India

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Review: HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND AVOID SACRED COWS by David Macaray (India)
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Review — AMERICAN SAHIB by Eddie James Girdner (India)
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Review — Ripples in the Pond by Michael Stake (India 1966–68)
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Review of Arthur J. Frankel's (India 1966-68) Indian Summer: A Love Letter to India and the Story of India 29
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Thirty Years Later

Review: HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND AVOID SACRED COWS by David Macaray (India)

    How to Win Friends & Avoid Sacred Cows: Weird Adventures in India: Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims When the Peace Corps was New by David Macaray (India 1967-68) The Ardent Writer Press (Brownsboro, Alabama) December 2016 291 pages $29.95 (hardcover), $19.95 (paperback), $2.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Kitty Thuermer (PCV/Mali 1977-79) • Every Peace Corps Volunteer has a near-death story. For David Macaray, supplementing his diet of curry and rice with a ball of opium did the trick. But not to worry. Had he died, he wrote, “Our mothers and fathers would have received the obligatory telegram from the State Department: ‘Dear Parent: [stop] Your son ate opium, passed out, and set house on fire. [stop] He is deceased. [stop] Details to follow.” Fifty years later, one wonders if Macaray, in a fit of nostalgia, ingested a bit of opium while organizing this sometimes heartbreaking, but mostly hilarious, book. Because it’s not really . . .

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Review — AMERICAN SAHIB by Eddie James Girdner (India)

  American Sahib (novel) Eddie James Girdner (India 1968–70) CreateSpace March 2016 420 pages $14.90 (paperback) Reviewed by Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000-02, Madagascar 2002-03) • ONE OF THE GREAT liberties of the on-going tidal wave of self-publishing is that an author can go on as long as he wants. No longer do fussy editors slash and burn their way through your manuscript, no nitpicking gatekeepers naysay your style or plotting, or even the basic value of the endeavor at all. Turn the coin over, however, and the drawbacks are those same things. If engineers were allowed equal liberties, the landscape would be littered with deathtrap bridges. If ballerinas were so free, most would be falling down. In the back jacket copy to Eddie James Girdner’s overlong and plodding American Sahib, someone has lauded the book as, “The only novel ever written about the American Peace Corps experience in rural . . .

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Review — Ripples in the Pond by Michael Stake (India 1966–68)

  Ripples in the Pond: Reflections of a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from India by Michael Stake (India 1966–68) Inkwell Productions, 2014 371 pages $17.00 (paperback), $8.00 (Kindle) Reviewed by Barbara E. Joe (Honduras 2000–03) • ALL PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS HAVE a story to tell — a highly personal series of adventures to share. Thankfully, many are contributing to an archive about this unique historical experiment, with which fellow Volunteers can compare and contrast with their own experiences. Michael Stake has added his memoir, dating back to Peace Corps’ earliest days, a very readable book about that heady time when the agency was still feeling its way. Much has changed since, including less-ready acceptance of non-college graduates and no more assignments in India, where Stake was sent as a neophyte Agriculture Volunteer and where President Carter’s mother Lillian also served. Stake interrupts his college career to join because of uncertainty . . .

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Review of Arthur J. Frankel's (India 1966-68) Indian Summer: A Love Letter to India and the Story of India 29

Indian Summer: A Love Letter to India and the Story of India 29 by Arthur J. Frankel (India 1966-68) AuthorHouse $29.95 (hardback),20.66 (paperback), $7.99 (Kindle) 299 pages 2014 Reviewed by Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000-02, Madagascar 2002-03) ARTHUR J. FRANKEL’S Indian Summer: A Love Letter to India and the Story of India 29 tells the tale of the Peace Corps experience during one of its earliest periods, when the agency was just figuring out how best to prepare Americans for two years abroad, as well as place them once in country. Frankel’s group, which served in India from 1966–1968, coincidentally included my mother, then Alice Neuendorf, age 27. Though she’s never mentioned in the book, her blurry picture appears in the black and white photo section, standing in a white dress with other Volunteers in front of a Bangalore guesthouse. She’s told me stories about that guesthouse all my life, . . .

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Thirty Years Later

by Barbara Carey (India 1966-68) This essay was originally published July 2001 on PeaceCorpsWriters.org, and received the Moritz Thomsen Award in 2002. • “I DON’T UNDERSTAND what is ‘first class’” about this train car, my husband said. I looked around at the dirty, rusty old car, with bent bars on the open window, red betel juice stains on the walls, and the single hard seat in the small cabin. I looked through the bars to the bustling train station, with hawkers, beggars, food and magazine stalls, travelers, crying children, hungry dogs, and all the noise that went along with the bustling activity in the humid Bombay afternoon. I could smell the pungent odor that is always present in India — a combination of rotting garbage, sweaty bodies, and smoke from dung fires. The sights, sounds and smells were coming back to me after thirty years of being away. I suddenly . . .

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