Remembering historian Caleb Carr, and his account of fighting cancer alongside his cat Novelist and military historian Caleb Carr died of cancer Thursday at his home in Cherry Plains, N.Y. He was 68.

Remembering historian Caleb Carr, and his account of fighting cancer alongside his cat

Remembering historian Caleb Carr, and his account of fighting cancer alongside his cat

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Novelist and military historian Caleb Carr died of cancer Thursday at his home in Cherry Plains, N.Y. He was 68.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Caleb Carr, the great military historian and novelist, has died at the age of 68. He had a tough childhood, growing up with a violent father and hard-drinking friends of the family who happened to be famed Beat Generation writers. They were noisy drunks that were a disruption, Caleb Carr once wrote. They made me determined never to be a fiction writer. But he did, including his celebrated 1994 novel, "The Alienist."

Caleb Carr was on our show just last month to talk about "My Beloved Monster," his gorgeous memoir about his 17 years with his cat, Masha, who he said picked him out at an animal shelter. But we had to record the interview months before. Caleb had cancer and wanted to be sure to be able to speak about Masha. The two of them had been struck with cancer at roughly the same time.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

CALEB CARR: It was part of the amazing - the most amazing details of our story that our illnesses were so similar. Because of that, we knew we were tied in even more in terms of knowing what to do for each other and knowing what was going on with each other. And she made it possible, really possible for me to survive. I like to think - I hope - that I did the same for her.

SIMON: We'd like to think Caleb Carr and Masha have found each other again.

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