James Carroll

James Carroll

James Carroll a 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: God, My Father, and the War That Came Between Us," won the National Book Award. His forthcoming book (2021) is "The Truth at the Heart of the Lie: How the Catholic Church Lost Its Soul." 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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Monday, September 14, 2009
The Cloud of War
President Obama's speech to Congress last week concluded on a moving and uplifting note, an evocation of the late Senator Kennedy’s appeal to the nation’s character and moral purpose as the ground of change. All at once, with his forceful display of leadership, the president had made the transformation of American society, beginning with health care reform, seem possible. But, like a dark storm cloud edging in from the horizon, memory intruded on the high-minded moment.
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Monday, August 10, 2009
Aquino’s Ripple Effect
Today the formal mourning ends for Corazon Aquino, the former president of the Philippines who died at the beginning of this month, but her significance as a figure of hope will live on. Robert Kennedy once spoke of each act of courage as a ripple sent forth to cross with other ripples, ultimately "to build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." That defines the exact legacy of this woman whom The New York Times described as "a soft-spoken homemaker who became a global icon of democracy."
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Monday, August 03, 2009
Reinterpreting Early August
In the 17 years that I have been writing this column, my privilege has been to say what I think, even knowing readers might disagree. Most years, in this first week of August, I have observed the anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings by casting a critical eye back on President Truman’s order. “A mistake and a crime,’’ was one of my titles. Those columns have yearly generated more disagreement from readers than anything else I’ve written.
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Monday, July 20, 2009
The End Is Near
It used to be that apocalyptic warnings about the approaching end of time came from sign-holding religious nutcases. Now they come from hard scientists. Most discussion of the threat of global warming is conducted in measured tones, with even dire projections offered with the necessary proviso that the future is uncertain. But as governments fail to act strenuously enough against the villainous carbon emissions, and as the broad public continues in a state of environmental quietude, if not indifference, scientific voices are sharpening the alarm.
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Monday, July 13, 2009
McNamara and Our Nuclear Madness
‘MOBY DICK'' is the saga of the American soul, a cosmic contest with an "intangible malignity.'' The sea monster was "the monomaniac incarnation of all those malicious agencies . . . all the subtle demonisms of life and thought, all evil . . . all the general rage and hate'' felt by the human race "from Adam down.'' Onto this enemy, Captain Ahab "as if his chest had been a mortar . . . burst his hot heart's shell.''
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Monday, June 22, 2009
More than Mere Lunacy
When James Wenneker von Brunn murdered Stephen T. Johns at the Holocaust Memorial Museum earlier this month, history was less made than revealed. Officer Johns, a 39-year-old African-American family man, was an easygoing guard, affectionately known to colleagues as "Big John.'' That his last act was to open the door for a member of the public defines his goodness. That von Brunn, an 88-year-old white supremacist and anti-Semite, simply opened fire on the man holding the door defines his malevolence. But more is at work here than an act of lunacy.
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Monday, May 25, 2009
War Room is No Place for Bible Study
That Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld supplied President Bush with Bible-laced Pentagon intelligence briefings might only seem like more Bush-era loopiness, but wait a minute. The deeper, and still current, question is: What in heaven (or, what the hell) is going on inside the US military? A Robert Draper article in Gentleman's Quarterly revealed that some of the top-secret "World Wide Intelligence Briefings" that Rumsfeld provided to Bush were covered with photographs of Americans at war, and captions taken from Scripture.
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Thursday, May 14, 2009
Cheer, Cheer for Old Notre Dame
President Obama goes to Notre Dame University this Sunday to deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary degree, the ninth U.S. president to be so honored. The event has stirred up a hornet's nest of conservative Catholics, with more than 40 bishops objecting, and hundreds of thousands of Catholics signing petitions in protest. In the words of South Bend's Bishop John M.
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Monday, December 29, 2008
Gorbachev's Model for Obama
Twenty years ago this month, Mikhail Gorbachev stood before the UN General Assembly and said, "The compelling necessity of freedom of choice is also clear to us. The failure to recognize this . . . is fraught with very dire consequences, consequences for world peace." At that time, as Soviet general secretary, Gorbachev was the ruler of hundreds of millions of people, both in the Soviet Union and in Central and Eastern Europe - a population that had no freedom of choice. The government over which Gorbachev presided had long made sure that was the case.
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Monday, December 15, 2008
The Window and Door Factory
'We're here and we're not going anywhere," said the protest leader last week, "until we get what's fair and what's ours." With that, 200 laid-off workers began the occupation of the Republic Windows & Doors factory on Chicago's North Side. The company owners, perhaps in violation of federal labor laws, had abruptly closed the plant. They had no choice, they said, citing the credit crunch. The workers claimed they were owed severance and vacation pay, and they were not ending their sit-in until they got it.
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