Mullaney, James P.

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Mullaney, James P.


Born in Malverne, NY. Education: Attended Providence College.


Home—Long Beach, NY. E-mail—[email protected].




The Ministry of Culture (novel), Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2007.


James P. Mullaney's debut novel, The Ministry of Culture, is set in Iraq in 1984 and tells the story of American journalist Michael Young, who is invited to Baghdad to report on the escalating war between Iraq and Iran. He befriends Ibrahim, an artist who works for Saddam Hussein's government but becomes politically radicalized after his fiancé is gang-raped by Iraqi soldiers and later commits suicide. Michael also develops a romantic attachment to fellow-journalist Daniella Burkett, a reporter for the London Times. When Michael's government minder is hospitalized after stepping on a landmine, Michael is drawn into the complexities of the partisan struggles that are threatening to tear the country apart; through this experience, according to a writer for Publishers Weekly, Michael "makes the rare acquaintance of his own better self."

A contributor to Kirkus Reviews felt that the novel's flat and unconvincing characterizations detracted from its appeal. Library Journal reviewer Victor Or, on the other hand, found the book "well-written and credible," though providing only a "perfunctory" treatment of serious themes. A writer in Publishers Weekly, however, praised The Ministry of Culture as a "harrowing" narrative about Saddam's Iraq and noted that the book is "that rare war narrative that doesn't depend on carnage for the lasting impressions it creates." Michael Leonard, writing on the Curled Up with a Good Book Web site, described the book as "at times both mesmerizing and dizzyingly repellent," and "a powerful evocation of a place on the edge, steadily being torn apart by violence and passion with a government that supervises and directs all its activity."



Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2007, review of The Ministry of Culture, p. 190.

Library Journal, March 15, 2007, Victor Or, review of The Ministry of Culture, p. 62.

Publishers Weekly, February 12, 2007, review of The Ministry of Culture, p. 60.


Curled Up with a Good Book, (October 9, 2007), Michael Leonard, review of The Ministry of Culture.