Archive - July 2010

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Mad Man # 12
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Mad Man # 11
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Mad Man # 10
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Mad Man # 9
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2010 Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award for 2009 Won by Laurence Leamer
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Review of Leita Kaldi's (Senegal 1993–96) Roller Skating in the Desert
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Mad Man # 8
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2010 Maria Thomas Fiction Award goes to In An Uncharted Country by Clifford Garstang
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Mad Man # 7
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Mad Man # 6–The Wisconsin Plan

Mad Man # 12

Trouble, however, was brewing for the Wisconsin Plan. Evaluator Dave Gelman was warning that unless the Peace Corps gave priority for quality over quantity, the Peace Corps would not only acquire too many “high-risk” applicants but also “drink dry the well of potential recruits.” (Remember those Trainees? High Risk/Low Gain?) Gelman felt Gale’s method was wrong and warned about the “evils of excess” and the grave danger of becoming over-eager to ‘sign-up’ people of  two years of service. “The Marines had long since landed.” Gelman wrote. One young applicant expressed his disappointment at the Wisconsin Plan style this way: ‘I thought we were something special. Then I saw that they were just pulling people off the street and testing them later.” Gelman was an early Evaluator and a tough son-of-a-bitch. I did not know him, but I watched him in the hallways of the building. He always appeared to be in a . . .

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Mad Man # 11

Bob Gale was apprehensive being called into Moyers’s office. It wasn’t Moyers’s way to have a tete-a-tete. Moyers was edgy standing behind his desk, and while only about 27 at the time, he appeared “fatherly,” thought Bob. There had been talk, Bill told Gale. Talk of ‘after-hour’ antics on the California advance trip. Moyers told Gale that as the head of Recruitment it was his responsibility to behave himself, and to see that others did at well. They (the recruiters) had no right to ‘party on a business trip at government expense.’ He told Gale that his ‘antics’ could bring shame to the Peace Corps. “He was being very‘Baptist’ with me,” Gale recalled. Moyers had also been “thoroughly informed” as to all of their doings in California and had exaggerated them in his mind, or his informer had exaggerated them to the Deputy Director of the Peace Corps. Moyers told Gale that it was . . .

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Mad Man # 10

The most famous recruitment trip of them all was in early October 1963. It was the one that gave rise to the term, blitz recruiting. Gale put together five advance teams and five follow-up teams. Each team spent a week in southern California and then a week in northern California, visiting every major campus in both areas. Coates Redmon sums up the ‘teams’ in her book. “One advance team consisting of Nan McEvoy, then deputy director of the Africa Regional Office, and Frank Erwin, then deputy director of Selection, were assigned first to Los Angeles Sate University (where there was only modest interest in the Peace Corps) and next to San Francisco State University (where there was considerable interests). Bob Gale, Linda Lyle (his secretary) and Dough Kiker took on the University of Southern California in the south and then the University of California at Berkeley in the north. Gale had friends . . .

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Mad Man # 9

Jay Rockefeller had no interest in going out on a blind date with Lennie Radley when he arrived at the University of Michigan. As he emphatically told Gale. “Bob, I’m not seeing her. I have traveled fifty thousand miles in the past five weeks. And now I am going to bed.” You can’t, Gale insisted, begging Rockefeller, grabbing the young man by the shoulders. Gale had promised the young woman. She had lost her brother in the Peace Corps.  It was as if the whole future of the Peace Corps depended on getting Rockefeller to go on this blind date. “Okay, Bob,” Jay answered. “I’ll do it. But only if you take out her roommate and go with me.” “I can’t! I’m a married man!” “I don’t care.” “Besides, she might not have a roommate.” “She’s got a girlfriend. If I’m going; you’re going.” The two recruiters double dated for the sake of the future of . . .

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2010 Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award for 2009 Won by Laurence Leamer

PEACE CORPS WRITERS is pleased to announce that Madness Under the Royal Palms: Love and Death Behind the Gates of Palm Beach by Laurence Leamer (Nepal 1965-67)  has won the 2010 Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award for the outstanding non-fiction book published by a Peace Corps writer during 2009. Leamer will receive a framed certificate and a prize of $200. • Laurence Leamer has had a lifelong career as a freelance writer following a one-year stint as an associate editor at Newsweek. His first book, The Paper Revolutionaries: The Rise of the Underground Press [Simon & Schuster 1972], was written with a grant from the Twentieth Century Fund. Upon publication, Leamer left New York City to live in a trailer park in Lanark, West Virginia where he worked in a coal mine and wrote an article for Harper’s about his experience. That led to other assignments for the magazine including covering . . .

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Review of Leita Kaldi's (Senegal 1993–96) Roller Skating in the Desert

Reviewer Tony D’Souza’s  new novel The Mule, will be released by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt next year. His other novels, Whiteman and The Konkans, won many prizes including the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Maria Thomas Prize from Peace Corps Writers, and Florida gold and silver medals for fiction. Tony has contributed to The New Yorker, Playboy, Esquire, Outside, Granta, McSweeney’s, the O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Fantasy, and has received an NEA, a Japan Friendship NEA, and a Guggenheim. He lives in Sarasota, FL, with his wife Jessyka and their two young children. Here he reviews Leita Kaldi’s memoir Roller Skating in the Desert. • Roller Skating in the Desert Leita Kaldi (Senegal 1993–96) PublishAmerica 2007 $24.95 Reviewed by Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000–02, Madagascar 2002–03) WHAT’S MOST ENJOYABLE about Roller Skating in the Desert, Leita Kaldi’s unique memoir about her three . . .

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Mad Man # 8

“What do you mean, Sarge?” Bob Gale asked, alone in the conference room with Shriver. “The school year is over. It’s the end of April. The students spend May studying for finals. It’s a tense time on campus. I don’t think we should impose ourselves. We hit Wisconsin at a perfect time. But there won’t be another perfect time until next fall.” Shriver wasn’t having any of that. “What’s the nearest equivalent of a school like Wisconsin?” Shriver wanted to know, disregarding Gale’s protests. “We need a big, liberal-learning place where you have contacts?” Shriver was on one side of the long conference table, leaning back in his chair, asking questions. Gale was on the other side, keeping his distance, pacing back and forth. A moving target was harder to hit, he kept thinking. “Michigan,” Gale finally answered, sighing. He had to say something. There was no turning back. Haddad had abandoned . . .

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2010 Maria Thomas Fiction Award goes to In An Uncharted Country by Clifford Garstang

PEACE CORPS WRITERS is pleased to announce that In An Uncharted Country by Clifford Garstang  (South Korea 1976–78) has won the 2010 Maria Thomas Fiction Award for the outstanding fiction book published by a Peace Corps writer during 2009. Clifford will receive a framed certificate and a prize of $200. In An Uncharted Country showcases ordinary men and women in and around Rugglesville, Virginia, as they struggle to find places and identities in their families and the community. This collection of short stories is Garstang’s first published book, and it has also won the Independent Publisher’s IPPY Gold Medal this year for Best Fiction in the Mid Atlantic. Clifford Garstang grew up in the Midwest and received a BA from Northwestern University. After serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer, he earned an MA in English and a JD, both from Indiana University, and practiced international law in Singapore, Chicago, and . . .

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Mad Man # 7

Returning to D.C. after their Madison trip Gale and Kiker walked into a senior staff meeting and were greeted by cheers and applause, a standing ovation for what they had achieved in Wisconsin. Howard Greenberg was the first to speak up at the senior staff meeting that morning after the round of applause and words of congratulations from the Mad Men & Mad Women. This old tough government bureaucrat was the Associate Director for the Office of Management. He controlled the funds appropriated by Congress, and was a long time government employee. He had seen it all. He wasn’t easily impressed by a couple of guys wet behind the ears when it came to “Washington ways.” He began the meeting by saying: “Gale and Kiker here, went out to Wisconsin two weeks ago and they broke more rules and regulations than anyone in the United States government, as far as I know. Thought I won’t go so far as to say they’ve broken . . .

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Mad Man # 6–The Wisconsin Plan

Following Sarge’s ‘T’riffic!’ and approval for the new recruitment campaign, Gale went up to his rabbit warren of rooms and started to call everyone he knew at the University of Wisconsin. “They were all old pals of mine, and they were going ape over the phone about my plans for the Peace Corps at the university. But it wasn’t an easy job of recruitment. In 1963, the campus covered nine hundred acres on the shores of Lake Mendota. There were over 17,000 undergraduates, another 7,000 grad students. Gale realized early on that he (and the Peace Corps) had to see the recruitment trip as a presidential campaign. There were two of them, Doug Kiker and Bob Gale, assigned by Sarge to do the first campaign–neither of them knew each other at HQ, both were new to the Peace Corps. They couldn’t do it all, so Gale decided on a second team to arrive in . . .

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