Author - Marian Haley Beil

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Review — FROM FREEBORN TO FREETOWN & BACK by Patrick R. O’Leary (Sierra Leone)
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Review — ONE OF US by Sandi Giver (Uganda)
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John Ashford’s (Botswana) DUSTY LAND published by Peace Corps Writers
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Review — CRESCENT BEACH by David Mather (Chile)
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Review — THE RELUCTANT VOLUNTEER by Peggy Constantine (Brazil)
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Review: PEACE CORPS EPIPHANIES by Anson K. Lihosit (Panama)
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Review: HIDDEN PLACES by James Heaton (Malawi)
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Review — WILD WORLD by Peter Rush (Cameroon)
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Review — IF YOU ARE RETIRING, YOU MIGHT JOIN THE PEACE CORPS! by Sally Jo Nelson Botzler (Mexico)
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New books by Peace Corps writers — September 2017

Review — FROM FREEBORN TO FREETOWN & BACK by Patrick R. O’Leary (Sierra Leone)

From Freeborn to Freetown & Back by Patrick R. O’Leary (Sierra Leone 1966–68) Peace Corps Writers September 2016 146 pages $14.95 (paperback), $10.00 (Kindle) Reviewed by Mark D. Walker  • THIS IS A WELL WRITTEN  that brings back many memories, as I worked in Sierra Leone for three years. When twenty-two year old Patrick O’Leary stepped off the plane in Sierra Leone, West Africa in January 1967, he was dressed for the snow storm he had left in Freeborn County, Minnesota a few days earlier, so it didn’t take long for him to realize his rural Catholic upbringing, training for Tanzania — his original Peace Corps assignment — and an earlier road trip to Key West, Florida — in a Cadillac hearse — would be less than effective in preparing him for a two-year stint in Binkolo, a small village outside of Makeni in western Sierra Leone. One unique aspect of . . .

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Review — ONE OF US by Sandi Giver (Uganda)

  One of Us: Sex, Violence, Injustice.  Resilience, Love, Hope. by Sandi Giver (Uganda 2009–11) Peace Corps Writers June 2017 260 pages $14.95 (paperback) Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) •   SANDI GIVER WAS A Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in Uganda when she was raped by a member of the United States armed forces. This book is a memoir that started out as a written statement to the Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) about her rape. It took incredible courage for the author to tell her story, and she does so with a candor and attention to detail that is remarkable. In addition to the core story of the author’s rape and participation in two military trials, she includes information about her childhood, her work history prior to Peace Corps, being physically assaulted by her landlord in Uganda, and much more. It is a very far-reaching . . .

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John Ashford’s (Botswana) DUSTY LAND published by Peace Corps Writers

  IT WAS A GREAT RELIEF for John Ashford to realize that he was going to do something new in his life. In his mid-fifties and happily married to his second wife, Gen, John wanted to feel as passionate about work and life as he had felt when he started teaching thirty years earlier — and he was going to be a Peace Corps Volunteer! With some convincing, and a short stint volunteering with him in a refugee camp in Thailand, Gen agreed to be John’s fellow adventurer and join the Peace Corps to serve in Botswana in southern Africa. Once in Botswana,  John began taking notes about his “new” life with an inkling that he would publish a book about his experiences. He kept a journal of conversations, cultural differences, people and their idiosyncrasies, and what it was like being a middle-aged Westerner in Africa. When the Ashford’s two years . . .

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Review — CRESCENT BEACH by David Mather (Chile)

  Crescent Beach by David J. Mather (Chile 1968–70) Peace Corps Writers March 2016 426 pages $14.95 (paperback), $7.99 (Kindle)   Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976-77)   • THIS WELL-WRITTEN NOVEL with a unique setting and very interesting, well developed characters who the author treats sympathetically. Author David Mather holds our interest by mixing background about Florida’s rural “Big Bend” region on the Gulf Coast and each character into the ongoing action of the story. It is a page-turner that is difficult to put down. The characters support each other and care for each other in heart-warming ways. By the end of the book, readers feel like they know these people and would be happy to have them for neighbors. The dialog is peppered with colorful, often humorous, local expressions. The author’s use of multiple narrators enhances the readers’ understanding of the different characters by allowing . . .

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Review — THE RELUCTANT VOLUNTEER by Peggy Constantine (Brazil)

  The Relunctant Volunteer: My Unforgettable Journey with the Peace Corps in Brazil Peggy Constantine (Brazil 1970–71 ) BookBaby May 2016 156 pages $15.00 (paperback), $2.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Sally LaRue (Mongolia 2015–17) • The Reluctant Volunteer captures the Peace Corps experience in its uncanny ability to transcend time and place. When I started to read this, I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to relate since my own Peace Corps experience was over 40 decades after Constantine’s and in a completely different culture, climate, and time in our world. I was astonished to find that I could imagine it all and could relate in more ways than could ever be explained to someone who doesn’t have that experience. She beautifully depicts a realistic Peace Corps experience complete with all those self-conscious feelings of inadequacies, successes and failures, social factors most people don’t ever consider, and the multifaceted challenges . . .

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Review: PEACE CORPS EPIPHANIES by Anson K. Lihosit (Panama)

  Peace Corps Epiphanies: Panama by Anson K. Lihosit (Panama 2015–17) Peace Corps Writers July 2017 132 pages $13.95 (paperback) Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • Anson Lihosit was a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in Panama from 2015 to 2017. He taught English in the small rural town of Torti. Lihosit is second generation Peace Corps. His RPCV (Returned PCV) father who served in Honduras in the ’70s strongly encouraged him to write about his experiences. This well-written, interesting and often humorous book is the result. If you are thinking about joining the Peace Corps, you should read this book. Also, if you served in the Peace Corps 30, 40 or 50 years ago and want to know what is different and what is the same for those in the Peace Corps today, this is the book for you. Even if you have no connection to the . . .

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Review: HIDDEN PLACES by James Heaton (Malawi)

  Hidden Places: A Journey from Kansas to Kilimanjaro (Peace Corps creative non-fiction) by James Heaton (Malawi [Nyasaland] 1962–64) Xlibris, 2016 May 2016 118 pages $19.95 (paperback), $29.99 (hardcover), $3.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Mary M. Flad (Thailand 1963–65) • James Heaton’s Hidden Places: a Journey from Kansas to Kilimanjaro is a beautifully written, and frequently hilarious, book. Heaton seems to have the gift of total recall of all of the details, and many of the misadventures, of his Peace Corps stint in Nyasaland in 1962 to 1964. Nyasaland was in transition to becoming the independent nation of Malawi. Heaton conjures up the mix of idealism, naiveté, escapism, and longing for adventure that characterized so many of us who entered service in “the Kennedy era.” His time in Africa was spent teaching science and English on the secondary-school level. In a little more than a hundred pages, he describes the memorable moments, . . .

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Review — WILD WORLD by Peter Rush (Cameroon)

  Wild World (novel) by Peter S. Rush (Cameroon 1972–73) Prior Manor August 2017 288 pages $16.95 (paperback) Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76, and Costa Rica 1976–77) • You can’t change an institution unless you are willing to become a part of it and work from the inside. That’s what Steve Logan decided to do. In the spring of 1970 he is a senior at Brown University, very much in love with his girlfriend Roxy, a pre-med student, and planning to go to law school in the fall. Then he hears about Kent State, four student demonstrators killed by the National Guard. Inspired by a campus appearance by a New York City police officer who is fighting corruption on the force, and unwilling to leave Roxy on her own as she has recently lost both her father and sister, Steve decides to join the local Providence police force and . . .

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Review — IF YOU ARE RETIRING, YOU MIGHT JOIN THE PEACE CORPS! by Sally Jo Nelson Botzler (Mexico)

  If You Are Retiring, You Might Join the Peace Corps! by Sally Jo Nelson Botzler (Mexico 2009–11) WestBowPress July 2017 122 pages $16.95 (paperback), $3.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Bob Arias (Colombia 1964—66) • WAKE UP RETIREES, life is just beginning . . . Sally and Rick Botzler did it and so can you! After a successful career teaching, raising a family, and involvement with their communities . . . they became Peace Corps Volunteers assigned to Mexico. Twenty-four months as Volunteers, and three months as Trainees, and their lives will never be the same. Peace Corps does something to you no matter where you serve in over 70 countries  — with Vietnam being the newest. Sally takes us thru the application process, and having kept a log (great idea) she tells us what training was like — the excellent and friendly host family they lived with, and Peace Corps Mexico (PC/M) staff and . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — September 2017

  To purchase any of these books from Amazon.com — Click on the book cover, the bold book title, or the publishing format you would like — and Peace Corps Worldwide, an Amazon Associate, will receive a small remittance from your purchase that will help support the site and the annual Peace Corps Writers awards.   We are now including a one-sentence description — provided by the author — for the books listed here in hopes of encouraging readers  1) to order the book and 2) to volunteer to review it. See a book you’d like to review for Peace Corps Worldwide? Send a note to peacecorpsworldwide@gmail.com, and we’ll send you a copy along with a few instructions. • It Depends: A Guide to Peace Corps by Kelly  Branyik (China 2014–2016) Write With Light Publications LLC August 2017 116 pages $14.95 (paperback), $7.99 (Kindle) With advice, tips and stories from past Volunteers, this guide contains everything you need to make . . .

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