SINCE ITS INAUGURATION, the Peace Corps has been an American emblem for world peace and friendship. Across the nation, there are 200,000 returned Volunteers — including members of Congress and ambassadors, novelists and university presidents, television commentators and journalists. Yet few Americans realize that through the past nine presidential administrations, the Peace Corps has sometimes tilted its agenda to meet the demands of the White House.

In his soon-to-be-released book,when-world-calls When the World Calls: The Inside Story of the Peace Corps and Its First Fifty Years [Beacon Press 2011], Stanley Meisler discloses, for instance, how Lyndon Johnson became furious when Volunteers opposed his invasion of the Dominican Republic; he reveals how Richard Nixon literally tried to destroy the Peace Corps, and he shows how Ronald Reagan endeavored to make it an instrument of foreign policy in Central America. But somehow the ethos of the Peace Corps endured.

In the early years, Meisler was deputy director of the Peace Corps’ Office of Evaluation and Research — and his unswerving commitment to write an unauthorized and balanced history results in a nuanced portrait of one of our most valued, and complex, institutions.

Quotes about the book —

“This is a wonderful portrait of the Peace Corps, its tangled history, its people and its mission. It is a timely reminder of how it is possible to bring hope and change to the world. Stanley Meisler — a distinguished foreign correspondent - is just the man to tell this story.” — Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963–65)

“This is a major development in the story of the Peace Corps. It is a history that has been written by a talented writer who knows the agency from the inside and from the early days, and a journalist who has observed PCVs at work around the world.” — John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962–64)

To pre-order When the World Calls from Amazon, click on the book cover or the bold book title — and Peace Corps Worldwide, an Amazon Associate, will receive a small remittance that helps support our awards.