Archive - December 8, 2011

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The Peace Corps' First Book About the Peace Corps
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Reports of My Death:Beyond-the-Grave Confessions of North American Writers

The Peace Corps' First Book About the Peace Corps

In the mid-sixties, the Peace Corps as an agency realized that they had a lot of Volunteer stories that they could use for Recruitment so the Office of Public Information, as it was then called, began its own publications. In September 1968 they published The Peace Corps Reader with the declaimer, “The opinions expressed in the Peace Corps Reader are those of the authors and may or may not coincide with official Peace Corps policy.” Ain’t that the truth! This Peace Corps book, which, by the way, was given away free as a government publication, republished several copyrighted pieces including Jack Vaughn’s “Now We are Seven” published in 1968 in the Saturday Review; and Sargent Shriver’s 1966 essay, also published in the Saturday Review, “Five Years with the Peace Corps.” There was “The Quiet-mouth American” by Donald Lloyd, published in 1963 in Harper’s Magazine. Lloyd was the founder of Resources Development . . .

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Reports of My Death:Beyond-the-Grave Confessions of North American Writers

This isn’t the Christmas Season or the Holiday Season as much as it is the Season of Big Books by RPCVs! Having received last week: War of Hearts and Mind: An American Memoir, which comes in at 618 pages and written by James Jouppi (Thailand 1971-73), this week in the mail came: Reports of My Death: Beyond-the-Grave Confessions of North American Writers by Girard R. Christmas (Thailand 1973-76; Western Samoa 1976-78).  This tome is 660 pages! Both of these books are self-published. And, by the way, what’s with these Thailand RPCVs? Do they have too much time on their hands and that is why they are writing such long books? Reports of My Death, aka, ROMD, is the labor of love of Gerry Christmas. It took him twenty years to research and write. “As a teenager,” he wrote me, “I always hated the way authors were presented in textbooks. Reports of . . .

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