An American Requiem: God, My Father & the War That Came Between Us

An American Requiem: God, My Father & the War That Came Between Us

James Carroll / May 26, 2020
An American Requiem God My Father the War That Came Between Us An American Requiem is the story of one man s coming of age But than that it is a coming to terms with the conflicts that disrupted many families inflicting personal wounds that were also social po
  • Title: An American Requiem: God, My Father & the War That Came Between Us
  • Author: James Carroll
  • ISBN: 9780395859933
  • Page: 423
  • Format: Paperback
  • An American Requiem is the story of one man s coming of age But 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 oAn American Requiem is the story of one man s coming of age But 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.
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    About "James Carroll"

      • James Carroll

        James Carroll was born in Chicago and raised in Washington, D.C He 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 and served as Catholic chaplain at Boston University Carroll left the priesthood to become a novelist and playwright He lives in Boston with his wife, the novelist Alexandra Marshall, and their two children.


    734 Comments

    1. James Carroll is a former priest, son of an air force general, and brother both to a draft resister and an FBI agent whose assignment was to track down draft resisters James left the priesthood, saddened and sickened by the war in Vietnam and perhaps subconsciously by his father s role in it This book is, in part, his reconciliation with God and his father maybe because, in some measure, they were one and the same His father was certainly James idol He put himself through law school while workin [...]


    2. James Carroll and I have a lot in common He is three years older than I, which is nothing now that we are in our 70s We have Catholicism in common, mine eschewed We have hatred of the Vietnam war in common I was married to an Air Force fighter pilot in the late 60s and early 70s He d been an accounting major at Notre Dame A trumpet player in the marching band and in a smaller group of talented musicians who played at dances Who knew this gentle man would turn into a killer I hated it, and we par [...]


    3. I read this book back to back with Kafka s LETTER TO HIS FATHER Both writers have fathers whose approval they spend their lives seeking, and from whom they are temperamentally and vocation wise incapable of pleasing Kafka says My writing was all about you Carroll might say the same Joe Carroll left the priesthood to marry Jim s mother, Mary He became an FBI agent and distinguished himself by capturing Roger Terrible Touhy, a Chicago gangster Through J Edgar Hoover s influence, Joe became a Gener [...]


    4. Excellent This highly readable book is not only interesting but very thought provoking Brought back a lot of memories and added dimension to other events from that time It sparked several serious discussions as well with my own daughter I m glad this book crossed my path I heartily recommend it to anyone interested in the Vietnam war and to book clubs that like very well written non fiction.


    5. I really loved this memoir I found it captivating I learned things about Catholicism in the 60s and the Vietnam War that I never knew I will be using excerpts of this book in class this year Most of all, it is a heartfelt story of a man who sought his father s love by taking on the vocation of priesthood in his father s place He finds that, just as his father before him, he cannot fulfill his vow His desire to do for his father what his father could not do is the central tension of the book His [...]


    6. More than any other book I ve read about the American war in Vietnam and the civic unrest of the Martin Luther King era, this book brought me to understand the personal impact of these events upon privileged white society Carroll s painful struggle to confront and reconcile his upbringing with the new political realities was honest and agonizing His father s high political office deepens the complexity of his struggle along with the pressures of being in the clergy I haven t read a lot about the [...]


    7. A fascinating and heart wrenching memoir about a Catholic family s journey through the Vietnam era Carroll tells the story of his journey from son of a conservative air force general FBI higher up and ordination by one of the Catholic Church s conservative archbishops, to antiwar activities Filled with photographs and powerful personal stories I loved it.


    8. Fantastic true storyJames Carroll lays bare his soul in a story that will allow you to feel and in a way share the emotional rollercoaster story of his life and his father.


    9. June 21, 2014A Review by Anthony T Riggio of James Carroll s book An American Requiem, God, My Father and the War that came between us.This book was originally published in 1996 and it was obtained through an , reseller as a used book I was interested in this book because the author was known to me indirectly through his brother Brian Carroll and having read Prince of Peace and the Sword of Constantine I enjoyed the author s style of writing and since this book appeared to me to be a memoir or a [...]


    10. The dynamics in the Carroll family make for interesting reading, on the scale of Homer or Shakespeare The memoir is interesting for some of the shared experiences Air Force life, including a stop in Wiesbaden and dad s two tours in Vietnam, along with theology studies But, the word scrupulosity comes to mind It was no news that I was a sinful human being A pointed sense of my own fallenness had been attached to my heels like a shadow since my brother, through some fault of mine, had contracted [...]


    11. You think you ve got pressure from the family James Carroll was caught in a web of expectations His father, Gen Joseph Carroll, left the seminary shortly before being ordained His mother wants one of her five sons to become a priest to get the family right with the church and God When his older brother becomes disabled, it is assumed that second son Carroll will enter seminary, which he does The family drama takes place as the nation goes through the great changes of the 1960 s, and Carroll beco [...]


    12. All of the agonizing issues of the 1960s Vietnam, the civil rights act, student activism, etc as perceived by a young man whose father was a high up in the Pentagon, and who became and then un became a Catholic priest A fascinating perspective, particularly now with Pope Francis emphasis on social justice issues, but a bit marred for me by occasions where the author s descriptions of his emotions felt a bit overwrought or melodramatic He s also a poet, which might explain it what works in poetry [...]


    13. Though my father was not a general or involved in making history, as James Carroll s father was, I still felt he was telling my story Perhaps its the overlap of years Carroll is a few years older than I am but I lived through many of the same historical events I remember telling my dad I was against the Vietnam War and had marched in a Peace demonstration He was horrified it was un American in his view to oppose the war Carroll tells a rich history of the many layers of turbulence in politics wi [...]


    14. This book was not as good as I d thought it might be, or as it could have been The subject matter was interesting, and occassionally the author s insights were fairly good, but overall it seemed very self serving and, at the same time, either naive or ignorant It was fascinating to see the interaction and dynamic in retrospect, but I think the author has still yet to fully acknowledge everything that happened or look at the events from a non biased perspective There were a lot of aspects of the [...]


    15. James Carroll s memoir detailing his transformation personal, religious, and political, and the effect it had on the relationship he had with his father I have to imagine it hurt to write this book he holds his father responsible for the deaths of millions due to his involvement in Vietnam, Carroll believes his own father was part of a fascist plot Carroll s words to discredit Martin Luther King, Jr But Caroll, sometimes self righteous to a fault, has written a beautiful book I do wonder, though [...]


    16. This is the memoir of a former American priest whose father was one of the generals responsible for the war in Vietnam Becoming a priest, initially, to satisfy his father s and mother s expectations, he became the sort of priest that was so opposite to what they had expected, involved in the anti war movement and part of the general freeing up of that period of the church.This is a story about a spoiled kid who accepted what he was told, fulfilled his family expectations and gradually started to [...]


    17. I was a child during the Vietnam War I was too young to learn about it in school or understand what happening in our country So much of this story was news to me It is an amazing story about the desire to have your parent s love finding your true self our country and the Catholic Church Really a great story I think the author is a great story teller at times I wanted story and less of a history lesson The final chapters are wonderful All and all I will remember this story for years to come.


    18. This book is the story of the relationship between James Carroll, an anti war priest who later leaves the priesthood and his father, a high ranking officer in the armed forces It is one of the most honest stories that I have ever read about one s journey of theological education and the way it changes most of the aspects of one s life, including how one understands and deals with, their family My favorite sentence Seminary was an incubator of my own personal and unwanted revolution.


    19. This is an interesting historic fiction about the Catholics, Politics, the Capital and the Church, as well as the Military OK, but just OK The priest, then not a priest father, then the curse, and the priest then not a priest son, catholic guilt, the rise of a man to 2 star general in the armed forces from a civilian never having been in the armed forces all interesting.The surprise that during Vietnam we considered, always using the nuke as an option That was unknown to the American people Than [...]


    20. A poignant narrative A rare oppurtunity to have our point of view from the son of a powerful man, who himself has dabbled in many places of the world James Carroll s conflict is that of being the type of person who could address it, his vision is that of having identified it With clean and introspective prose, Carroll seems to have told it as it is, and not how he wished for it to have been The inside scoop we get from both the father and son s status could have easily bogged this book down with [...]


    21. I loved this book If you want to know about what it was like in America during the Vietnam War, it is packed into this book If you want to understand Catholicism better its politics and what it can be for people, what it doesn t have to be there are some lapsed Catholics in my own family history, so I m fascinated , you will learn a lot I m amazed at how much I learned in 279 pages I think this should be required reading for every seminarian of every denomination, especially in the DC area.


    22. A book bogged down by people and places that are not for my generation It felt like a textbook at times The story is worthwhile to read just difficult for someone who was not around during the Vietnam War and can t feel the atmosphere that surrounded the war to get into it Yes there is a war going on now but the atmosphere is far far differnt, from what I have read, heard and seen This book has so much tos ay that it can t develope that atmosphere to well.


    23. I finally finished my father in law s Vietnam reading list he gave me with An American Requiem God, My Father, and the War that Came Between Us by James Carroll Carroll was the son of a general tasked with picking targets for American bombs in Vietnam While his father was making important decisions about the war, Carroll was becoming a priest and a peace activist This was an insightful look at the strain the war put on a family and the obligations we feel to God, our country and our family.


    24. A touching autobiography about growing up in the fifties and sixties in the shadow of the bomb and surviving the turmoil of the civil rights Vietnam war era from someone who was right in the midst of the struggles At the same time one man s search for his own mission in life and his troubled relationship with his father and his church Smoothly written with extensive retrospective insights into the dynamics of personal growth and the challenges of being a parent child.


    25. Fascinating account of a father son drama, which felt almost fictitious, but clearly is not The writing is really intelligent and the emotion is deliberate when present Part of the book reads like a non fiction account of the era, and part of it reads like a how to book I really enjoyed the history, and found the bonding, or lack there of part to be interesting, but not the draw.


    26. If you lived through the Vietnam War era, then you might also be touched by this book which reminds the reader of how our country, our leaders, and especially our family members who were divided in their opinions about this war James Carroll tried oh, so very hard, to carry the world on his shoulders.


    27. Wonderfully told autobio and how dificult it can be to leave home Really moving And did you know that Klaus Fuchs, who gave the Russians atom secrets, received 7 years in jail and was then deported to Russia Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were relative minors in the transactions received the death penalty.


    28. 4.5 stars.Very good father son biography Dad is a general in the Air Force during the Vietnam War and at the same time period the son becomes a priest The son idolized his dad but due to conflicts over the war the father son relationship is ruined The son really became a priest for his Dad and later ends up leaving the priesthood.


    29. American Requiem I consider one of the best accounts of family life in the 60s told against the backdrop of the Viet Nam War, Civil Rights, and the political and social upheaval of these times It is though a poignant story of a son s search for self and identiy through his father s rejection and coming to terms with the limited possibilities of their reconciliation.


    30. I just couldn t get into this book.ybe it is the way he writes it or somethingemed to go in and out a lot about what he wants to say.I just got to where I was skimming through and still had not found something to grasp my attention I got bored with itrry got good ratingsbut not a book for me.


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