Secret Father: A Novel

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From a New York Times–bestselling author, a “gripping and beautifully written” novel of love and family set against the backdrop of Cold War Berlin (Bookpage).

Berlin, 1961. Days before the Wall rises, three teenagers from an American school in West Germany travel to the Communist side of the divided city to join a May Day rally. One of them has brought along a flight bag belonging to his father, a US intelligence officer. Before long, the teens are in the custody of the secret East German police, the notorious Stasi. Unbeknownst to them, their parents have unfinished business, reaching back to World War II, which will pull the three friends into the vortex of an international incident.
 
Told through flashbacks by alternating narrators, Secret Father is a novel of missed signals, cloaked motives, false postures, and panicked responses that tragically echo across borders and generations. Like the classic period thrillers of Graham Greene, James Carroll’s politically charged coming-of-age tale provides a “somber and evocative look at some of the most frightening times in one of the most frightening places in the Cold War” (Kirkus Reviews). “Carroll writes with rich, lyrical ease,” raves Publishers Weekly. “His characters are richly drawn, and the pieces of his impeccably paced story fit together with the cool precision of a Mercedes-Benz.”
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About the author

James Carroll was raised in Washington, DC, and ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1969. He served as a chaplain at Boston University from 1969 to 1974, then left the priesthood to become a writer. A distinguished scholar-in-residence at Suffolk University, Carroll is a columnist for the Boston Globe and a regular contributor to the Daily Beast. His critically admired books include Practicing Catholic, the National Book Award–winning An American Requiem, winner of the first PEN/Galbraith Award House of War, and the New York Times bestseller Constantine’s Sword, now an acclaimed documentary.
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Reviews

4.0
1 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
HMH
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Published on
Jan 24, 2005
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9780547526836
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Historical
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Thrillers / Espionage
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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James Carroll
National Book Award winner: This story of a family torn apart by the Vietnam era is “a magnificent portrayal of two noble men who broke each other’s hearts” (Booklist).
 
James Carroll grew up in a Catholic family that seemed blessed. His father, who had once dreamed of becoming a priest, instead began a career in J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, rising through the ranks and eventually becoming one of the most powerful men in the Pentagon, the founder of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Young Jim lived a privileged life, dating the daughter of a vice president and meeting the pope—all in the shadow of nuclear war, waiting for the red telephone to ring in his parents’ house.
 
James fulfilled the goal his father had abandoned, becoming a priest himself. His feelings toward his father leaned toward worship as well—until the tumult of the 1960s came between them. Their disagreements, over Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement; turmoil in the Church; and finally, Vietnam—where the elder Carroll chose targets for US bombs—began to outweigh the bond between them. While one of James’s brothers fled to Canada, another was in law enforcement ferreting out draft dodgers. James, meanwhile, served as a chaplain at Boston University, protesting the war in the streets but ducking news cameras to avoid discovery. Their relationship would never be the same again.
 
Only after Carroll left the priesthood to become a writer, and a husband with children of his own, did he begin to understand fully the struggles his father had faced. In An American Requiem, the New York Times bestselling author of Constantine’s Sword and Christ Actually offers a benediction, in “a moving memoir of the effect of the Vietnam War on his family that is at once personal and the story of a generation . . . at once heartbreaking and heroic, this is autobiography at its best” (Publishers Weekly).
 
Book 1
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton!

In the tradition of John le Carré, the bestselling, impossible-to-put-down, espionage thriller that is “a primer in twenty-first century spying” (The New York Times Book Review), written with the insider detail that only a veteran CIA operative could know—and shortlisted for an Edgar Award.

State intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the cast-iron bureaucracy of post-Soviet intelligence. Drafted against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress in the service, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA’s most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and, inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America’s most valuable mole in Moscow. Seeking revenge against her soulless masters, Dominika begins a fateful double life, recruited by the CIA to ferret out a high-level traitor in Washington; hunt down a Russian illegal buried deep in the US military and, against all odds, to return to Moscow as the new-generation penetration of Putin’s intelligence service. Dominika and Nathaniel’s impossible love affair and twisted spy game come to a deadly conclusion in the shocking climax of this electrifying, up-to-the minute spy thriller.

Taking place in today’s Russia, still ruled with an iron fist by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Red Sparrow displays author Jason Matthews’s insider knowledge of espionage, counter-espionage, surveillance tradecraft, recruiting spies, interrogation, and intelligence gathering. As The Washington Post hails, this is a “sublime and sophisticated debut…a first-rate novel as noteworthy for its superior style as for its gripping depiction of a secretive world.”
James Carroll
From the National Book Award–winning author of An American Requiem and Constantine's Sword comes a sweeping yet intimate look at the Pentagon and its vast—often hidden—impact on America.

This landmark, myth-shattering work chronicles the most powerful institution in America, the people who created it, and the pathologies it has spawned. James Carroll proves a controversial thesis: the Pentagon has, since its founding, operated beyond the control of any force in government or society. It is the biggest, loosest cannon in American history, and no institution has changed this country more. To argue his case, he marshals a trove of often chilling evidence. He recounts how "the Building" and its denizens achieved what Eisenhower called "a disastrous rise of misplaced power"—from the unprecedented aerial bombing of Germany and Japan during World War II to the "shock and awe" of Iraq. He charts the colossal U.S. nuclear buildup, which far outpaced that of the USSR, and has outlived it. He reveals how consistently the Building has found new enemies just as old threats—and funding—evaporate. He demonstrates how Pentagon policy brought about U.S. indifference to an epidemic of genocide during the 1990s. And he shows how the forces that attacked the Pentagon on 9/11 were set in motion exactly sixty years earlier, on September 11, 1941, when ground was broken for the house of war.

Carroll draws on rich personal experience (his father was a top Pentagon official for more than twenty years) as well as exhaustive research and dozens of extensive interviews with Washington insiders. The result is a grand yet intimate work of history, unashamedly polemical and personal but unerringly factual. With a breadth and focus that no other book could muster, it explains what America has become over the past sixty years.
Kathleen James-Carroll
You know when you have been to see somewhere interesting, beautiful, and exciting or all three? Or just very old and quite boring, but you had to go because it was a school trip? While you were there, did you ever catch sight of a bluish-colored ghost? Lets get something straight here. Usually it would have been a well-known place because if it wasnt, they wouldnt have been there, and generally the being in question would have appeared to be enjoying itself and laughing like mad. If this hasnt happened to you, I dont want you to feel bad about it because the situation that I have described is a very rare occurrence. Blue ghosts are just not run of the millwell, not happy ones anyway. The trouble with ghosts is that you never really know where they have come from or what they are doing in that particular place at that particular time. You dont know why they have decided to appear and frighten you to death, either. Well, I have got news for you. If you did see one of these blue people, it wouldnt be personal. It would be because their fade-out pill was not working properly. This is more common with child-size ghosts who have probably spit half of theirs out and not told their parents. Of course, they are not really ghosts; these fading in and out, giggling, happy-looking people. They are Skeignans, and Samantha and I decided to write about them one sunny afternoon whilst on holiday in Delphi. This is a beautiful sunny, ancient place in the mountains of Greece. In fact, the type of place Skeignans flock to when on holiday. We had seen one that morning, and that was what set us off. Samantha wasnt at all shocked when we saw the Skeignan because she remembered that she had played with one called Michael when she was a child. It seems that he had got left behind when his family had gone home from a trip to see our local beauty spot in the northern Pennine hills of England. They had played often through the summer of 1992, and then one day he was gone. His parents had made it back for him. All Sam had left was a good-bye note, which she treasures until this day. If I have caught your interest, do feel free to read on, and I will explain more about the Skeignans. The story is not about Michael, by the way. It is based upon a family called Grock who lived just down the road from him back on his own planet. If you want to read more about Michael, you are out of luck because I dont think anyone else has written about him either.
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