Andrew Carroll Bio
Andrew Carroll, 37, is the editor of several bestselling books, including Letters of a Nation, Behind the Lines, and War Letters, which was made into a PBS documentary. He is also the editor of Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families, based on the National Endowment for the Arts national initiative of the same name. “Operation Homecoming,” the documentary, will appear on PBS starting in April 2007.
Carroll’s most recent book is Grace Under Fire: Letters of Faith in Times of War, published by Doubleday and WaterBrook Press.
Carroll is the founder and director of the Legacy Project, a national, all-volunteer initiative that works to honor and remember U.S. troops and veterans by preserving their wartime correspondence. To date, the Legacy Project has received more than 80,000 never-before-seen letters and e-mails from every military conflict in American history.
Carroll is also the co-founder, with the late Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky, of the American Poetry & Literacy Project, which distributes free poetry books to the public in hospitals, schools, jury waiting rooms, train stations, hotels, airports, supermarkets, libraries, and similar venues. Since 1993, the APL Project has handed out more than 1,000,000 free poetry books to people from all walks of life.
In 2001, Carroll revived the "Armed Services Editions" (ASEs), which are pocket-sized books made especially for the military and handed out to U.S. troops abroad. More than 1,300 titles in all were first published during World War II, including mysteries, biographies, crime stories, adventure novels, and classic works of literature. The original ASEs were discontinued in 1947, and Carroll has been working with major publishers to reissue them. He has distributed a quarter of a million free ASEs to U.S. servicemen and women around the world, including thousands of books he personally handed out in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Carroll is considered one of the nation’s foremost experts on wartime correspondence, and his efforts have been profiled on Oprah, NBC's Nightly News, FOX News, CNN, The History Channel (two different documentaries), C-Span, National Public Radio, CBS Sunday Morning, the Today Show, Good Morning America, and Nightline (which devoted a full broadcast to the Legacy Project). Carroll was also featured as a “Person of the Week” on ABC’s World News Tonight. Carroll has also been a contributing editor and/or writer to many local and national publications, including Guideposts, Time, the New Yorker, and National Geographic.
A 1993 magna cum laude graduate of Columbia University, Carroll has received, among other accolades, the DAR’s Medal of Honor; The Order of Saint Maurice, bestowed by the National Infantryman's Association; and The Free Spirit Award, presented by the Freedom Forum. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Praise for Andrew Carroll’s Previous Books
Praise for Operation Homecoming (2006)
“Combat veterans are a famously taciturn group. Writing, however, can be just indirect enough to convey ideas too painful for the spoken word. Operation Homecoming brims with these personal anecdotes, showing us the human beings behind the headlines and beneath the body armor…. This collection rings with truth, the sort of truth that mere observers of war find hard to capture.”—Washington Post (selected as one of the best nonfiction books of the year)
*Starred Review* “This beautifully edited compilation of writings from modern warriors and their loved ones contains a wonderful range of voices and experience…. Carroll has pulled together dozens of unique voices to achieve the ‘integrity and authenticity ... of a full spectrum of viewpoints and experiences.’…. This collection provides a truly multi-faceted and agenda-free look at the ongoing conflict from the Americans who lived it, and deserves a large audience.”—Publishers Weekly
“The book is almost impossible to put down. Some of the writing is laugh-out-loud funny, some is solemn, some is achingly sad…. Reading the stories can be a humbling experience, particularly for a journalist. No matter how much time a reporter might spend embedded with a unit, the only way to really begin to understand what it’s like to wear a uniform and be in combat is to listening to the voices of the service members themselves.” —Stars & Stripes
*Starred Review* “This history-making project records feelings about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan even as conflicts continue in those nations…. In 100 pieces of poetry, essays, letters, e-mails, plays, and journal entries, soldiers recall the awful thrill in the threat of killing or being killed, the deaths of buddies, and the cultural and psychological adjustments to a strange land. The book is divided into sections, including the war in the beginning, when 9/11 fueled certainty among the military; the campaigns to win the hearts and minds of Afghanis and Iraqis; the daily terror and boredom of war; efforts to sustain family life on the home front; and the joy and anxiety of homecoming. Intimate perspectives from the people on the frontlines.”—Booklist
Praise for Behind the Lines (2005)
"[A] stirring, moving, and sometimes hilarious collection.”—Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down
" Behind the Lines is the result of Andrew Carroll's unprecedented trip around the world to seek out these gripping, insightful, and, in so many cases, breathtaking letters. This is a book born of great passion. This is a book with tremendous heart and soul." —James Bradley, author of Flags of Our Fathers and Flyboys
*Starred Review* “Carroll culled many of [the letters in the book] globe-trotting through 35 countries, from Poland to Iraq, over the past year (he tells the story of his journey in a moving introduction). As for the letters themselves, Carroll has made the very wise editorial decision of printing them as they were written, with misspellings, odd line breaks and regional references intact…. The letters are, almost without exception, arresting in their earnestness, sincerity and passion, and diverse in their sentiments—brave, fearful, amorous, angry, resigned, conniving, unbalanced, stoical. The result is captivating in its immediacy. Short head notes provide succinct context, but most speak for themselves.” —Publishers Weekly
"From the American Revolution to Iraq, everything is here: the terror and exhilaration of bloody combat, love letters, funny letters, letters from civilians caught in the middle of war. Behind the Lines is worth savoring; you can dip into it at any page and find something fascinating." —Joseph L. Galloway, coauthor of We Were Soldiers Once...and Young
"In all my years of military service, I don't believe I have ever read a book that has moved me as profoundly as this one. While it is often the generals and military leaders who receive the limelight, Andrew Carroll's Behind the Lines reminds us that it is the individual troops in the field and their loved ones at home who most deserve our admiration and attention. I cannot recommend this book more highly." —Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, US Army (retired), the highest-ranking woman in the history of the army
Praise for War Letters (2001)
“Andrew Carroll has given America a priceless treasure. These letters are intimate, deeply personal portraits of the courage, sacrifice, and sense of duty that made this country.”—Tom Brokaw
"Andrew Carroll has assembled a collection of previously unpublished letters that run the gamut of wartime emotion.... An excellent compilation that I enjoyed reading very much — and believe you will, too." — John Glenn
“Quite simply, this is one of the greatest, most riveting books of war letters I have ever read.”—Stephen E. Ambrose
"These war letters are deeply moving, more revelatory and more powerful than any dispatch from the front. It's the truly felt history of what war is all about." —Studs Terkel
“This wonderful…is a treasure, containing letters written from conflicts from the Civil War to our recent involvement in the turmoil in the Balkans. Some letters are from the famous: George Custer tells his sister about a short but violent reconnaissance mission; Clara Barton describes to her cousin the eerie calm in an army camp just hours before the carnage of Fredericksburg. Most of the letters are from ordinary soldiers. Some describe the normal, everyday hopes and yearnings of those separated from families, but they are given intense poignancy by the looming threat of death. Other letters graphically describe the horrors of combat and the stark terror that can engulf humans under severe pressures. For scholars, a wealth of primary-source material is provided here. General readers will find it an informative and deeply moving reading experience. —Booklist
Praise for Letters of a Nation (1997)
"Fascinating! . . . I couldn't stop turning the pages." — Abigail Van Buren ("Dear Abby")
"Here is America's heart and soul, as rendered by a wide range of citizens whose words, in their stirring and instructive sum, tell us who we are as a people, what we've become as a nation." — Dr. Robert Coles, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Spiritual Life of Children
“Carroll, executive director of the American Poetry and Literacy Project, has selected and provided superior brief introductions for more than 200 historical and personal letters, arranged in ten categories. The variety is extraordinary.” — Library Journal
"There simply isn't a dull passage to be found in this mind-opening, heart-stretching volume." — Booklist