Jerusalem, how often have I wept for you!' laments the psalmist. And well we should weep. For millennia, Jerusalem has been the meeting point of religion and culture, traditionalism and modernity, and the apparently inevitable violence that erupts over a particular faith's exclusive claim to the city. Carroll, author of the critically acclaimed Constantine's Sword, has given us one of the broadest and most balanced accounts in recent years of the city of King David one centered on the concept of 'sacred violence' as a path to redemption, a vision long engendered by Jerusalem and all that it represents. But he has another agenda to analyze and interpret the intersections of history, theology, philosophy, and popular culture in a way that offers hope of an emerging religion that 'celebrate life, not death.' Given the long history of violence and death surrounding both the physical Jerusalem and the 'imagined' city (e.g., America as a 'city on a hill'), is this even possible? The former Catholic priest remains optimistic that humanity will find a way to resolve the conflicts that are so much a part of its story. Conceptually profound, richly detailed, and wonderfully realized, this book brings to life the dynamic story of the divided city. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
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's peace with his father--were ruined, yet another casualty of a war that tore apart so many families along generational lines.
From a National Book Award-winning and bestselling author, James Carroll's examination and explaination of why he is till a practicing catholic, set against the history of the Catholic Church in America and the sometimes glorious, sometimes discouraging actions of its leaders.
Practicing Catholic is a personal history of the American Catholic Church during James Carrolls lifetime. It traces the transformation of a medieval institution suspicious of American ideas of freedom and democracy into a church that has begun to embrace basic American principles of pluralism and respect for conscience. The book tells the story of heroes (Pope John xxiii, Thomas Merton, Cardinal Richard Cushing, William Sloane Coffin), and great events (Vatican ii, the Kennedys, the end of the Cold War). Considering the new meaning of belief in a secular world, it stands against the fundamentalisms of “neo-athetists” as well as of born again Christians. The book shows how and why the world needs a renewed, rational, vital Catholic Church. All of this is centered in the life-long journey of its author, who embraced the priesthood in his youth, but who finds in the writing life a renewal of religious belief. For James Carroll faith is a practice-- like all practice, it aims at getting better.
is an eye-opening prism through which the ancient cityboth actual place and incendiary fantasyis seen anew.
First, in a probing journey through prehistory, Carroll excavates the deepest origins of sacred violence and human sacrifice, revealing how both had early sanctuary in Jerusalem. In Carroll's provocative reading, the Bible, for all its brutality, evolved as an act of resistance against the deep violence that threatened Jerusalem from the start. Tracing the richly intertwined threads of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim history, Carroll illuminates the mounting European fantasy of a heavenly Jerusalem as the spark that enflamed the holy wars of the Knights Templar. His brilliant and original leap is to show how, as Christopher Columbus carried his Jerusalem-centric world view to the West, America too was powerfully shaped by the apocalyptic fantasy of the City on the Hillfrom Governor Winthrop to Abraham Lincoln to Woodrow Wilson to Ronald Reagan. Finally, Carroll reveals how this long fixation, meshing with anti-Semitism and anti-Arab colonialism both, is the essential but unnamed third party to Israeli-Palestinian conflict over Jerusalem today. Once again, a "rare book that combines searing passion . . . with a subject that has affected all our lives" (Chicago Tribune).
James Carrolls urgent, masterly Jerusalem, Jerusalem
uncovers the ways in which the ancient city became, unlike any other in the world—reaching deep into our contemporary lives—an incendiary fantasy of a city.
In Carrolls provocative reading of the deep past, the Bibles brutality responded to the violence that threatened Jerusalem from the start. Centuries later, the mounting European fixation on a heavenly Jerusalem sparked both anti-Semitism and racist colonial contempt. The holy wars of the Knights Templar burned apocalyptic mayhem into the Western mind. Carrolls brilliant and original leap is to show how, as Christopher Columbus carried his own Jerusalemcentric worldview to the West, America too was powerfully shaped by the dream of the City on a Hill—from Governor Winthrop to Abraham Lincoln to Woodrow Wilson to Ronald Reagan. The nuclear brinksmanship of the 1973 Yom Kippur War helps prove his point: religion and violence fuel each other, with Jerusalem the ground zero of the heat.
To the standard set by Constantines Sword, Jerusalem, Jerusalem is again a “rare book that combines searing passion . . . with a subject that has affected all our lives” (Chicago Tribune).
In a bold and moving book that is sure to spark heated debate, the novelist and cultural critic James Carroll maps the profoundly troubling two-thousand-year course of the Churchand#8217;s battle against Judaism and faces the crisis of faith it has provoked in his own life as a Catholic. More than a chronicle of religion, this dark history is the central tragedy of Western civilization, its fault lines reaching deep into our culture.
The Churchand#8217;s failure to protest the Holocaust and#151; the infamous and#147;silenceand#8221; of Pius XII and#151; is only part of the story: the death camps, Carroll shows, are the culmination of a long, entrenched tradition of anti-Judaism. From Gospel accounts of the death of Jesus on the cross, to Constantineand#8217;s transformation of the cross into a sword, to the rise of blood libels, scapegoating, and modern anti-Semitism, Carroll reconstructs the dramatic story of the Churchand#8217;s conflict not only with Jews but with itself. Yet in tracing the arc of this narrative, he implicitly affirms that it did not necessarily have to be so. There were roads not taken, heroes forgotten; new roads can be taken yet. Demanding that the Church finally face this past in full, Carroll calls for a fundamental rethinking of the deepest questions of Christian faith. Only then can Christians, Jews, and all who carry the burden of this history begin to forge a new future.
Drawing on his well-known talents as a storyteller and memoirist, and weaving historical research through an intensely personal examination of conscience, Carroll has created a work of singular power and urgency. CONSTANTINE'S SWORD is a brave and affecting reckoning with difficult truths that will touch every reader.
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 -and#150; including two wars and an ignited Middle East -and#150; 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.
At a time when millions of Catholics are questioning the deepest aspects of their faith, James Carroll delivers a tour de force, a searching book about what it means to be a Catholic today. Brilliantly wresting meaning from the historical, social, and religious strands of his personal story, Carroll delivers a loving critique of the Church and offers an incisive vision for renewal. He vividly brings to life the people and events that have shaped American Catholicismfrom JFK and Cardinal Richard Cushing to the Second Vatican Council and the ascendancy of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the papacy. Catholics and lapsed Catholics alike will recognize their own stories in Carrolls reflections on his religious upbringing and his journey to discover a new Catholic identity. Practicing Catholiccreates space for the millions of practicing, questioning, or doubting Catholics who are looking for a way to reconcile the acts of Church leaders with the faith and the Church they still want to claim as their own.
From the author of the New York Times best-selling Constantine's Sword comes a richly layered history, fueled by powerful insight, of the ancient city at the epicenter of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim experience.
James Carrolls 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 Carrolls 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. Carrolls brilliant leap is to show how, as Christopher Columbus was dispatched from the Crusades-obsessed Knights Templars 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.
Praise for Jerusalem, Jerusalem
"What a remarkable book! I was blown away by the breadth and depth of it. Another hugely important book from James Carroll, right there with Constantines Sword." — Reza Aslan, author of No god but God "A gripping account of how Jerusalem has fired the spiritual imagination of the West from Biblical times to the present — and a deeply personal meditation on the religious impulse itself, and its dark double, sacred violence. More than a rebuke to jihadists and religious extremists, this book challenges secularists who believe that, for modern Western societies, wars of religion are a thing of the past." — Michael Sandel, author of Justice: Whats the Right Thing To Do? "I dare you to read this book and see Jerusalem, or yourself, the same way." — Bernard Avishai, author of The Hebrew Republic "James Carrolls Jerusalem, Jerusalem should be required reading for all: it is a lucid, calm, deeply compelling history of the literal and symbolic significance of that city, at the heart and origins of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Marshaling an extraordinary range of sources, Carroll illuminates the interwoven violence and redemption that define Jerusalem in the world entire, up to this day." — Claire Messud, author of The Emperors Children
“Provocative . . . the book brims with splendid insights.” — Los Angeles Times
Jerusalem: the ancient City on a Hill, a place central to three major religions, a transcendent fantasy that ignites religious fervor unlike anywhere else on earth. James Carrolls urgent, masterly Jerusalem, Jerusalem uncovers the history of the city and explores how it came to define culture in both the Middle East and America.
Carroll shows how the New World was shaped by obsessions with Jerusalem, from Christopher Columbuss search for a westward route to the city, to the fascination felt by American presidents from Abraham Lincoln 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 this fever is the key that unlocks world history, and the diagnosis that gives us our best chance to reimagine peace.
“I dare you to read this book and see Jerusalem, or yourself, the same way.” — Bernard Avishai, author of The Hebrew Republic
"So provocative and illuminating that it should not be overlooked by anyone who cares about the future of Jerusalem." — Jewish Journal
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.
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.
About the Author
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 Churchs 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).James Carroll was raised in Washington, D.C., and ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1969. He served as a chaplain at Boston University from 1969 to 1974, then left the priesthood to become a writer. His New York Times Bestseller Constantine's Sword is now the subject of an acclaimed documentary, directed by Oren Jacoby and distributed nationally by First Run Features and Red Envelope Entertainment.
Table of Contents
Prologue and#149; xi The Invisible Boy
One: ONE WEEK IN 1943 and#149; 1 Helland#8217;s Bottom. Unconditional Surrender. Operation Pointblank. LeMay.
The Whiz Kid. Leslie Groves Does It All. The Other September 11s
Two: THE ABSOLUTE WEAPON and#149; 40 Trumanand#8217;s and#147;Decision.and#8221; Stimsonand#8217;s Defense. Not Japan, but Moscow?
Atomic Forgetfulness. Grovesand#8217;s Toboggan. The Second Coming in Wrath.
The Hamburg Threshold. After Dresden. The Babe Ruth of Bombers.
Born in Original Sin
Three: THE COLD WAR BEGINS and#149; 103 Tendered a Commission. Stimsonand#8217;s September 11. Forrestal Agonistes.
Kennanand#8217;s Mistake. Foundational Paranoia.War Inside the Pentagon.
Blockade and the Birth of the Air Force. The Russians Are Coming.
Navy Versus Air Force. That Cop
Four: SELF-FULFILLING PARANOIA and#149; 161 Stalinand#8217;s Teeth. No to the Hydrogen Bomb. Nitze to the Rescue. Forrestaland#8217;s Ghost: NSC-68. Korea Saved Us. Trumanand#8217;s Other Decision. The Test. Duck and Cover.Massive Retaliation. The Missed Opportunity. Defense Intellectuals. Operation Top Hat. The Gaither Report: Nitze Again
Five: THE TURNING POINT and#149; 227 Life of the Pentagon. A Lark in Berlin. There Will Be War. Head to Richmond. Let Both Sides. The Need for New Intelligence.McNamara and LeMay. All-Out Spasm Attack. The Kaysen Memos. Edge of the Abyss. At American University.Why We Love Him
Six: THE EXORCISM and#149; 293 Present at the Destruction. LeMay to the Absurd. Errors of the Mind.
Great White Whale.McNamaraand#8217;s Endgame. From Disarmament to Arms Control. The Berrigan Brothers. Enter the ABM, Reenter Nitze. Nixon and Laird. Knockout Blow. Bombing the Pentagon? Not with a Bang
Seven: UPSTREAM and#149; 345 Nuclear Priesthood. The Madman Theory. The Schlesinger Doctrine.
Enter Rumsfeld and Cheney. Jimmy Carterand#8217;s Question. The Frozen Smile. The People Are Heard. Be Not Afraid.We Win, You Lose, Sign Here. The Freeze. The Abolitionist. Sanctuary. Enter Gorbachev.
Answer to Forrestal
Eight: UNENDING WAR and#149; 418 Into Plowshares. Back to Stimson. Operation Just Cause. Fooland#8217;s Game.
New World Order. The Chinese Word. Goldwater-Nichols. The Immigrantand#8217;s Son. Clintonand#8217;s Honor. Gays in the Military. The Real Contrast with Truman. The Nuclear Posture Review. The Balkan Wars.
Apostolic Succession. September 11, 2001
Epilogue: NEW WORLD ORDER and#149; 491 National Memory. The Normalization of War. Instant Replay. National Security? Revenge. I Have a Dream
Acknowledgments and#149; 515 Notes and#149; 518 Bibliography and#149; 609 Index and#149; 623