Here you can find a brief Caleb Carr biography that contains his basic information as well as a summary of his education and career. To find a list of his book and film works, or links to interviews he has given or op-eds he has written, please use the side menu.
Caleb Carr Biography
Date of Birth: August 2, 1955
Place of Birth: New York, NY
Parents: Lucien Carr and Francesca von Hartz1
Siblings: Simon Carr (older brother) and Ethan Carr (younger brother)1
Currently Resides: On a farm estate called “Misery Mountain”. It is located in Cherry Plain, a town in Rensselaer County, NY.2
Education & Career
A born and bred New Yorker, Caleb Carr was raised between Greenwich Village3 and the Lower East Side2, and received his primary and secondary education at two local private schools, St. Luke’s School and Friends Seminary.4 After graduating from secondary school, Mr. Carr spent two years at Kenyon College in Ohio1,4 before returning to New York to complete a Bachelor of Arts in History at New York University.4,5 Following the conferral of his degree in 1977, he was employed at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York where he eventually gained a position as a special editorial assistant for the journal Foreign Affairs Quarterly.4,5 After leaving the organization, he spent the 1980s working as a freelance journalist covering Central America.4
These experiences influenced the first of Mr. Carr’s non-fiction books, America Invulnerable: The Quest for Absolute Security from 1812 to Star Wars (1989), which he co-wrote with his friend and mentor, James Chace.4 His subsequent non-fiction publications have also focused on military history and national security, and include a biography of Frederick Townsend Ward, The Devil Soldier: The American Soldier of Fortune Who Became a God in China (1992), and an examination of the history of terrorism, The Lessons of Terror: A History of Warfare Against Civilians (2002). In addition, Mr. Carr has been the editor of Random House’s Modern Library War Series5 and has been a contributing editor to MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History.4,5 In the mid-2000s, he also spent a number of years teaching military history studies at Bard College as a Visiting Professor.6
Outside of academia and journalism, Caleb Carr spent a number of years working in the film industry and the theatre whilst freelancing in the 1980s.4 His work in the film industry continued into the 1990s, and he was involved with several TV mini series and films as a presenter, an executive producer, and a writer.4,8 Most notably, he wrote the TV movies Bad Attitudes (1991) and The Warlord: Battle for the Galaxy (1998), and was credited as a co-writer for Exorcist: The Beginning and Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist in 2004 and 2005, respectively.8 Testifying to his versatility, Mr. Carr started working as a librettist with friend and composer Ezequiel Viñao in the 1990s on Merlin, an opera based on the Arthurian legends4, and has also tried his hand at politics: he ran as a Democrat for the Rensselaer County Legislature in 2005, but was unsuccessful.9
Despite these varying areas of interest, Mr. Carr is best known for his fiction. Although he has described his first novel Casing the Promised Land (1980) as “roman à clef nonsense”10, his subsequent works have been highly successful. Starting in 1994 with The Alienist which won the 1995 Anthony Award for Best First Novel and was nominated for the 1995 Bram Stoker Best Novel Award, he has gone on to write other bestselling novels including The Angel of Darkness (1997) and The Italian Secretary: A Further Adventure of Sherlock Holmes (2005). In 1999, Mr. Carr also wrote a serial for Time magazine, Killing Time, which was later published in book form. While all of these works were well received, the Alienist novels have been his most successful: The Alienist received considerable critical acclaim and spent six months on the New York Times bestseller list, while The Angel of Darkness received even greater acclaim and outsold The Alienist.4
Caleb Carr released a historical novel, The Legend of Broken, in late 2012, and will be releasing Surrender, New York, a contemporary thriller with strong ties to the Alienist novels, on August 23, 2016. In a 2013 web chat, Mr. Carr also indicated that a third Alienist novel is planned.11 In addition to these writing projects, it was revealed in mid-2015 that Mr. Carr would also be acting as a consulting producer for the highly anticipated television adaptation of The Alienist that is currently in development with Paramount TV, Anonymous Content, and TNT.12
1. Ascher-Walsh, Rebecca, “Carr Talk”, Entertainment Weekly 17 October 1997. Link.
2. Wadler, Joyce, “Caleb Carr: Rebuilding the Past in Words and Wood”, The New York Times 12 May 2005. Link.
3. Miller, Tom, “The 1917 No. 92 Grove Street”, Daytonian in Manhattan 17 April 2013. Link.
4. TLØN EDITIONS, “About Caleb Carr” 2007. Link.
5. Purdy, Matthew, “ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE WITH: Caleb Carr; Writing to Flee the Past”, The New York Times 19 May 1994. Link.
6. Modern Library, “About Modern Library: The Modern Library Board Members” 2007. Link.
7. Bard College, “About Bard” 2007. Link.
8. IMDb, “Caleb Carr” 2008. Link.
9. York, Jessica, “New York election results”, Bennington Banner 10 November 2005.
10. Carr, Caleb, “Customer Review” 15 Dec. 1999. Link.
11. Carr, Caleb, “Big City Book Club Web Chat” The New York Times 15 Jan. 2013. Link.
12. Wagmeister, Elizabeth, “‘The Alienist’ Author Caleb Carr Boards TNT Series as Consulting Producer (EXCLUSIVE)”, Variety 21 July 2015. Link.