James Carroll

James Carroll

James Carroll, a TomDispatch regular and former Boston Globe columnist, is the author of 20 books, including the new novel The Cloister (Doubleday). Among other works are: House of War: The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power and Christ Actually: The Son of God for the Secular Age. His memoir, An American Requiem, won the National Book Award. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He lives in Boston with his wife, the writer Alexandra Marshall.

 

Articles by this author

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005
If Kennan Had Prevailed
The death last week of George F. Kennan concentrates the mind. The great American statesman was 101 years old. His longevity was second to his influence, though, and a chorus saluted him as the father of ''containment," the foundational idea of US Cold War thinking. But Kennan always insisted that his famous formulations -- the Long Telegram and the ''Mister X" article -- were misunderstood. His warnings about Soviet intentions and ideology, he said, were meant as a call to political action, not military build-up.
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Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Train Wreck of an Election
In thinking about the election in Iraq, my mind keeps jumping back to last week's train wreck in California. A deranged man, intending suicide, drove his Jeep Cherokee onto the railroad tracks, where it got stuck. The onrushing train drew near. The man suddenly left his vehicle and leapt out of the way. He watched as the train crashed into his SUV, derailed, jackknifed, and hit another train. Railroad cars crumbled. Eleven people were killed and nearly 200 were injured, some gravely. The deranged man was arrested.
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Tuesday, January 04, 2005
The Road Back
"There was once a man in the land of Uz called Job: a sound and honest man who feared God and shunned evil. Seven sons and three daughters were born to him." So begins the famous meditation on the mystery of suffering. Has it ever seemed so current?
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Tuesday, December 28, 2004
A Year of Living Dangerously
The turning of the year is one of the great markers. Time runs out on one period and begins anew on a next one. Memory and anticipation meet.
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Tuesday, December 21, 2004
The Politics of the Christmas Story
The single most important fact about the birth of Jesus, as recounted in the Gospels, is one that receives almost no emphasis in the American festival of Christmas. The child who was born in Bethlehem represented a drastic political challenge to the imperial power of Rome. The nativity story is told to make the point that Rome is the enemy of God, and in Jesus, Rome's day is over.
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Tuesday, December 14, 2004
God's Clock
Once a week or so, I come downstairs in the morning to find that the three weights of the grandfather clock in the living room have fallen to the bottom of the oaken cabinet. To keep the clock going, they must be lifted on their chains. I dutifully open the glass-fronted door and grasp each brass cylinder, pulling down on the chain as I bring the weight up -- first one, then another, then the other. I close the door carefully, waiting for its fitted snap.
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Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Afraid To Look in the Moral Abyss
Why don't we Americans look directly at the war? We avert our gaze, knowing that the situation in Iraq grows more desperate by the day. Vaunted "coalition" efforts to "break the back" of the "insurgency" have only strengthened it. The violence among Iraqis would surely qualify as civil war -- except that only one side is fighting. The structures of relief and repair are gone. Whole cities are destroyed, populations displaced. The hope of Iraqi elections is mortally compromised.
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Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Ukraine's Scream
In Askold Melnyczuk's novel " Ambassador of the Dead ," a Ukrainian-American boy is confronted every year with teachers who tell him his ancestral land does not exist. When the boy protests that Ukraine does too exist, one teacher says, "Show the class on the map, Alex." He goes to the wall map in front of the class.
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Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Protecting 'Innocent' Ears
Let me get this straight. What offends about "Saving Private Ryan" is not the way the film objectified the carnage of D-Day as something beautiful or the way it resuscitated the discredited myth of war as glorious -- but the way it uses a four-letter word? When various television stations declined to broadcast the film last week, were we being shown a hint of the deep trouble into which we Americans have gotten ourselves?
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Tuesday, November 09, 2004
A Long-Run View
We are standing at First Avenue and 90th Street, waiting for our daughter. She is one of more than 30,000 runners competing in the New York City Marathon today, and this is the 18-mile point, where she knows to look for us. The weather is sunny and mild. Already, the elite runners have gone by, and so have the wheelchair racers, including young veterans whose legs have been amputated because of wounds suffered in Iraq. Watching the scores of competitors making their way past us, Lexa and I stand close together but focus on the race.
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