Archive - November 30, 2009

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When Real Writers Were Peace Corps Evaluators
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Key West Golf
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Publishers Weekly reviews PCV Matt Davis' Peace Corps Mongolian Memoir
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December RPCV Books

When Real Writers Were Peace Corps Evaluators

Dick Lipez’s (Ethiopia 1962-64) review of George Packer’s (Togo 1982-83) new collection of essays got me thinking about the early evaluators of the agency. Lipez was one of the first RPCVs to be hired by Charlie Peters in the Office of Evaluation, back in the summer of ’64. Maureen Carroll (Philippines 1961-63) and Mick McGuire (Pakistan 1962-64) were already working for Charlie, but I can’t recall other RPCVs in the Office of Evaluation. These three RPCVs were the first PCVs to end up working for Charlie. I believe Peggy Anderson (Togo 1962-64) also came on board that summer of ’64. Peggy is the author of Nurse and The Daughters: An Unconventional Look At America’s First Fan Club, among others books of non fiction. I remember meeting Peggy in the fall of ’64 when I went to work at the agency and thought she was the prettiest woman in Washington. The truth was, if you were a newly returned . . .

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Key West Golf

President Harry S. Truman is the only U.S. president who vacationed regularly in Key West. He spent 175 days at the Key West Naval Station Commandant’s house from 1946 to 1952. In the Keys, Truman wrote his State of the Union addresses, drafted legislation, fine tuned the national budget and issued an Executive Order on Civil Rights. He loved the weather and late night poker games at this winter White House which was cheek by jowl to Mallory Square, about as far south as you can get on U.S. 1. What Truman didn’t do was play golf, not that there was much golf to be played on an old nine-hole course located five miles up U.S. 1 on Stock Island. There is the story told that when Truman assigned General Dwight David Eisenhower to perform a series of military tasks around 1948-49 and the General came down with ileitis, the . . .

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Publishers Weekly reviews PCV Matt Davis' Peace Corps Mongolian Memoir

When Things Get Dark: A Mongolian Winter’s Tale by Matthew Davis (Mongolia 2000–02) Davis, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, recounts his two eventful years as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching in a small Mongolian town in his knowledgeable yet convoluted memoir. As a 23-year-old Midwesterner, nothing prepared him for the former Communist satellite, which is largely rural and teeming with the legacy of the Great Khan, yaks and goats being herded on the rugged steppes. Davis sees a landscape on the brink of change and a young population eager for a better life depicted in Internet cafes and media from the outside world. Yet the isolation and culture shock plunge him into “a dangerous place psychologically,” and alcohol abuse and mayhem result in a brutal drunken fight. Other than some standard travelogue facts on Mongolian history and culture, Davis is correct when he concludes . . .

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December RPCV Books

The Sophisticated Savage (Anthropological memoir) by Carla Seidl (Azerbaijan 2006–08) Inner Hearth Books $13.95 230 pages May 2009 • Whispering Campaign Stories from Mesoamerica by Lawrence F. Lihosit (Honduras 1975–77) iUniverse, Inc. $11.95 120 pages November, 2009 • Valley Views II Four Plays by Charles G. Blewitt (Grenada 1969–71) Offset Paperback $15.00 March 2009 • The Boys 1st North Dakota Volunteers in the Philippines John Durand (Philippines 1962–64) Puzzlebox Press $17.45 422 pages 2010 • Mosquito Conversations More Stories from the Upper Peninsula by Lauri Anderson (Nigeria 1965-67) North Star Press $14.95 139 pages July 2009 • Inherit The Family Marrying into Eastern Europe Stories by Vello Vikerkaar (Estonia 1992-94) Book Man 168 pages $15.99 October 2009 • Islands of Shadow, Islands of Light (Peace Corps Novel) By Yaron Glazer (Panama 1997-99) BookSurge 300 pages $18.99 July 2009 • Henry and Anthony (Young adult) by H. Lynn Beck (El Salvador, . . .

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