Welcome to 17th Street

Welcome to 17th Street, a website dedicated to Caleb Carr and the Alienist books. It features the latest Caleb Carr news, a full author biography and interview list, book summaries and timelines for The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness along with synopses Caleb Carr's other work, analyses of the characters from the Alienist books, and information on the real history behind the Alienist books. Navigation for this site is at the top, showing the different sections of the site. Relevant links within the section (if applicable) will show up in the left column.

Latest News

New LA Times Op-Ed

The Lessons of TerrorA new Op-Ed from Caleb Carr appeared in the Los Angeles Times this morning. An excerpt from the piece, entitled “If France wants to succeed against Islamic State, it should study the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan,” is included below, along with a link to the full Op-Ed.

The wisdom of the U.S. decision to keep troops in Afghanistan on a semi-permanent basis will be long debated. What is beyond debate is the brilliance of the post-9/11 invasion, which holds lessons for the French people following the massacres of Nov. 13 in Paris and the similarly appalling loss of life in the former French colony of Mali on Nov. 20.

After 9/11, instead of opting for the kind of knee-jerk bombings that had too often been ordered by the Clinton administration after Al Qaeda attacks against U.S. embassies and the destroyer Cole, the Bush administration (or, more truthfully, the Department of Defense led by Donald H. Rumsfeld) moved carefully, devising one of the more innovative military campaigns in modern American history.

Continue reading at the LA Times.

For visitors who may be unaware, Mr. Carr is a military historian who has taught at Bard College and has authored a number of non-fiction works including The Lessons of Terror: A History of Warfare Against Civilians in 2002. You can read more about The Lessons of Terror in the Other Books section of 17th Street.

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Cary Fukunaga talks The Alienist with EW

Cary FukunagaIn a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly regarding his latest production Beasts of No Nation, Cary Fukunaga shared some interesting details about how his role as director for The Alienist TV series might play out. Commenting on the lengthy preparation time the series’ “hundreds of pages” of material would require (as opposed to the “100 or 110 pages of material” required for a typical feature film), he explained: “If I were to direct the whole thing, I would probably break it up into two or three parts, almost as if it was two or three movies, and then prep them in that way.” Given the need for such a pre-production, he went on to state that he has considered taking on a “directional partner” so that they “could hop-scotch and help each other out and really approach it in the same spirit of a film, which is collaboration. They’re equal with you in terms of executing it.”

Having directed the eight episode series True Detective solo, EW reports that this would be the first time Fukunaga has ever taken on a directional partner, so such a move would certainly be an interesting development. Whether such a step is taken, however, will largely depend upon the scripts that are turned in, and Fukanaga’s bosses are also said to prefer his tackling the show on his own as well.

Cary Fukunaga’s full comments can be found at the Entertainment Weekly article. You can also catch up on prior developments regarding the series at 17th Street’s TV series page, or by perusing The Alienist TV series tag here on the blog.

Photo Credit: “Cary Fukunaga2009” by Johan GunnarssonFlickr: Cary Fukunaga. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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Patrick Connor Character Profile

It has long bothered me that The Alienist’s supporting characters do not yet have completed character profiles here on 17th Street, particularly the historical figures. In order to correct this, I have decided to devote the next several months to finally completing the profiles once and for all. By way of beginning, you can find the newly completed character profile for Detective Sergeant Patrick Connor below as well as on the supporting characters list.

I cannot predict how long it will take me to complete the rest of the profiles given that most are historical figures, and I will be aiming to read at least one biography for each figure to aid me in completing their profile. I apologise for the lack of updates this will undoubtedly produce, but I’m sure you would agree with me that completed profiles for all the supporting characters are long overdue, and I hope you will understand why I’m taking the time away from the blog in order to finally complete this section of the site.

Connor, Detective Sergeant Patrick

Appears in The Alienist

John Moore, journalist and narrator of The Alienist, first meets Detective Sergeant Patrick Connor when he views the body of Giorgio Santorelli atop the Manhattan-side anchor of the Williamsburg Bridge in the opening chapters of the novel. Described only as slit-eyed and bearded, Connor is an adherent of the policing practices and attitudes that prevailed under Thomas Byrnes, the former police superintendent who had been forced into retirement the preceding year as a result of the wave of reform that followed the Lexow Committee’s investigation into police corruption. After initially causing Dr. Laszlo Kreizler consternation for spreading false information about the identity of the Giorgio’s murderer to members of the press, it does not take long before Connor is expelled from the force after it is discovered that he had also beaten Giorgio Santorelli’s father unconscious for refusing a bribe from a mysterious group attempting to hush the murder up.

Click here to read more. Warning: Contains spoilers for The Alienist

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Following The Footsteps of Dr. Kreizler: A Travel Blog – Part Two

View Part One and Part Two of Following The Footsteps of Dr. Kreizler: A Travel Blog.

As regular visitors would be aware, I took a slightly different approach with the 17th Street blog last week by posting up an account of my recent Alienist-related travels that took me from Toronto, down through New York state following the Hudson River, before finally arriving on the Upper West Side of New York City. This week, I conclude my travel blog with an account of the second half of my holiday in New York, predominantly spent in the historic districts around Union Square where I was finally able to visit the locations that make up the heart of the Alienist novels. Enjoy!

The Inn At Irving Place

Following my short walk in Central Park with thunder rolling in the distance and storm clouds threatening, I moved from my hotel on the Upper West Side to my second hotel in the East 17th Street/Irving Place Historic District where I stayed for my final five nights in the city. When I had originally decided that I wanted to spend at least a portion of my trip down in the Union Square area, I looked at a number of different hotel options but ultimately couldn’t go past The Inn at Irving Place.

Ideally situated, the boutique hotel offered an experience I would not get anywhere else: an opportunity to get a taste of my favourite characters’ lifestyles by staying in a restored New York brownstone located only two blocks from Gramercy Park to the north, two blocks from Stuyvesant Square to the east, and one block from Union Square to the west. After checking in with the manager whose desk was located in the front parlor (see photos 3-4 below), I stayed in the “O Henry room” (see photos 6-12 below) which was tastefully appointed with genuine antiques and was well-proportioned, quiet, and had an unexpectedly large bathroom (for New York City). Located at the back of the brownstone on the second floor, the room had a pleasant view of the terrace and surrounding buildings (see photo 13 below). My regular breakfast spot in the tea room on the first floor also offered a delightful view, both inside and out (see photos 14-15 below).

All in all, I couldn’t have been happier with my choice of hotel and highly recommend it for any Alienist readers or lovers of history who want to experience life from an earlier time in a restored New York brownstone. Watch the steps, though — they are steep! (Something I experienced later on at the Merchant’s House Museum, too.)

Given the storm that had moved in, I decided to stay close to the hotel for the rest of the day by getting a spot of lunch at Barnes & Noble on Union Square before going for a wander across to a very wet Stuyvesant Square where I saw an astonishing number of squirrels — a novelty for this Australian, and the most I had seen in any one spot during my entire trip! — until I finally admitted defeat and retreated back to The Inn. I couldn’t help feeling on this first afternoon as I listened to the thunder overhead and saw the trees outside my window being blown around that I had been transported into the summer storm described in Chapter 53 of The Angel of Darkness which the characters quietly wait out in the safety of Dr. Kreizler’s home, watching the wind-tossed trees in Stuyvesant Square across the road. | Continue reading →

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