Reviews

Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

An Air Force general's son, priest, and battle-scarred veteran of the antiwar movement (The City Below, LJ 4/15/94) offers an personal view of a historic time. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Carroll, a novelist (City Below, LJ 4/15/94) and Boston Globe columnist, presents an absorbing account of his youth and early adulthood in a family dominated by a strong-willed father, a country embroiled in a war in Vietnam, and a Roman Catholic faith caught up in the stress of reinventing itself through the Vatican II reforms. The tense relationship between father and son sets the stage for young James's equally difficult attempts to define himself as an American and as a Catholic priest. Carroll's description of his conflicts over Vietnam with his father (an FBI agent who subsequently became the founder of the Defense Intelligence Agency) will stand as an accurate reflection of family turmoil for countless readers who grew to maturity in the 1960s. Carroll offers a fascinating perspective on generational differences and the enormous challenges each young person faces when choosing a world view at odds with that of his or her parents. An exceptionally well-written work that is effective on many levels; highly recommended for academic and public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/96.]‘John R. Vallely, Siena Coll. Lib., Loudonville, N.Y. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

In this stunning memoir, the author attempts to determine how his daddy, his worshiped "Abba," became simply "dad." Both father and son were former priests who left the seminary to inhabit very different worlds. James grew up in the heady world of Washington's military and political elite while his father was a commissioned air force general and founding director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, which determined bombing targets in Vietnam. James became a Paulist priest and war protester whose idols included Martin Luther King Jr., Hans Kung, Eugene McCarthy, and the Berrigan brothers. His father was enraged when James referred to napalm during the homily of his first Mass. The wedge between them would never dislodge, but the general later felt the failure of Vietnam as a personal one. James eventually abandoned his vocation, married, and accepted writing as his saving grace. When his broken father descended into senility, James accepted that the next best thing to reconciliation was his dad's inability to recognize him. Victory had become meaningless; both had lost the war between them. This is a magnificent portrayal of two noble men who broke each other's hearts. --Patricia Hassler


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. His father was an Air Force general who won his stars by being one of the bright lights of the FBI-and a favorite of J. Edgar Hoover-rather than by working his way up through the military. One of Carroll's four brothers dodged the draft in Canada, another was an FBI agent ferreting out draft dodgers and he himself-a former ROTC Cadet of the Year at Georgetown-became an "antiwar" chaplain at Boston University who demonstrated in the streets but ducked the cameras for fear his father might recognize him. Carroll was earmarked from birth to be a priest (his father had trained for the priesthood but dropped out just before ordination) and received personal encouragement from Pope John XXIII and Cardinal Spellman, a family friend. Carroll's heroes evolved from Elvis to Pope John to Martin Luther King, rebel theologian Hans Kung, poet Allen Tate (his mentor) and Eugene McCarthy-most of whom his father considered enemies. After much personal struggle, Carroll left the priesthood, married and became a father, but the break with his own father was never repaired. At once heartbreaking and heroic, this is autobiography at its best. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved