RI Authors Showcase – Meet Paul Caranci

Welcome to the Rhode Island Authors Showcase! Each day in November, this blog will feature a different Rhode Island author. Read the post and leave a comment and you are eligible to win this day’s giveaway!

Leave a comment every day this month for over 30 chances to win either our Grand Prize (a $250 Amazon gift card), our Bonus Prize (a $100 Amazon gift card), or a Cheer-Up Prize (amount to be determined), just in time for holiday shopping!

A winner will be randomly selected one week after the publication of the blog post, and the Grand Prize and Bonus Prize winners will be randomly selected on December 7, 2021. For the daily giveaways, the author will contact you directly to coordinate delivery. Print books for delivery within the US only, please.

Paul Caranci

Paul Caranci is a public speaker and the author of 13 books. He is a third-generation resident of North Providence, Rhode Island, and has been a student of history for many years. He served as RI Deputy Secretary of State for eight years and was elected to the town council, where he served for almost seventeen years. He has a BA in political science from Providence College and is working toward an MPA from Roger Williams University. He is an incorporating member of the Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA) and a member of the board of the RI Publication Society.

In 2015, Paul was awarded the Margaret Chase Smith American Democracy Award for Political Courage, the highest honor awarded by the National Association of Secretaries of State, for his undercover role in exposing political corruption in his hometown of North Providence. His undercover work with the FBI, in breaking up what a federal judge called a criminal empire, is the subject of Paul’s seventh book, Wired: A Shocking True Story of Political Corruption and the FBI Informant Who Risked Everything to Expose It. Paul’s latest book, scheduled for release by Stillwater River Publications in early November 2021, chronicles daily life for World War II prisoners held at the Dachau, Germany’s oldest and most brutal concentration camp. The Nazi regime programmed every activity to inflict the most physical and psychological pain possible. The sadistic nature of the camp commanders is portrayed through the eyes of Fr. Jean Bernard, a Catholic priest from Luxembourg imprisoned at Dachau for using the Catholic Film
Agency to denounce the inhumane policies of the Nazis. This remarkable true story is a must read for lovers of history and World War II enthusiasts.

Four of Paul’s books were awarded special recognition. The Hanging & Redemption of John Gordon: The True Story of Rhode Island’s Last Execution (The History Press, 2013) was voted one of the top five non-fiction books of 2013 by the Providence Journal. Scoundrels: Defining Corruption Through Tales of Political Intrigue in Rhode Island (Stillwater River Publications 2016) was the winner of the 2016 Dorry Award as the non-fiction book of the year. The Promise of Fatima: One Hundred Years of History, Mystery and Faith (Stillwater River Publications, 2017), and I Am The Immaculate Conception: The Story of Bernadette of Lourdes (Stillwater River Publications, 2018), were named finalists in the International Book Awards in 2018 and 2019 respectively. The movie rights to four of Paul’s books, The Hanging & Redemption of John Gordon: The True Story of Rhode Island’s Last Execution, The Promise of Fatima: One Hundred Years of History, Mystery and Faith, I Am The Immaculate Conception: The Story of Bernadette of Lourdes, and Terror in Wichita: A True Story of One Woman’s Courage and Her Will to Live(Stillwater River Publications, 2020) have been sold to a Hollywood production company and may one day be featured on the big screen.
Paul and his wife Margie have two adult children and four grandchildren.

Visit Paul’s website here: http://www.paulcaranci.com/

Find him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulcaranci

Follow him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paul.caranci

Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/paulcaranci

The impact that Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich had on European Jews, Communists, Poles, Gypsies, homosexuals, the disabled, and various others deemed by the Nazis to be “asocials” is a well-documented fact of history. Less discussed, however, is Hitler’s disdain for organized religion and his attempt to eradicate Christianity from Europe. Dachau, the first and most brutal of all the Nazi concentration camps, was the site chosen to assemble the largest gathering of Catholic and Christian clergymen in history. Their inhumane treatment at the hands of the most ruthless collection of behemoths known to humanity is now brought to graphic life through the eyes of a Catholic priest imprisoned in Dachau in the early 1940s.

Darkness at Dachau is the remarkable true story of Father Jean Bernard’s stay at Germany’s most brutal prison camp. The Luxembourg priest had been a vocal critic of the Nazi regime and used the Catholic film office to advocate his anti-fascist views. Following a year-long incarceration, Fr. Bernard was given an unprecedented ten-day furlough, during which time he was presented with an opportunity that would result in his permanent release and the release of hundreds of other clergymen housed at the Nazi camp. All he had to do was admit that he had been wrong in his opposition to the Third Reich and endorse its policies. Would he comply with their wishes to free himself and his fellow priests or would he return to the daily torture, starvation, and inhumanity that was life at Dachau?

Darkness at Dachau: The True Story of Father Jean Bernard is destined to become a tour-de-force in the study of the impacts of Nazi Germany on religious freedom. It also exposes a dark and critical history that receives far too little attention.

Paul is giving away a print copy of Darkness at Dachau to one winner. Just leave a comment below to be eligible.

Join us on SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11, from 9:00am to 3:00pm at the CROWNE PLAZA in Warwick for the 9th Annual Rhode Island Authors Expo!

Book-a-Day #Giveaway Featuring Author Paul Caranci

Leave a comment on today’s post and you’re eligible to win this author’s giveaway. Each day in November that you comment gives you and entry into the Grand Prize giveaway at the end of the month! (Print copies for US residents only, please. If you live outside the US and win, you’ll receive a digital copy of the book.)

Monumental Providence

Public art is everywhere, but, nowhere in Rhode Island is there a greater concentration of the sculptures, statues, monuments and memorials that constitute public art, than in its capital city of Providence. We see them dotting the landscape as we drive to work, walk to the store, or enjoy a day at the park. They are all around us. Yet, some of these artistic masterpieces seem to hide in plain view with thousands of otherwise unsuspecting and pre-occupied passerby walking or riding past each day without even as much as a notice. Rhode Island School of Design Assistant Professor of Sculpture, Richard Jarden, noted the irony when he, in 1980, so profoundly wrote “…Public sculpture is very difficult to see.  On the immediate level, what is going on around it, behind it and sometimes on it can be as engaging as, or often more engaging than, the sculpture itself.  We pass by sculptures every day without noticing them because they are mute, frozen helplessly in time, while we have the ability to move, even to move away.”

Sometimes, however, we do notice the art. We look at it, study it, get up close to it, and walk away from it scratching our heads wondering what in the world we have just seen. It happens frequently, and, in fact, it was just that scenario that prompted us to write Monumental Providence: Legends of History in Sculpture, Statuary, Monuments and Memorials. The book chronicles all 94 permanent pieces of public art on display in the city and while some may be self-explanatory, others might need some interpretation before the true beauty of the work can be appreciated.

Take for example those three impressionistic figures standing upon a pond frond that is a prominent feature in Frazier Park, a small two-tiered park located just off Benefit St. on the campus of the Rhode Island School of Design. You’ve probably seen it, you may have admired it, but you very likely have no idea what it represents.

This 1963 treasure of Sculptor Gilbert Franklin was a gift of Mrs. Murray S. Danforth, Chairwoman of RI School of Design’s Division of Fine Arts and descendant of one of the institution’s founders. The bronze work of art brings to life a piece of Greek Mythology. According to legend, the musician Orpheus had the ability to charm anyone with his music. Overcome with grief upon discovering that his wife Eurydice had died of a viper bite he descends to the depths of hell to plead for his wife’s return. So strong is the power of his music that it overcomes death itself and the devil agrees to allow Eurydice to return to earth on the condition that Orpheus walk in front of her and not look back until both he and his wife have reached the upper world. As he enters the world of the living, an anxious Orpheus looks back at Eurydice forgetting that she too must have entered the upper world before he could look back. She immediately vanishes from his site, forever cast back into Hades. The sculpture depicts Orpheus watching the guide Hermes lead Eurydice back into death.Caranci Orpheus

The sculpture entitled “Orpheus Ascending” depicts an anxious and horrified Orpheus looking back as his wife Eurydice is led back into hell by the devil

The myth is a beautiful love story and the sculpture so adeptly freezes in time that horrific moment when enraptured happiness is forever stolen from Orpheus. It is a magnificent example of public art which has far greater meaning once the subject of the art is better understood.

Perhaps Paul Campbell, former Archivist for the City of Providence, and Richard Jarden summed it up best when they observed, “Public art is everywhere and has served as an artistic form of cultural memory since the dawn of civilization.”  “It is all around us. Yet, some of these artistic masterpieces seem to hide in plain view with thousands of otherwise unsuspecting and pre-occupied passerby walking or riding past each day without even as much as a notice.”

Hopefully, going forward, you will take more time to notice and appreciate the great examples of public art that you pass by every day. Monumental Providence: Legends of History in Sculpture, Statuary, Monuments and Memorials will help with a greater understanding of each of the City’s magnificent examples of public art. The book may be purchased at Amazon.

Paul and Heather Caranci

Paul F. Caranci has been a student of history for many years. He is the author of eight books, including The Hanging & Redemption of John Gordon, a true story of Rhode Island’s last execution, and Wired, Caranci’s personal story of how he gambled his thirty-year political career, his reputation, and his family’s safety in his quest to restore good, honest government to a community that needed it most.

WIN!   The author is giving away a print copy of Monumental Providence – just leave a comment on this blog post to be eligible. Winner will be selected at random one week from today and the author will contact you directly.

Hope to see you on Saturday, December 1 for the Rhode Island Author Expo!

Nov. 11 – Meet RI Author Paul F. Caranci

Paul Caranci

Sculptures, statues, monuments and memorials are Greco-Roman in origin and constitute the many forms of public art that are now scattered throughout the world.  Rhode Island is home to many of these masterpieces and the City of Providence has its fair share that now stand as a testament to the people, places and events that have had a profound impact on the shaping of the history of Rhode Island’s capital city.

Providence is also home to the very first statue installed at a public site in Rhode Island. A statue of Benjamin Franklin cast in zinc by Richard Greenough, depicting Franklin holding a scroll in his hand with a tricorn hat tucked securely under his arm, was positioned in 1855 in front of the Franklin Lyceum building on Westminster Street. The location of the statue today is shrouded in mystery.

Providence sculptor Frances Hoppin remarked during the statue’s impressive ceremony, “This is the first public statue in Rhode Island! Let it be but the beginning of a phalanx of statues! Let our heroes, our poets, our statesmen, our philosophers, and our men of worth, live among us not only in the form of their achievements, but in monuments of iron and bronze and marble, adorning our streets and parks, perpetually preaching their virtues and telling us that they once lived and acted, and were flesh and blood like ourselves.”

    Hoppin’s vision speaks to our reality, as hundreds of examples now dot the Rhode Island landscape. Providence leads with its 100-plus samples of monumental fine art. Though most of the great monuments were placed from 1870 to the 1920s, figurative sculpture continues to be in demand.

    Some are architectural gems while others evoke wonderment and amazement. Still others defy most logical attempts at discernment. Yet each represents an era past and possibly forgotten by the casual observer if not for this lasting remembrance of what once was.

    Perhaps the grandest of all Rhode Island monuments is the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Downtown Providence’s Kennedy Plaza. It is programmatically complex, with over a dozen relief plaques, four larger-than-life figures, and one monumental figure. The monument is large in scale – the base alone is 32’ high. And, it was an expensive enterprise for a small state, costing $57,000 in 1871 dollars, exceeding the $50,000 budget by some 14%.

    These monuments to the past can be found in many places throughout Providence and take on a plethora of forms. Some honor the men and women who fought our wars for freedom while others memorialize the story of intense love shortened by premature death (Bajnotti Fountain, Carrie Clock Tower, The Spirit of Youth, etc.). Still others pay tribute to mythological figures (Orpheus Ascending, Terpsichore, etc.). Each magnificent piece of art has a story just as breathtaking as the piece itself.

Take the time to notice this magnum opus as you travel throughout the state.  Learn the story that inspired each work.  You will surely gain a new appreciation for Rhode Island’s tour de force!


Paul Caranci co-authored, with his daughter Heather Caranci, Monumental Providence: Legends of History in Sculpture, Statuary, Monuments and Memorials.  The 323 page book describes all 103 piece of public art throughout Providence and includes over 100 photographs.)

Find our more about Paul and his books here

His LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulcaranci

His Facebook page: paul.caranci

His Twitter: https://twitter.com/paulcaranci


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