Archive - June 2012

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Pink
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Review of Peter Lefcourt’s An American Family
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Three Goals, Five Years
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Mark Shriver's Book about Sarge Now Published
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Bill Hemminger (Senegal 1973-75), an African Son

Pink

Susan O’Neill writes about her story “Pink”: The missionaries we knew in Venezuela were young men who always traveled in pairs. I’ve often toyed with the idea of what might happen if circumstance or fate separated them in some exotic locale. Then, five years ago, we traveled to Amsterdam for our younger son’s wedding to a Dutch woman. We wandered on foot or on bike over most of the center city, and I was amazed at how, when you’re not used to the layers of traffic — cars, trolleys, bikes, pedestrians —it’s an incredible challenge just to cross a street. The two ideas — paired missionaries, and the exotic, precarious city of Amsterdam — meshed in this story. It was once much longer, but I’ve tinkered with it over time, until it became rather naughty and twisted and something close to “flash fiction.” Pink by Susan O’Neill (Venezuela 1973–74) James . . .

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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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Mark Shriver's Book about Sarge Now Published

Mark Shriver book about his father–A Good Man Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver– will be official published on June 5, 2012. Mark will be everywhere talking about the book and his father, beginning with the Today Show on Monday, June 4. As he wrote me recently, ” I am nervous but excited — excited, really, to share Dad’s story of a strong faith that demanded acts of hope and love.  And those acts were the work of his life — the Peace Corps, Head Start, Job Corps, and Legal Services, to name a few; his efforts alongside my mom to spread Special Olympics around the world; and, most importantly, his role as father and grandfather.” Tom Brokaw of NBC has said of the book, “This is a deeply touching story of a famous family and the private joys and trials that came with it. Mark’s love letter to his Dad . . .

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Bill Hemminger (Senegal 1973-75), an African Son

Bill Hemminger (Senegal 1973-75) published African Son in April and will be reading from his book at Barnes & Noble Bookstore this Saturday, June 2, 2012, at 2 p.m. B&N is located at 624 S. Green River Road in Evansville, Indiana. Today Bill is Chair of the English Department at the University of Evansville where he also teaches French, translates African writers, writes poetry, plays classic music, and  authored “Friend of the Family” that won the 1994 Syndicated Fiction Project competition sponsored by National Public Radio. This is his first book. Bill started out in life by getting his B.A. from Columbia University. Next he studied piano at Juilliard in Manhattan, French at the Sorbonne, and then he went to Senegal. Later he got his Ph.D. in literature at Ohio University and followed that with Fulbrights to Madagascar and Cameroon. Bill wrote me recently to say, “My memories from my . . .

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