An American Requiem by James Carroll
God, My Father, and the War That Came Between Us

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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 life, his family's struggles, and the legacies of an entire generation.

About James Carroll

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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. A distinguished scholar- in-residence at Suffolk University, he is a columnist for the Boston Globe and a regular contributor to the Daily Beast. His critically admired books include Practicing Catholic, the National Book Award-winning An American Requiem, House of War, which won the first PEN/Galbraith Award, and the New York Times bestseller Constantine's Sword, now an acclaimed documentary.
Published April 1, 1997 by Mariner Books. 279 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War, Literature & Fiction, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

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Also, Carroll's lack of communication with his father, always a man of few words, forces him to speculate about the older man's emotions, just as he must speculate about what advice his father gave presidents on the war in Vietnam.

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Publishers Weekly

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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.

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USA Today

Although Carroll brings himself to speak admiringly of Kennedy and to a lesser degree, Truman, Eisenhower and Reagan, he sees the world through the prism of pacifism.The reader finishes House of War knowing about Carroll's conflicted family and his personal loathing of nuclear weapons.

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