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James Carroll Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

An American Requiem (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Constantine's Sword (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Toward a New Catholic Church (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Crusade (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
House of War (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Practicing Catholic (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Jerusalem, Jerusalem (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Christ Actually (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Village Vets (With: Anthony Bennett) (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Calving Straps and Zombie Cats (With: Anthony Bennett) (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Truth at the Heart of the Lie (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Ploughshares Fall 1989(1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Post-Holocaust Jewish–Christian Dialogue: After the Flood, before the Rainbow(2014)Description / Buy at Amazon

James Carroll is an American Author born in 1943, and whose writings have primarily drawn upon his experience as a Roman Catholic priest.


James Carroll was the second son among five boys. His father, Joseph Carroll, built a career in the military, eventually becoming an Air Force general. Joseph would eventually leave the military behind to become an FBI agent, though he retained his previous connections, returning to become a US Air Force intelligence officer in 1948.

Part of James Carroll’s childhood was spent in Germany, though he also saw a lot of Washington, D.C. He attended schools in both Germany and Washington.

It was in places like Georgetown University and St. Paul’s College that he received his Bachelor and Masters degrees. At some point, he also went to Paulist Father’s Seminary.

The reason James Carroll has written so much about religion and its place in the world is because of the time he spent as a catholic priest, starting down his path in this arena in 1969 when he was finally ordained as a priest.

His first novel (Madonna Red) wasn’t published until 1976. This was after left the priesthood in 1974. Carroll went on to have his works released in a variety of publications from The New Yorker to the Boston Globe.

His love for poetry was sparked when he studied the subject with George Starbuck. James Carroll was availed a number of opportunities to put his literary skills to the test. He worked as a columnist for the National Catholic reporter in the early 1970s.

The quality of his literary efforts is such that he earned numerous accolades over his lengthy career, this including receiving the first Thomas Merton Award and being named Best Columnist by the Catholic press Association.

He has also won the National Book Award for Nonfiction and the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for nonfiction, not to mention the Melcher Book award and National Jewish Book Award.

James Carroll’s works on religion have attracted acclaim as well as criticism, with some individuals attacking him for what they perceived to be unwarranted attacks against the New Testament.

James Carroll and novelist Alexandra Marshall were married in 1977. They have two children.

Besides his books, articles, and poems, Carroll has also written plays.

+Prince of Peace

Vietnam is a source of controversy and conflict, contested not only on the battlefields of Southeast Asia but on the American home front as well. Michael Maguire is a Korean War Hero that risks his priesthood and status as he struggles with his idea of God and the faith he has been educated to have in his country.

People have a penchant for calling every book they encounter a page turner these days; however, this book definitely deserves that description. And that is a good thing because it is a relatively long read.

The book is set in a time of immense loss of life, where many people found that they couldn’t maintain their faith in the nobility of their country or even the church. One can trust Carroll to immerse readers in this sad and powerful story because he was a former priest and, thus, can understand the struggles of faith.

The characters are well-rounded and perfectly fleshed out, their stories told from a variety of dimensions. The protagonist of the story is placed in a difficult situation where the atrocities playing out before him inevitably challenge everything he thought he understood.

The book is written like a memoir and James Carroll proves particularly effective at painting the culture and environment of the era. Despite his past as a priest, Carroll doesn’t shy away from exploring the role the Catholic Church played in pushing the United States to enter the conflict in Vietnam.

Carroll doesn’t claim to know more than most about the conflict, instead delivering a speculative view of events. From the book, it is easy to glean the love Carroll has for the church and his country, this despite showing no interest in absolving them of their role in the atrocities of the Vietnam War.

Despite feeling a little scattered, especially in the way it presents some of the historical data, the book comes together to deliver an interesting story.

+Mortal Friends

This James Carroll book unravels the saga of Colman Brady, an Irish Revolutionary whose escapades stretch from Irish Rebellion of the 1920s all the way to Boston during the reign of Mayor James Michael Curley. Colman Brady makes a lot of decisions and choices, good and bad, which heavily impact the direction of his life and those people that he meets.

James Carroll uses this novel to prove his masterful ability to describe three-dimensional relationships between well-rounded characters. With accuracy and fluidity, Carroll brings this novel about Irish Immigration to life.

He handles the political elements with tact, delivering intrigue even while providing education information about figures like Kennedy. The book is extensive in the way it covers three generations of individuals who struggle through endless waves of hate in an attempt to find a light at the end of the tunnel.

Carroll’s characters are very flawed, and sometimes it is a little difficult to sympathize with them considering all the bad decisions they make to elicit the negative outcomes in their lives.

But that is what makes this dramatic story so interesting to read. Carroll weaves everything from the Church to organized crime and Harvard into this book which is surprisingly engrossing, even for readers with little to no interest in historical fiction.

Admittedly, Carroll’s story gets a little too heavy in some places. Some readers have been known to complain about the hefty page count. Others think the voluminous nature of the book is more than justified considering the gems that are hidden within Carroll’s story.

The author immerses readers into one of the most difficult times in the history of the United States. His characters are strong yet frail as they struggle against destiny and their own foolishness, forcing you to grieve for them and with them during sorrowful times even while cheering with them when they encounter triumphs.

As far as historical fiction goes, this one stands apart because it avoids lecturing readers, instead focusing on telling a decent story.

Book Series In Order » Authors » James Carroll

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