Archive - October 8, 2010

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Get ready for The 50th — Order Meisler's book now
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My Favorite Mad Man: Harris Wofford, Part Four

Get ready for The 50th — Order Meisler's book now

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 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 . . .

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My Favorite Mad Man: Harris Wofford, Part Four

That summer in Washington changed my life. It changed all our lives in one way or the other, but in most respects it was a peaceful few months. We were back on a college campus; we were living a simple routine of early morning exercises, breakfast, classes, lectures, and beers in a bar late at night. We had some money in our pockets, and we had little responsibility. It was a lovely time, and those of us who might worry, worried about being de-selected, not that we knew much about that process. We all thought we were going to Africa once this silly Training thing was over. For the most part it was vacation time. Only after two years in Addis Ababa, coming back and working for the agency, and going to Training sessions for new Volunteers to Ethiopia, did I find Training useful. Now, I knew, something about the Empire, and how to put into . . .

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