Author - Marian Haley Beil

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Review — BOLIVIA 30 by Frank Darmiento (Bolivia)
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Review — WHITE MOON IN A POWDER BLUE SKY by Julie Dargis (Morocco)
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Anson Lihosit (Panama) publishes PEACE CORPS EPIPHANIES
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New books by Peace Corps writers — August 2017
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Review — INDIA-40 AND THE CIRCLE OF DEMONS by Peter Adler (India)
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Review — IN THE BELLY OF THE ELEPHANT by Susan Corbett (Liberia)
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Review — MUKHO MEMORIES by Don Haffner (Korea)
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The 2017 Peace Corps Writers Awards Announced
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Review — SAMI THE WOOLY by Jay Hersch (Colombia)
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Reviews — MOLP and KMEDJZIK by Woody Starkweather (Kazakhstan)

Review — BOLIVIA 30 by Frank Darmiento (Bolivia)

  Bolivia 30: Life as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the 1960s Frank T. Darmiento (Bolivia ), author and editor CreateSpace April 2015 172 pages $24.99 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Mark D. Walker (Guatemala 1971–73) • Frank Darmiento, the author of Bolivia 30 provides a unique perspective of life in the Peace Corps in Bolivia by sharing in great detail his own story of the training process in the U.S. as well as when serving in Bolivia with his young wife. His book also includes dozen stories of others who were in his training group, which added to the texture and broadened the diversity of perspectives. Twenty four photos, most of them in color, greatly enhance the stories of places and circumstances we could not imagine. Darmiento provides a detailed description of the life of a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in a very isolated part of South America. I commiserated . . .

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Review — WHITE MOON IN A POWDER BLUE SKY by Julie Dargis (Morocco)

  White Moon in a Powder Blue Sky: A Primer in Healing from both Sides of the Veil in Memoir, Sonnets and Prose by Julie R. Dargis (Morocco 1984–87) Indie House Press July 2016 78 pages $9.50 (paperback) Reviewed by Taylor Barahona (Dominican Republic (2015–17) • With a bold and unique approach, Julie R. Dargis sets out to bring her readers on a spiritual journey through her book White Moon in a Powder Blue Sky: A Primer in Healing from both Sides of the Veil in Memoir, Sonnets and Prose. Dargis successfully captures a feeling that will surely resonate for any reader who dedicates themselves to serving the greater good and finds it difficult to step back and take care of themselves. Dargis writes, in her Author’s Note: I had been ready and willing to undertake anything that would have been asked of me. But what I was being told, in . . .

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Anson Lihosit (Panama) publishes PEACE CORPS EPIPHANIES

  New Peace Corps Experience Memoir/Panama   Anson K. Lihosit recently trudged home after two years’ service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama. An urban planner by trade, he was recruited to teach English. Before packing again to begin a masters degree program in urban planning at the University of Arizona in Tucson, he wrote and published a book about his Peace Corps experience titled Peace Corps Epiphanies: Panama. Assigned to a remote village near the famous Darien Gap and 95 miles from the Colombian border, he assisted middle and high school teachers, offered community night classes, and assisted other Volunteers with conferences for indigenous people that offered him the opportunity to visit other parts of the country. In his book, Lihosit describes Peace Corps Training, and life in the rural Panama. Like all Volunteers, he had difficulty adjusting to a new culture and language as well as dealing with . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — August 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. • 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) Following retirement, the author and her husband served as Peace Corps Volunteers at the Sierra . . .

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Review — INDIA-40 AND THE CIRCLE OF DEMONS by Peter Adler (India)

  India-40 and the Circle of Demons: A Memoir of Death, Sickness, Love, Friendship, Corruption, Political Fanatics, Drugs, Thugs, Psychosis, and Illumination in the Us Peace Corps by Peter S. Adler (Maharashtra, India 1966–68) Xlibris June 2017 406 pages $23.99 (paperback), $3.99 (Kindle), $34.99 (hard cover) Reviewed by Richard M. Grimsrud (Bihar, India 1965–67) • THE SAGA OF A CENTRAL INDIAN PEACE CORPS GROUP This well-written, and almost perfectly presented memoir (I noticed only 2 typos in my reading of it, astounding for any book of 383 pages), was generally slow going for me at the beginning, became a page-turner largely because of its excellent irony in its extended middle section, and bogged down some at the end, perhaps, because it was a bit verbose and excessively philosophical in its conclusion. Nevertheless, India-4o . . . is certainly a good read for anyone with an interest in India and its development over the . . .

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Review — IN THE BELLY OF THE ELEPHANT by Susan Corbett (Liberia)

  In the Belly of the Elephant: A Memoir of Africa Susan Corbett (Liberia 1976–79) CreateSpace March 2016 396 pages $14.99 (paperback), $4.99 (Kindle)   Reviewed by Brooks Marmon (Niger 2008–10) • IN THE BELLY OF THE ELEPHANT is Susan Corbett’s memoir of her life as an aid worker with Save the Children in Burkina Faso (then called Upper Volta) in the early 1980s, following her Peace Corps service in Liberia. Amidst descriptions of a hard scrabble life in Dori, a small town near the border with Niger, Corbett weaves in occasional reminiscences of her service in Liberia and the harsh attitudes of many of her family members in the US to her decision to work in west Africa. Much of the work can be quite jarring — a reflection of both Corbett’s experiences in the harsh climate of the Sahel as well as an extremely candid writing style. While the book . . .

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Review — MUKHO MEMORIES by Don Haffner (Korea)

  Mukho Memories: A Peace Corps/Korea Memoir by Don  Haffner (Korea 1972–75) Dog Ear Publishing May 2017 406 pages $20.00 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Clifford Garstang (Korea 1976–77) • MUKHO MEMORIES BY DON HAFFNER (Korea, 1972–75) is the fourth or fifth Peace Corps Korea memoir I’ve read. While the personalities of the authors make each distinct, these volumes (and likely Peace Corps memoirs about other countries of service as well) all tell roughly the same story: idealistic young American comes to an under-developed country, discovers the wonders and peculiarities of the place, and returns home forever changed by the experience. As a Korea RPCV myself (I arrived in Korea a few months after Haffner left), my own memories are quite similar to Haffner’s: the anxiety of being outside the US for the first time, in a non-English speaking country, no less; the triple-whammy shock of new cuisine, new culture, and . . .

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The 2017 Peace Corps Writers Awards Announced

  The 2017 Peace Corps Writers Awards for books published in 2016 were announced at the recent NPCA Conference. Marian Haley Beil and I were pleased and extremely fortunate to have Jane Albritton (India 1967-69) senior editor of four books of essays by RPCVs published by Travelers’ Tales/Solas House present the awards. Here are the 2017 Peace Corps Writers Award Winners. JC   For more about the awards and previous winners — CLICK • The Maria Thomas Fiction Award Judenstaat Simone Zelitch (Hungary 1991–93) Tor Books, June 2016 JUDENSTAAT IS A NOVEL of vast historical imagination — also a fantasy engendered from grief, from love, and from the devastating particulars of Europe’s 20th century tragedy. Simone Zelitch’s page-turning alternate history is the uncanny precision with which she has deftly transformed the threads of actual events into the stunning new fabric of her novel. Judenstaat raises profound questions about the cost of the Zionist . . .

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Review — SAMI THE WOOLY by Jay Hersch (Colombia)

  Sami the Wooly: The Most Beautiful Dog in the World by Jay Hersch (Colombia 1964–66) Peace Corps Writers March 2017 88 pages $12.50 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle) Review by: D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • AS YOU CAN SURMISE from the title, Sami the Wooly has a target audience of readers who are dog lovers. In addition to telling Sami’s story, it touches on the lives of six other Siberian Huskies that the author and his family have had in their lives. The author gushes over all of the huskies, but describes Sami as extremely special. For those interested in the Siberian Husky breed, there is just enough history of the breed. Also there is just a bit of information about dealing with a breed association and professional dog breeders. The author points out that the high-energy, freedom-loving huskies are not the right dog breed for everybody, and gives . . .

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Reviews — MOLP and KMEDJZIK by Woody Starkweather (Kazakhstan)

  MOLP: Charles & Louise, Book 1 by Woody Starkweather (Kazakhstan 2004–06) Birch Tree Books November 2016 (2nd edition) 264 pages $11.99 (paperback), $4.99 (Kindle), $14.95 (Audible)   KMEDJZIK: Charles & Louise, Book 2 by Woody Starkweather (Kazakhstan 2004–06) Birch Tree Books November 2016 229 pages $11.99 (paperback), $4.99 (Kindle)   Reviewed by Don Messerschmidt (Nepal 1963–65) • EVERY PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER returns from abroad with rich knowledge of a place and its people, with new and insightful cultural perspectives, and often with enough story material in head and heart to write a novel, or two . . . or more. Author Woody Starkweather is a case in point. He and his wife Janet Givens taught English in Central Asia and are now using their international experience for writing. Janet does memoirs, Woody does novels. The novels reviewed here are the first two in a series. They are entitled MOLP and KMEDJZIK, but I . . .

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