Archive - June 21, 2011

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Review of Ruth Jacobson's memoir of Liberia
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Review of James P. Gray’s A Voter’s Handbook
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Gatsby Lives!

Review of Ruth Jacobson's memoir of Liberia

You Never Try, You Never Know: Six Year in Liberia by Ruth Jacobson (Liberia 1971-77) Court Street Press $18.95, paperback; $6.95 e-book 402 pages 2011 Reviewed by Geraldine Kennedy (Liberia 1962–64) RUTH JACOBSON AND HER HUSBAND HAROLD were in their 50s when they joined the Peace Corps in 1971. By then they were well experienced in their professions — she a nurse, he a mechanic. Their two daughters were grown. They were just the kind of people both the Peace Corps and host countries needed and valued. Well, it seems one of them was more valued than the other — we’ll get to that. You Never Try, You Never Know is a collection of letters Ruth wrote to family members, primarily to her mother, about the Jacobson’s six years in Liberia. It is a one-way correspondence to people she loved about a life she embraced. During their orientation and training . . .

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Review of James P. Gray’s A Voter’s Handbook

A Voter’s Handbook: Effective Solutions to America’s Problems by James P. Gray (Costa Rica 1966–68) The Forum Press 200 pages $17.95 2010 Reviewed by Ken Hill (Turkey 1965-67)   A VOTER’S HANDBOOK poses solutions for a myriad of public policy issues based on the assertion that government is the central problem which can be fixed by reducing government’s span and resources. Shrink government; grow entrepreneurship; expand “choice” and go back to “American Fundamentals,” says Mr. Gray. In the process, thankfully, he poses some practical approaches to a few of today’s most vexing issues; illegal immigration, for example, and treating the mentally ill who are not institutionalized.   A lawyer and judge, Mr. Gray has spent his life in the law, wandering occasionally into politics. A Republican candidate for Congress in 1998, he later ran as a Libertarian candidate in the 2004 California Senatorial race. In 2009, Mr. Gray retired after 25 years as . . .

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Gatsby Lives!

Gatsby Lives! You might have seen the piece written by Sara Rimer in the New York Times about high school students (mostly smart immigrant kids going to schools like Boston Latin) who are reading The Great Gatsby and connecting with Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel and the famous image at the end of the book where F. Scott writes about the “green light” that lured the Dutch settler to the new land. What struck me was not so much their interpretation of the famous ending of the book, but that Fitzgerald was even being read by this generation of first- and second-generation immigrants in America. As the TIMES article points out Gatsby, the novel, “had fallen into near obscurity” by the time Fitzgerald died in 1940. It came back into vogue in the 1950s and 1960s when a trade paperback version was reissued. But also because of the biography of Zelda Fitzgerald written . . .

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