Author - Marian Haley Beil

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Review — SPECTATORS by Rob Davidson (Grenada)
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PC Sunset Positions
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New books by Peace Corps writers — January 2018
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Reading and promoting Peace Corps writers
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New books by Peace Corps writers — December, 2017
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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)

Review — SPECTATORS by Rob Davidson (Grenada)

  Spectators (Flash Fiction) by Rob Davidson (Eastern Caribbean—Grenada, West Indies 1990-92) Five Oaks Press May 2016 56 pages $15.79 (paperback) Reviewed by D.W. Jefferson •   This is a slender volume of only 56 pages, but, unlike a novel of similar length, it should not be a quick read. These essays deserve re-reading and study. Ultimately this book is about the compulsion to write or engage in other artistic endeavor, the need to give meaning to life by expressing oneself.  For that which one cannot help but do becomes that which one must do. (from “Clean Pilgrim,” p. 7) Author Rob Davidson teaches creative writing. Spectators teaches writing and creative arts by example. Aspiring writers should read and re-read this collection of essays as they write their own essays, poems and chapters. Davidson’s essays are free verse poems, focusing on meaning rather than meter and rhyme, or portraits executed . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — January 2018

  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. • Chasing Heisenberg: The Race for the Atom Bomb Michael  Joseloff (Tunisia 1967–69) Amazon Publishing January 2018 148 pages $2.99 (Kindle) • Shade of the Paraiso: Two Years in Paraguay, South America – A Memoir Mark  Salvatore (Paraguay 1989–91) Melbourne: Vine Leaves Press . . .

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Reading and promoting Peace Corps writers

From John Coyne: In this age of technology where we have fewer and fewer books and everyone walks around town with their eyes glued to iPhones, it does us all good to promote the books written by RPCVs about their experiences as Volunteers and as travelers in the world. To promote the story of the Peace Corps through nonfiction, fiction and poetry is the central reason why Marian Haley Beil and I started Peace Corps Writers & Readers back in the Seventies and continue that mission today on this website. I also take any opportunity I can to write about RPCV books. As a parttime travel writer for a Westchester, New York newspaper, I just published a short piece about five travel books by former Volunteers hoping to encourage sales and spread their knowledge of foreign counties. I’d suggest if you have a favorite RPCV book, try and get it . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — December, 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. • Dusty Land: Stories of Two Teachers in the Kalahari John Ashford (Botswana 1990–92) Peace Corps Writers December, 2017 260 pages $13.00 (paperback) Although theses stories took place in the ’90s, they have a timelessness that sheds light onto our current times . . .

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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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