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James Carroll
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James Carroll was born in Chicago in 1943, and raised in Washington where his father, an Air Force general, served as the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Carroll attended Georgetown University before entering the seminary to train for the Catholic priesthood. He received BA and MA degrees from St. Paul’s College, the Paulist Fathers’ seminary in Washington, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1969. Carroll served as Catholic Chaplain at Boston University from 1969 to 1974 and then left the priesthood to become a writer.

In 1974 Carroll was Playwright-in-Residence at the Berkshire Theater Festival in Stockbridge, MA. In 1976 he published his first novel, Madonna Red, which was translated into seven languages. Since then he has published nine additional novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Mortal Friends (1978), Family Trade (1982), and Prince of Peace (1984). His novels The City Below (1994) and Secret Father (2003) were named Notable Books of the Year by the New York Times. Carroll’s essays and articles have appeared in The New Yorker, Daedalus, and other publications. His op-ed page column has run weekly in the Boston Globe since 1992.

Carroll’s memoir, An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War that Came Between Us, received the 1996 National Book Award in nonfiction and other awards. His book Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews: A History, published in 2001, was a New York Times bestseller and was honored as one of the Best Books of 2001 by the Los Angeles Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and others. It was named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times, and won the Melcher Book Award, the James Parks Morton Interfaith Award, and the National Jewish Book Award in History. A feature-length documentary film based on Constantine’s Sword, directed by Oscar-nominated Oren Jacoby, was named a “Critic’s Pick” by The New York Times and Best Documentary of 2008 by Film Comment.

In 2002, Carroll published Toward A New Catholic Church: The Promise of Reform, and, in 2004, Crusade: Chronicles of an Unjust War. In 2006, he published House of War: The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power, which the Chicago Tribune called “the first great non-fiction book of the new millennium.” Among its honors is the first PEN-John Kenneth Galbraith award. In 2008, he published Practicing Catholic, advancing Catholic reform. Carroll received the 2009 Press for Peace Award from The American Friends of Peace Now, the Israeli peace group. He has been a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Values in Public Life at the Harvard Divinity School, and the Richman Distinguished Visiting Professor at Brandeis. He is a trustee of the Boston Public Library, a member of the Dean’s Council at the Harvard Divinity School, and an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Carroll holds honorary degrees from, among others, the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, Suffolk University, Brandeis University, and Claremont Graduate University. He is currently an Associate of the Humanities Center of Harvard University and Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Suffolk University.

James Carroll lives in Boston with his wife, the novelist Alexandra Marshall. They have two grown children.

* Photograph by Patricia Pingree