Casing the Promised Land

Included below is a synopsis of Caleb Carr’s first novel, Casing the Promised Land, which was published by HarperCollins in 1980 as well as a note from the author about the book. For summaries and selected critical reception of Caleb Carr’s other fiction and non-fiction works, please use the side menu.

Casing the Promised Land

Casing the Promised Land Summary

Publisher’s Synopsis

The characters in Caleb Carr’s arresting first novel, Casing the Promised Land, speak for a generation that has come of age in the 1970s, people for whom Vietnam and Watergate are not disillusionments but historical facts of life.

The book’s narrator, Jason Foster, is a recent college graduate who works in a record store in order to pay the rent on the Greenwich Village apartment he shares with his younger brother, Henry, and their friend Michael Collins. None of the three knows yet who he is or what he will become; and their story is, among other things, a journey in search of the self. Its focal point soon becomes Mike, trapped between his own desire to be a rock guitarist and his inability to reject his family’s conventional ambitions for him, a dilemma compounded by the two young women he loves and their own differing dreams for him.

Casing the Promised Land is very much a young man’s novel. In the way it takes for granted sexual freedom, pot, booze, television and, above all, rock and roll, it is one of the first works of fiction to describe today’s youth. But in other, deeper ways it is a timelessly romantic work to which no one who is either young or young in heart can fail to respond.

A Note From the Author

Written for

I am the author of this book. It has a few good scenes, but is essentially “roman à clef” nonsense that every writer has to get out of his system early on. Do yourself a favor and read anything else I’ve written (you’ll be doing me a favor, too). Forgive the follies of youth.

— Last updated on by Kim