Archive - June 4, 2012

1
Review of Peter Lefcourt’s An American Family
2
Three Goals, Five Years

Review of Peter Lefcourt’s An American Family

An American Family Peter Lefcourt (Togo 1962–64) Amazon Digital $3.99 (Kindle) 454 pages March 2012 Reviewed by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962–64) Over the weekend I read two family sagas: A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor, the late great southern writer from Tennessee, and Peter Lefcourt’s An American Family. The novels couldn’t have been more different. Taylor came out of that rich southern tradition of liquid prose, a fellow traveler of Faulkner, Caroline Gordon, Tennessee Williams, Katherine Anne Porter, William Styron, and many more, including our own Bob Shacochis (Eastern Caribbean 1975–76) and Kathleen Coskran (Ethiopia 1965–67). Taylor’s novel was published in 1986 by Alfred A. Knopf. For some reason, and I don’t why, I happen to have an autographed first edition of this book. Like all Knopf books, it is a work of art, the Note on Type says it was set on the Linotype in Janson, “a recutting . . .

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Three Goals, Five Years

The first number speaks to the Goals of the Peace Corps spelled out, with typical Kennedy eloquence, fifty years ago. The second is the Five Year Rule that defines the unique tenure law in the Peace Corps personnel system, limiting most appointments to a total of five years. The Goals are timeless, but the rule of “Five Years” may be changing. Last year, Inspector General of the Peace Corps announced a review of the Five Year Rule. The final draft of that evaluation and its recommendations are being reviewed. The Inspector General expects to publish the final report anytime within the next 30 days. I make the argument that Peace Corps has been most successful in accomplishing Goal Two – Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served- and Three-Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served. These . . .

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