By James Carroll
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780618152841, 352pp.)
Publication Date: August 1, 2003
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It is 1961. Khrushchev is hurling threats, a U.S. spy plane has been shot down over the Soviet Union, tensions are rising. Berlin has been cut off from the West: it’s only a matter of weeks until the Wall will be erected. The United States and Americans abroad face dangers they had never imagined. Against this backdrop, the best-selling novelist and historian James Carroll tells an unforgettable love story that illuminates a key moment in history with the passions of those who lived it.
Three teenagers from an American school in West Germany travel to Berlin to join a May Day rally on the Communist side of the divided city. Propelled by nadve ideals and in rebellion against preordained futures, they stumble into the center of an international incident. Paul, the father of one of the boys, and Charlotte, the elegant German-born mother of another, set off to rescue their children from the East German Stasi, which has detained them. Over the course of a weekend, Paul and Charlotte struggle with personal secrets, growing passion, and the weight of a generation that survived World War II only to face the loss of its children to the engulfing paranoia of the Cold War.
Secret Father inexorably pulls the reader into the heart of flashpoint Berlin. In this powerful tale, missed signals, cloaked motives, false postures, and panicked responses echo tragically across borders and generations.
James Carroll was raised in Washington, D.C., 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, he 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, House of War, which won the first PEN/Galbraith Award, and the New York Times bestseller Constantine’s Sword, now an acclaimed documentary.