Archive - May 2016

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New books by Peace Corps writers — April 2016
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Review — THE LYNCHING by Laurence Leamer (Nepal)
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PC Writers MFA Program: Now Open for RPCVs and PCVs
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Review — BREATHING THE SAME AIR by Gerry Christmas (Thailand, Western Samoa)
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Review — SWIMMING by Karl Luntta (Botswana)
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Review — BLOOD UPON THE SNOW by Martin Ganzglass (Somalia)
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Andy Martin (Ethiopia) still explaining American English to the world
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A film worth watching: A PASSING OF THE TORCH
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Review — LOVE OR JUSTICE by Rachel Mannino (DC/staff)
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The Snugli, happy babies and the Peace Corps

New books by Peace Corps writers — April 2016

To purchase any of these books from Amazon.com — Click on the book cover, the bold book title, or the publishing format you would like — and Peace Corps Worldwide, an Amazon Associate, will receive a small remittance that will help support the site and the annual Peace Corps Writers awards. See a book you’d like to review for Peace Corps Worldwide? — Send a note to peacecorpsworldwide@gmail.com, and we’ll send you a copy along with a few instructions.   Moon Colorado Camping: The Complete Guide to Tent and RV Camping (Travel) Joshua  Berman (Nicaragua 1998–2000) Avalon Travel Publishing April 2016 350 pages $19.99 (paperback) . • Blood Upon The Snow (A Novel of the American Revolution) Martin R. Ganzglass (Somalia 1966–68) A Peace Corps Writers Book March, 2016 344 pages $14.95 (paperback), $3.99 (Kindle) • Lips Open and Divine (poetry) Matthew A. Hamilton (Armenia 2006–08; Philippines 2008–10) Winter Goose Publishing April . . .

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Review — THE LYNCHING by Laurence Leamer (Nepal)

  The Lynching: The Epic Courtroom Battle That Brought Down the Klan Laurence Leamer (Nepal 1964–66) William Morrow June 2016 384 pages $27.99 (hardcover), $12.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Martin Ganzglass (Somalia 1966–68) • Whatever hyperbole appears on the back cover will not do justice to Laurence Leamer’s The Lynching — The Epic Courtroom Battle That Brought Down the Klan. This fast paced factual thriller, with its numerous short, punchy chapters, is better than a John Grisham courtroom novel. It is an account of two dramatic trials: the first, a criminal trial of two members of the Mobile, Alabama Klan for the 1981 lynching of Michael Donald, an innocent black nineteen-year-old, randomly selected and brutally murdered; and the second, the 1984 civil suit, brought by Morris Dees, civil rights attorney and co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLA) against the United Klans of America (UKA). That suit, “Beulah Mae Donald, as Executor of . . .

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PC Writers MFA Program: Now Open for RPCVs and PCVs

Are you inspired by your Peace Corps service? Do you have an affinity for writing? Looking to write a memoir or book about your Peace Corps experience? John Coyne (RPCV Ethiopia 1962-64), editor of Peace Corps Worldwide, has arranged with National University in California to offer an online MFA program in non-fiction, fiction and poetry writing for PCV and RPCV writers. Courses are currently under development and will be taught by published Peace Corps authors and National University faculty members. Coyne will teach the introductory class and serve as an adviser to Peace Corps students. The inaugural program is slated to begin in Fall 2016 – will be accepting a class of 15 exceptional students. The MFA is flexible program. Students can complete the degree in between one to two years, taking a single one or two-month class at a time. As the course is online, students have the opportunity to progress at their own pace. This also allows . . .

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Review — BREATHING THE SAME AIR by Gerry Christmas (Thailand, Western Samoa)

  Breathing the Same Air: A Peace Corps Romance Gerry Christmas (Thailand 1973–76; Western Samoa 1976–78) Lulu April 2015 366 pages $22.95 (paperback), $8.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by James Jouppi (Thailand 1971–73) • FOR HIS INTRODUCTION, Gerry Christmas uses an eighteen page “Peace Corps Termination Report” dated April 16, 1976. The body of his memoir consists of sixty-nine letters — he calls them “Epistles” — written after his three-year Thailand Peace Corps tour was complete. While these Epistles, at times, are very “newsy,” they also express, sometimes in intimate detail, his feelings about his girlfriend Aied, and, in more general terms, his evolving philosophies about true love between American men and “nice” Thai women. He wrote the first five Epistles while preparing for another Peace Corps tour of duty, this time in Western Samoa, and these were sent to people he’d known in Thailand. Thirty-five more were sent from Western Samoa, mostly to . . .

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Review — SWIMMING by Karl Luntta (Botswana)

  Swimming: Stories Karl Luntta (Botswana 1977-80; staff: Fiji, Solomon Islands, Western Samoa, Kiribati, Barbados) Excelsior Editions/SUNY Press September 2015 180 pages $16.95 (paperback — from publisher), $12.38 (Kindle) Reviewed by Ben East (Malawi 1996–98) • ONE THING IS CERTAIN for foreigners at work in much of Africa: the proverbs can be as colorful as they are vague, utilitarian as they are vexing. The truth can emerge — or remain obscured — with a single phrase applied in limitless ways. Truth, in these proverbs, lies in the eye of the beholder and not the object beheld. This principle is at work in the eight stories of Karl Luntta’s Swimming, each of which churns beneath the surface with traces of hidden truth. Whether his characters are far removed from the world we know — like Maag, digging his own grave at the edge of the Kalahari — or are much closer to home, Luntta’s . . .

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Review — BLOOD UPON THE SNOW by Martin Ganzglass (Somalia)

    Blood Upon The Snow (A Novel of the American Revolution) Martin R. Ganzglass (Somalia 1966–68) A Peace Corps Writers Book March, 2016 344 pages $14.95 (paperback), $3.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Thomas E. Coyne • Martin . . . Martin . . . Martin, we need maps and illustrations. Your descriptions of battles and the human misery of war are excellent as usual, but having to go to Rand McNally to trace the route of the army takes away from the flow of the novel. Plus, I’m never going to be able to build a bridge over the creek just by visualizing your directions. Please! — Tom • Martin R. Ganzglass is at it again. In this, the third in his series of Revolutionary War novels*, he has captured the extreme and deep seated patriotism of our nation’s forebears, the disdain of the British military and Loyalists and the cruel reality of war. Those . . .

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Andy Martin (Ethiopia) still explaining American English to the world

It is impressive what creative things PCVs do in the classroom to teach and have their students understand — in English — what in the world we Americans are saying. It is more impressive when an RPCV, some fifty years after his tour, is still experimenting with new devices to help foreign students in the US learn our particular (and peculiar) language, this time using the Internet and social media. Meet Andy Martin (Ethiopia 1965–68) who lives in New York City and has come up with two ingenious ways to explain to non-English-speakers our humor and the way we Americans talk among ourselves. As Andy wrote me . . . • When I came home from Ethiopia after three years in the Peace Corps teaching ESL, I had no desire or intent to teach ESL — or anything else. I mostly wanted to play rock and roll and join the revolution. I played at both of these for . . .

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A film worth watching: A PASSING OF THE TORCH

Our Peace Corps History A Passing of the Torch reveals the magical moment in history that lead to one of the first student movements of the 1960’s and the formation of the Peace Corps. Candidate John F. Kennedy gave a three-minute impromptu speech before 10,000 University of Michigan students who had waited in the chill until 2:00 AM to hear him speak. In that speech he challenged them to commit a part of their lives to public service. That speech addressed a yearning among young people in America to make a difference. In answer to that challenge a group of Michigan students began a national student movement that would lead to the formation of the Peace Corps in just a few short months. This documentary explores the incredible events and synchronicity of what happened and it’s relevance today through the perspectives and recollections of those involved including Bill Moyers, Harris . . .

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Review — LOVE OR JUSTICE by Rachel Mannino (DC/staff)

   True Crime on the Hawaiian Lei-Away Plan   Love or Justice Rachel Mannino (DC/staff) Limitless Publishing October 2015 408 pages $16.95 (paperback), $3.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Kitty Thuermer (Mali 1977–79) • He had me at “bodice ripper.” When John Coyne asked me to review Rachel Mannino’s Love or Justice, it was an easy sell. Too easy. After all, who could resist what a breathless reader called “a sexy, thrilling read . . ..  I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a sexy and tough alpha FBI male that’s broody and hot, and a thrill ride with sexiness and a book that will leave you wanting more.” Wanting more? What I wanted was to edit that run-on testimonial and then get out the smelling salts in anticipation of a hot read. Mr. Coyne had, after all, dubbed Mannino the E.L James of Peace Corps —referring to the Fifty Shades of Grey author. . . .

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The Snugli, happy babies and the Peace Corps

Ann Moore was a pioneer Peace Corps Volunteer, a pediatric nurse who went to  Togo in 1962. She was a member of a Peace Corps medical group which included  doctors, nurses, lab techs, a pharmacist and others. Ann observed the traditional patterns of baby care in Togo. She saw that the babies were always carried by their mothers.  She noted “the outstanding emotional well being of the African infant, either sick or healthy”. Ann brought home what she learned and created the baby carrier, the Snugli.  Generations of happy babies and parents, the world over, was the result. But, read Ann’s powerful story in her own words. Clink on the statement to which says to “continue reading.” The Snugli story  

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