Archive - June 2012

1
CorpsAfrica Hold Event in NYC in Memory of Ambassador Holbrooke
2
Wofford/Shriver/King in the Fog of Political History
3
Larry Leamer (Nepal 1965-67) "The Last Days of Mary Kennedy" in Current Newsweek Issue
4
Kirkus gives COOPER’S PROMISE rave review
5
Ben Hogan at the Century County Club, The Beginning of His Career
6
Review of P.F. Kluge's The Master Blaster
7
Richard Lipez (Ethiopia 1962-64) wins Lambda Literary Award
8
Review of Toby Lester's DaVinci's Ghost
9
Kevin Lowther on Blog Talk Radio This Thursday
10
Bill Moyers is 78 Today!

CorpsAfrica Hold Event in NYC in Memory of Ambassador Holbrooke

Liz Fanning (Morocco 1993-94) served as a PCV in the High Atlas Mountains, where she lived in a small Berber village and worked on environmental sustainability projects. Since she has come home, Liz has worked in a wide range of non-profit organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Schoolhouse Supplies and the Near East Foundation, and she was a founding Board member and Vice President for six years of the High Atlas Foundation, a nonprofit organized by former Peace Corps volunteers from Morocco. Then in 2011 she started CorpsAfrica to provide young adults in Africa the opportunity to serve as volunteers in their own countries. CorpsAfrica is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. She is inviting everyone in New York City to a cocktail reception to pay tribute to Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. It is on Wednesday, June 20th from 6 pm-8 pm. Holbrooke served as Morocco Country Director for the Peace Corps . . .

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Wofford/Shriver/King in the Fog of Political History

This afternoon while having lunch I caught Andrea Mitchell’s program on MSNBC. Around 1:45 EST she was interviewing Mark Shriver on his book about his Dad, A Good Man. Early in this interview, they started to talk about Sarge and his friendship with Martin Luther King back in Chicago when Shriver was head of the Board of Education for the City. Next, they shifted to Kennedy nomination and the famous spontaneous phone call that JFK made to Coretta King on the day her husband had been tossed into a jail for a civil rights protest. It was a politically risky telephone call by Kennedy, and any one his advisers would have stopped it, had they been in the room. It turned out to be a key political gesture by Kennedy and turned the Black Vote for him that November. Andrea Mitchell directed the MSNBC conversation this afternoon and Mark went . . .

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Larry Leamer (Nepal 1965-67) "The Last Days of Mary Kennedy" in Current Newsweek Issue

Jun 11, 2012 1:00 AM EDT She was the love of Bobby Jr.’s life. Then everything unraveled. In Newsweek, bestselling Kennedy historian Laurence Leamer reveals the heartbreaking story of Mary’s long decline, including: The account of the couple’s longtime housekeeper, who recalls Mary’s self-destructive drinking habit, her depression in the days leading up her suicide-and tells how she and Bobby discovered Mary dead in the estate’s barn. Details from Bobby Jr.’s sealed divorce affidavit, which contains allegations that Mary physically abused him, stole personal items from his daughter, ran over the family’s dog in the driveway, and repeatedly threatened to kill herself An interview with Harvard psychiatrist Dr. John Gunderson, who had met Mary and believes she had a textbook case of Borderline Personality Disorder More at:http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/06/10/the-last-days-of-mary-richardson-kennedy.html

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Kirkus gives COOPER’S PROMISE rave review

Cooper’s Promise by Timothy Jay Smith (Program Consultant: Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine and Armenia) iUniverse, $15.95 209 pages April, 2011 COOPER’S PROMISE (reviewed on July 15, 2012) In Smith’s debut novel, a former American soldier hiding out in a small African country can’t escape the ghosts of his past. Sgt. Cooper, an Army deserter, spends his days in Lalanga drinking cheap gin in a dive. He makes a promise to Lulay, a young girl who sells herself each night, to someday take her away. What little money Cooper makes comes from buying smuggled diamonds from a blind boy and his sister, and turning a meager profit at an Arab merchant’s shop. There, he meets the merchant’s son, Sadiq, with whom he becomes quickly enamored; he longs to accidentally run into him at a local hammam (a bathhouse and massage parlor). But Cooper’s life is confounded by a strange . . .

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Ben Hogan at the Century County Club, The Beginning of His Career

The end of Ben Hogan’s brilliant golf career in many ways came to its sad conclusion when an unknown municipal golf pro named Jack Fleck upset him at the 1955 U.S. Open played at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. Capturing that moment again for us are two great books that have just been published: The Longest Shot by Neil Sagebiel (Thomas Dunne Books) and The Upset by Al Barkow (Chicago Review Press). These books read like novels (even though we know the outcome) and they take us back once more to that suspenseful summer Sunday in mid-June of ’55. These books also bring the golf world into focus with the return next week to Olympic Club of the 2012 U.S. Open. For a certain generation of golfers who can never read enough about Ben Hogan, both accounts of that tournament are great reads. Finally we have worthy bookends to . . .

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Review of P.F. Kluge's The Master Blaster

The Master Blaster by P.F. Kluge (Micronesia 1967–69) Overlook Press 302 pages $26.95 (hardback); $12.99 (Kindle) March 2012 Reviewed by Reilly Ridgell (Micronesia 1971–73) OF ALL THE RPCV WRITERS who have come out of Micronesia, P.F. Kluge is perhaps the most successful. He has had published by mainstream traditional publishers a total of nine novels and two non-fiction works. Most of the RPCV writers who get reviewed on this site are either self-published or published by small presses with scant resources for marketing. Kluge has had two of his writings made into movies. Real, Hollywood movies. I must admit, I envy his success. I had read two of his works before: The Day I Die: A Novel of Suspense [Bobbs-Merrill 1976] set mostly in Palau, and The Edge of Paradise: America in Micronesia [Random House 1991], his Micronesia memoir prompted in part by the suicide of a Micronesian leader he . . .

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Richard Lipez (Ethiopia 1962-64) wins Lambda Literary Award

The winners of the 24th Annual Lambda Literary Awards were announced on Monday night, June 4, 2012, during a sold-out gala ceremony hosted by comedienne Kate Clinton at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. RPCV writer Richard Lipez (Ethiopia 1962–64) writing at Richard Stevenson, won the Gay Mystery award for his novel Red White Black and Blue, published by MLR Press. Taking place the same week of Book Expo America — the book publishing industry’s largest annual gathering of booksellers, publishers, and others in the industry — the Lambda ceremony brought together over 400 attendees, sponsors, and celebrities to celebrate excellence in LGBT literature. As “mastress” of ceremonies, Clinton treated the audience to her brand of topical, political comedy. She joked, “If you’re here to buy a Big Gulp or smoke a cigarette in a park . . . you’ll have to go to New Jersey.” Later she . . .

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Review of Toby Lester's DaVinci's Ghost

Da Vinci’s Ghost: Genius, Obsession, and How Leonardo Created the World in His Own Image by Toby Lester (Yemen 1988–90) Free Press $26.99 (hardback), $16.99 (Kindle) 230 pages 2012 Reviewed by Richard Lipez (Ethiopia 1962–64) TOBY LESTER’S DELIGHTFUL BOOK about Leonardo da Vinci reminds me of my mother-in-law. Barbara Wheaton is both a renowned professional food historian and an accomplished amateur art historian who, on a recent family trip to Paris, told the rest of us in her clear-headed and often witty way everything we needed to know about everything we saw, heard or tasted, but never more than we wanted to know. Like Barbara, Toby Lester is the best kind of traveling companion, especially when visiting places we’ve probably been to before, like Paris, or in Lester’s case ancient Rome and Renaissance Italy. Who would have thought that surprises about these places were still in store, or that there . . .

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Kevin Lowther on Blog Talk Radio This Thursday

Kevin Lowther’s (Sierra Leone 1963-65)  will be interviewed on Blog Talk Radio, Thursday, June 7 at 9 pm EST. The subject will be his book, The African American Odyssey of John Kizell. The host is Bernice Bennett of “Research at the National Archives and Beyond.” The link is below. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bernicebennett/2012/06/08/the-african-american-odyssey-of-john-kizell–kevin-lowther#. Tune In!

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Bill Moyers is 78 Today!

I have written a number of times about Bill Moyers on this site. He is important to the history of the agency, and he also is great copy. Moyers started out at the Peace Corps at age 27 or so, as the Associate Director for Public Affairs, and later was the Deputy Director under Shriver, In 1986, he spoke at the Arlington National Cemetery Amphitheatre on the 25th anniversary of the agency. Here is a short except of what he said that bright September Sunday morning. It is, in my opinion, one of the finest statements about the Peace Corps and our place in American history. Moyers Remarks “We are struggling today with the imperative of a new understanding of patriotism and citizenship. The Peace Corps has been showing us the way, and the Volunteers and staff whom we honor this morning are the vanguard of that journey. To be a . . .

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