63* new books by Peace Corps writers — September–October, 2021

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 from your purchase that will help support the site and the annual Peace Corps Writers awards.

We now include a one-sentence description  for the books listed here in hopes of encouraging readers  1) to order a book and 2) to VOLUNTEER TO REVIEW IT.

 See a book you’d like to review for Peace Corps Worldwide? Send a note to Marian at marian@haleybeil.com, and we’ll send you a copy along with a few instructions.

In addition to the books listed below, Marian has on her shelf a number of other books whose authors would love for you to review. Go to Books Available for Review to see what is on that shelf. Please, please join in our Third Goal effort!!!

Just added a new feature . . . * means the book is among those available for review.

Shortly before the Peace Corps Connect Conference that would be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Peace Corps beginning on September 23rd, I checked to see how many “Peace Corps Experience” books written by PCVs I had on my list. The number was 471 — close enough that I thought “wouldn’t it be fun to get the number up to 500, and brag about this wonderful proof of PCVs fulfilling the 3rd Goal?”

So  I began some serious searching on Amazon . . . first for “peace corps letters,” then for “peace corps memoirs,”  With that the count was well past 500 and I couldn’t stop myself. I was hooked, and added to my search “peace corps.” I’m now at 610 and am not done.

During the process I added any finds that had been published during either 2020 and 2021 to the “New books by Peace Corps writers — Sept-Oct 2021,” thus this lovely total of 63 for today!

— Marian

P.S. I can’t help but credit some of this writing splurge to Covid 19!


Across the Face of the Storm
Jerrome R. Adams (Colombia 1963–65)
Guernica World Editions, Dec. 2021
200 pages
$17.95 (paperback)

In early 1911, two teens leave their Georgetown home after the sudden death of their Mexican mother as they are determined to find their father, a college professor who – like many American leftists – had joined the Mexican revolution a few months earlier. 

Living in Brazil: As A Peace Corps Volunteer And Businessman
H. Lynn Beck (El Salvador 1967–69; Brazil 1974–76)
Independently published, 2021
$8.20 (paperback)

Join the author as he travels rural roads, meets large rats and tarantulas, and makes fridnes with immersing himself in a rich culture.


Champion of the Underdog: How Life’s Difficulties Inspired Me to Serve in the Peace Corps
Rodney  Black (Guyana 1997–99)
Independently published, 2021
211 pages
$7.99 (paperback), $2.99 (Kindle)

St. Petersburg Bay Blues
Douglas  Buchacek (Russia 2001-03)
Independently published, 2021
201 pages
$15.00 (paperback)

A memoir of a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Group Nine of the Western Russia Program from 2001–03.

Seeds & Spice: A Memoir of Life in Village India, 1969-1971
Drew  Bullard (India 1969–71)
Arah Publishing Company, 2021
270 pages
$45.00 (Paperback COLOR PHOTO edition)

By developing a deep friendship with a young Indian farmer of about the same age, Bullard became immersed in a centuries-old culture largely unknown to the Western world, a culture that even today lies at the heart of India.

Taking Flight: Finding Myself in Peru — 1962-1964
Barbara Simms Carpenter (Peru 1962–64)
Independently published, 2020
219 pages
$14.oo (paperback)

I was in the first group of volunteers to go to Arequipa, Peru, after President Kennedy formed the Peace Corps. It was here that I discovered who I was and how I wanted to be in the world. It was here, too, that I met and married my husband.

No Ghosts in the Graveyard: The Life-Time Adventures of A Small- Town Oregon Boy
by Bob Crites (Brazil 1964-66)
Independently Published, 2021
428 pages
$12.99 (Paperback)

Follow the funny, sometimes sad, always interesting adventures of “The Incredible Crites” as he saves lives, almost gets killed, and makes a world of difference.

Nothing Works But Everything Works Out: My Peace Corps Experience in the West Region of Cameroon
Leigh Marie Dannhauser (Cameroon 2017–19)
Independently published, 2019
188 pages
$14.99 (paperback); $5.99 (Kindle)

You Can’t Always Get Where You Want:: A collection of stories, adventures, and lessons from a land far, far away that few have heard of and even fewer will visit
Nicholas DeMassi  (Guinea 2017–19)
Independently published, 2020
245 pages
$14.99 (paperback); $3.99 (Kindle)

With a healthy mix of entertaining encounters, frustrating setbacks, and surprises around every corner, You Can’t Always Get Where You Want examines one of the world’s most secluded countries through the lens of an American Peace Corps volunteer, trying to decipher the culture and integrate in his new surroundings.

Somewhere in the Middle: A journey to the Philippines in search of roots, belonging, and identity
Deborah Francisco Douglas (Philippines 2011–14)
Peaceful Mountain Press, 2019
254 pages
$14.99 (paperback); $8.99 (Kindle)

Half Filipino but raised in an American household, Deborah Francisco Douglas had always longed to know more about her Filipino heritage. So when a thick government-issued envelope arrived at her door announcing her assignment to the Philippines as a Peace Corps Volunteer, she snatched the opportunity and set out on a journey of self-discovery, travel, and adventure.

Full Circle: South Dakota and Samoa
Jackie  Faasisila (Western Samoa 1972–77)
Independently published, 2021
324 pages
$12.99 (paperback)

Full Circle traces major events and changing perspectives of a farm girl from the Black Hills of Dakota who is transplanted on a small Pacific Island as a Peace Corps volunteer.

A Husband and Wife Are One Satan: Stories *
Jeff  Fearnside (Kazakhstan 2002–04)
Orison Books
38 pages
$12.00 (paperback); $7.49 (Kindle)

This new collection of linked short stories from award-winning author Jeff Fearnside explores the lives of ordinary people in Kazakhstan as they face the challenges of post-Soviet transition in the early 21st century.

Saving Jahan: A Peace Corps Adventure Based on True Events
Hans Joseph Fellman (Turkmenistan 2006–08)
Russian Hill Press 2020
466 pages
$17.99 (paperback), $4.99 (Kindle)

A PCV in Central Asia finds purpose in helping a friend escape a life of servitude.

Mariantonia : The Lifetime Journey of a Peace Corps Volunteer*
Robert L Forster (Honduras 19671–73)
Peace Corps Writers 2021
218 pages
$19.99 (paperback); $6.99 (Kindle)

This book encompasses not only my time in a small town on Honduras’ border with El Salvador, but also my upbringing and its role in developing my interest in the Peace Corps. But my cross-cultural journey didn’t end with the Peace Corps. My marriage to my wife Mariantonia, a Honduran, and my long career working for a non-profit organization serving migrant farm workers in Wisconsin has made it a life-long process.

From Gulu with Love
Ursula J. Foster (Uganda 2001–03, 2010–12)
Independently published, 2021
Peace Corps letters
167 pages
$12.00 (paperback)

From Gulu with Love is Ursula Foster’s love letter to Uganda as well as her quest to fulfill one of the Peace Corps’ goals, “To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.”

African Dreams: A Memoir of Service and Salvation
Sandra L Frye (Malawi 1969–71)
Independently published, 2021
183 pages
$14.99 (paperback); $4.99 (Kindle)

I had so much to learn about the real Africa. Nothing in my first twenty-three years in America had prepared me for this Peace Corps assignment. All my good intentions and idealistic values were being challenged nightly as I lay in that bed, under the mosquito netting, listening to the wailing of women and watching the little lizards climb up and down our bedroom walls.

My Years in the Early Peace Corps: Nigeria, 1964-1965 (Volume 1)
Sonja Krause Goodwin (Nigeria 1964–65; Ethiopia 1965–66)
Hamilton Books, November, 2021
324 pages
$29.99 (paperback)

Sonja Krause Goodwin recounts her experience joining the Peace Corps in 1964 and describes the training she underwent to teach in Nigeria at Columbia Teachers College in New York City. Goodwin tells readers about her service as a university teacher in physics while also serving as head of the Physics Department at Lagos University in Nigeria. 

My Years in the Early Peace Corps: Ethiopia, 1965-1966 (Volume 2)
Sonja Krause Goodwin (Nigeria 1964–65; Ethiopia 1965–66)
Hamilton Books, October, 2021
270 pages
$24.99 (paperback); $23.50 (Kindle)

The author describes her second year as a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching Chemistry in the Gondar Health College in Gondar, Ethiopia, a branch of Haile Selassie I University where she lectured, taught laboratory courses, and mixed solutions for her laboratory courses.

The Goodbye Islands: Tongan Redux
Stuart  Gregory (Tonga)
Gatekeeper Press. 2020
226 pages
$25.00 (paperback); $9.99 (Kindle)

Half Filipino but raised in an American household, Deborah Francisco Douglas had always longed to know more about her Filipino heritage. So when a thick government-issued envelope arrived at her door announcing her assignment to the Philippines as a Peace Corps Volunteer, she snatched the opportunity and set out on a journey of self-discovery, travel, and adventure.

The Serpent of the Nile
by Robert Gribbin (Kenya 1968-70)
Independently Published, August 2021
138 pages
$13.99 (Paperback), $3.99 (Kindle)

The last place that you want to end up is in a prison cell in some remote part of Africa, whether that cell is controlled by a rebel group, an opposition warlord, or a government.  Especially if you happen to be a journalist. Bad things happen in those cells.

The Fourth Glass of Tea: A Story of Loss and Revival through Remembrance
Deborah A. Hahn (Senegal 1973-75)
Independently published, 2021
181 pages
$12.99 (paperback); $3.99 (Kindle)

The author has woven passages from two personal memoirs into one, telling a true story under imagined circumstances. 

A Few Minor Adjustments: Two Years in Afghanistan: A Peace Corps Odyssey
Elana  Hohl (Afghanistan 1971-73)
Independently published, 2021
574 pages
$18.00 (paperback); $9.99 (Kindle)

In 1971, before Al Qaeda and the Taliban, an idealistic young American couple just out of college spent two years teaching, traveling, and experiencing the culture of Afghanistan

No Greater Service: A Peace Corps Photo Memoir (Philippines 1969-1974)
Alvin J. Hower (Philipppines 1969–74) and Prima Guipo Hower
Life Rich, 2020
498 pages
$28.95 (paperback); $2.99 (Kindle); $38.95 (hardcover)

This memoir offers a stirring, personal, vivid, and action-packed account of a Peace Corps volunteer’s remarkable life in the underserved areas of the southern Philippines.

My Time in Peace Corps Afghanistan 1968
Henry  Intili (Afghanistan 1968)
Independently published 2021
122 pages
$12.95 (paperback)

This book is a story of his time and impressions about that country of dreams and disappointments.

a play
Henry  Intili (Afghanistan 1968)
Lulu 2021
112 pages
$9.94 (paperback)

SCROOGE is a Christmas comedy play set as a rehearsal where everything goes wrong. It can be performed where the actors have memorized their lines or not. In either case the actors play their parts with open scripts.

Awkward Stumbles and Fuzzy Memories: Memoir of a Peace Corps Volunteer: Memoir of a Peace Corps Volunteer *
Kathy Ivchenko (Ukraine 1994–96; 2000–2001 )
Independently published, February, 2021
192 pages
$14.95 (paperback), $8.99 (Kindle)

Awkward Stumbles focuses on my first stint in the Peace Corps from 1994-96.  The book follows the ups and downs of training, teaching and romantic stumbles as I left my small home town and traveled down my Peace Corps path filled with love, laughter and libations.  

A Thousand Points of Light
Marc-Vincent  Jackson (Senegal 1986-89)
Page Publishing, 2021
484 pages
$32.95 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle)

Inspired by his US Peace Corps service during George H. W. Bush’s presidency, A Thousand Points of Light, Marc-Vincent Jackson’s insightful debut novel, is an artfully written and engaging tale of interwoven lives and voices in 1980s Senegal.

Behind Many Masks: A Diary
Asifa  Kanji (Mali 2011 – 2012; PCResponse/Ghana 2012 – 2013; PCResponse/South Africa 2013)
Bowker, 2021
225 pages
$12.50 (paperback)

Behind Many Masks is a topsy-turvy journey through 2020, a year that shook our lives. It was a year of coming to terms with the reality of friends dying, and leaders denying the danger.

Pilgrims with Credit Cards
Asifa  Kanji (Mali 2011 – 2012; PCResponse/Ghana 2012 – 2013; PCResponse/South Africa 2013)
D. Drury and Sons 2020
172 pages
$15.00 (paperback)

Saintly Queen Isabel of Portugal walked the Camino de Santiago in 1306. Seven hundred and twelve years later, Princess Asifa gave it a shot.

Peace Corps and the Old Expat World: Senegal in the late 1970s
Keith L. Kollmann (Senegal 1978–1980)
Independently published, 2020
$3.99 (Kindle)

“Although most of this story happened 40 years ago, my memories are as fresh as yeaterday. Moreover, the lessons learned have only grown in my own life, and have proven to be more relevant than ever.”


The Book of Elaine
Elaine Cross Lamski (Nigeria, Senagal, Chad) and Amy Peirce
Independently published, 2020
146 pages
$14.29 (paperback)

Elaine’s desire to serve in the Peace Corps took root when she was young, but it wasn’t until after completing college at Texas Tech that her dream became reality. She trained for the Peace Corps in St. Croix and St. Kitts and served with Nigeria XXI in Nigeria, Senegal, and Tchad. It was in the Peace Corps that Elaine met her “perfect complement,” a Minnesotan named Dale Lamski.

Love in Any Language: A Memoir of a Cross-cultural Marriage
Evelyn Kohl LaTorre (Peru 1964–66)
She Writes Press, September, 2021
320 pages
$16.95 (paperback); $9.99 (Kindle)

Clear-eyed and frank, Love in Any Language illustrates the trials and joys in the blending of two cultures.

Capote’s Women
by Laurence Leamer (Nepal 1965-67)
G.P. Putnam’s Sons
368 pages
October 2021
$14.99 (Kindle); $21.92 (Hardcover)

The complex web of relationships and scandalous true stories behind Truman Capote’s never-published final novel.

Rebuke the Wind
Trip  Mackintosh (Morocco 1979–81)
Independently published, April 2021
262 pages
$14.99 (paperback); $3.99 (Kindle)

An African epic, Rebuke the Wind begins in France, sweeps through the United States, Iraq, Morocco, Nigeria and Cameroon to the Arab gulf and the source of terror financing. At the center of the story is Isa, a remarkable 14-year-old from Cameroon who, having been kidnapped by Boko Haram, defies the terrorists with her own escape and her breathtaking rescue of a Frenchman also held hostage.

Tennis Clubbed, Snubbed and Rubbity-Dub Dubbed
Eric  Madeen (Gabon 1981-83)
Absolute Author Publishing House, September 2021
$9.99 (paperback); $2.99 (Kindle)

A novel set in the land of the Rising Sun.


Diary of a Peace Corps Volunteer: My Years in Korea and Beyond
Jack  Maisano (Korea 1971–73)
Independently published 2021
$9.98 (paperback), $3.88 (Kindle)

It is more than a record of daily activities. It is a journal of unfiltered ideas and observations, the unfettered musings of a mid-twenties raw youth abroad.


Everything I Should Have Learned I Could Have Learned in Tonga
Tina Martin (Tonga 1969–71)
Outskirts Press, 2021
494 page
$24.95 (paperback); $5.99 (Kindle)

Enter that dreamworld in this whimsical, often funny memoir weaving together essays, diary entries, original song lyrics, and even a novella showing how the author chose to fictionalize the true story she relates to us about her life and loves in the Kingdom of Tonga and “the valid expression of human existence” that led her there and back.

Solomon’s Net: A Tale Of Madness
Lew Mermelstein (Ethiopia 1970–73)
Does Not Apply 2020
398 pages
$16.95 (paperback), $2.99 (Kindle)

Steve Williams, recently terminated Peace Corps Volunteer, is being treated for paranoid schizophrenia by his doctors in Iowa. But Steve knows that the real problem is evil Zar demons and only his Ethiopian lover Abebech can help. But they’d never let Steve back into Ethiopia . . . not after what he did.

Field Notes from Liberia: A Memoir 
Joan  Meyler (Liberia response PCV )
Independently published, 2021
55 pages
$10.00 (paperback)

This journey is a collection of experiences which answers the question: “What do you do when you find yourself in an unfamiliar country, your roommate is a lizard and the only furnishing in your house is a full water barrel?”

Moriba Kante: A Peace Corps Journal
L. Allen Mowbray (Mali 2001–2004)
Independently published 2021
87 pages
$2.99 (Kindle)

This book is an attempt to refine the journal that awkwardly took shape from letters, e-mails and Internet chat. It was compiled by the author’s father, Thomas Mowbray

45 Pieces of Turkish Delight: Memoirs of a Peace Corps Volunteer
Patricia  Morgan (Turkey 1964–66)
lulu.com, 2019
210 pages
$13.00 (paperback)

These forty-five short stories highlight the ups and downs of a fresh-out-of-college, know-it-all female Volunteer attempting to find her place in the conservative town of Konya, Turkey.

For the Love of History
Jennifer  Mueller (Kenya)
Independently published, 2020
274 pages
$15.00 (paperback)

Historical fiction


Island Years: My Peace Corps Tale From Gunflint to Fiji
Mark Thomas Odegard  (Fiji 1973–76)
Independently published, 2020
245 pages
$14.99 (paperback); $3.99 (Kindle)

As told by the author, the day-to-day pleasures and setbacks of a Peace Corps volunteer, circa 1976, are interspersed with a series of unexpected adventures that would shape the rest of his life.

Walking Each Other Home Again: A young Peace Corps Volunteer in Niger, 1960’s, and her return 30 years later
Laurie Oman (Niger 1967–69) 
Independently published, January 2021
336 pages
$18.99 (paperback); $6.99 (Kindle)

Young, newly married and naive when Laurie and her husband reached their remote village in Saharan Niger, she encountered every challenge with optimism and grit.

Green Hills and Blue Lagoons: A Peace Corps Memoir
John Penisten (Fiji 1968–69)
Independently published, 2020
October, 2020
212 pages
$10.00 (paperback), $10.00 (Kindle

This memoir relates the adventures of three young Americans, fresh out of college and filled with youthful idealism, and how they came to be on an island called Vanua Levu, the “Big Land,” in Fiji.
These three young men with varied backgrounds from different parts of the United States, came together for this one period in their lives. Far from their respective roots, they learned and shared much, about themselves and with others in a communal culture.

Finding Refuge: Real-Life Immigration Stories from Young Readers
by Victorya Rouse (Eswatine 1980- )
Zest Books
264 pages
September 2021
$11.49 (Kindle); $27.99 (Hardback); $14.99 (paperback)

When you read about war in your history book or hear about it in the news, do you ever wonder what happens to the families and children in the places experiencing war? 

Thaiburgh: Essays from the First Third
Kyle  Sakowicz (Thailand 2015–16)
Independently published 2020
$4.99 (Kindle)

From volunteering through AmeriCorps (Pittsburgh) and the Peace Corps Thailand, to teaching alongside masters of the craft, a novelty seeker reflects on the experiences that have set the stage for the second third of his life. 

Plague Birds
Jason  Sanford  (Thailand 1994-96)
Apex Book Co., 2021
274 pages
$16.95 (paperback), $6.99 (Kindle)

Plague Birds is a genre-bending mix of science fiction and dark fantasy and the epic story of a young woman who becomes one of the future’s most hated creatures, with a killer AI bonded to her very blood.

My Small World: A Veterinarian’s Memoir Overcoming Learning Challenges
Robert J Schechter, DMV, PhD (Colombia)
Independently published, 2021
216 pages
$14.99 (paperback)

Robert recounts how his short time in Colombia as a Peace Corps volunteer greatly influenced how he saw the world and how he lived for the rest of his life. The Latino culture continues to be an important part of his life and family even today.

UFOs of the Kickapoo
John H. Sime (Mali 1976–78)
Atmosphere Press 2021
270 pages
$17.99 (paperback); $7.99 (Kindle)

This is a thirty-year quest for the secret of UFOs—in Wisconsin cow pastures, the Pentagon, and the ivory towers of academia. These are true, personal reports of UFO encounters by everyday rural people.

The Real Presence: A Novel
Ron  Singer (Nigeria 1964–67)
Adelaide Books, May 2021
236 pages
$19.60 (paperback)

The Real Presence is a political novel, and it can be considered a sequel to Uhuru Revisited: Interviews with Pro-Democracy Leaders, another book by Ron Singer. Like Bob Shepard, the American character in The Real Presence, Singer served with the Peace Corps in Nigeria in the mid-1960’s, during the lead-up to the Biafra War.

Demo: Poems
Charlie  Smith (Micronesia 1968-70)
W. W. Norton & Company, 2020
112 pages
$15.95 (paperback)

Moving through shades of darkness and light, Charlie Smith captures a refracted view of a disturbed, disintegrating world. 

Sawubona, I See You: Stories by a Former Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa
Daniel  Stantus (Eswatini/Swaziland 1970–74)
Independently published, 2021
48 pages
$4.00 (paperback); $2.99 (Kindle)

Stories: 1 Waking Up in Africa; 2 Accidental Sportsmaster; 3 Witch Makes Me Wonder; 4 Moonshine Dilemma; 5 Wheels of Misfortune; 6 The Zulu, Shakespear, and Me.

The Hunt for Mount Everest
Craig  Storti (Morocco 1970-72, PC/W 1973-79)
John Murray Press 2021
224 pages
$23.62 (paperback); $28.33 (hardcover); $19.09 (audiobook)

Rice and River Fish: A Peace Corps Memoir
Adam  Strubeck (Senegal 2019–20)
Independently published, October 2020
87 pages
$12.99 (paperback)


The Last Green Valley
Mark T. Sullivan (Niger 1980–82)
Lake Union Publishing, May, 2021
457 pages
$11.99 (paperback); $ 5.99 (Kindle); $22.94 (Audiobook); $18.80 (Audio CD)

“. . . a compelling and inspiring story of heroism and courage in the dark days at the end of World War II.”

Tropical Ecstasy: A nostalgic trip to Brazil after an absence of twenty-five years
Norman  Weeks (Brazil 1968-70)
Independently published 2020
282 pages
$12.00 (paperback); $4.99 (Kindle)

The author returns after an absence of twenty-five years to his old haunts in Brazil and retraces his unforgettable journey to this huge South American country to take a second look at a place he has known quite well.

Autobioscenes & Necrographies: Some Personal Experiences of Life and Death
Norman  Weeks (Brazil 1968-70)
Independently published 2020
312 pages
$14.00 (paperback); $4.99 (Kindle)

Autobioscenes: A word coined by the author to describe episodes from his life. And so, not a full straight-through autobiography, but a series of scenes. Then, necrographies. Biographies are life stories. Necrographies: another word coinage of the author, are death stories of people with whom the author had some acquaintance.

An Autobiographical Letter: with a “Self-Portrait of the Author” and a Post-Autobiographical Postscript
Norman  Weeks (Brazil 1968-70)
Independently published 2020
326 pages
$14.00 (paperback), $4.99 (Kindle)

Looking back over his first fifty years, the author presents a comprehensive treatment of his life, especially those aspects that proved source material for what he would eventually write.

Trouble in Paradise: BFI Film Classics
David  Weir (Afghanistan 1969–71)
British Film Institute, 2021
112 pages
$15.95 (paperback); $9.99 (Kindle)

In his study of the film Trouble in Paradise, David Weir explores its significance within Ernst Lubitsch’s career, but also its larger cultural significance within the history of cinema, and the social context of its release during the Great Depression.

Stories for my Daughter: Autobiographical Sketches
Ivan Lee Weir (Afghanistan 19_–1968)
Independently published, 2021
137 page
$7.82 (paperback)

His narrative is told through a series of ‘autobiographical sketches’ that integrate historical occurrences of his ancestors with contemporary events from his own lifetime including service in the Peace Corps.

I Miss the Rain in Africa: Peace Corps as a Third Act
by Nancy Daniel Wesson (Uganda 2011-13)
Modern History Press, May 2021
296 pages
$24.95 (Paperback); $7.95 (Kindle); $37.95 (Hardcover)

At a time when her friends were planning cushy retirements, Nancy Wesson instead walked away from a comfortable life and business to head out as a Peace Corps Volunteer in post-war Northern Uganda.

The Longer I Live, the Wilder it Gets
Norma Royale Wilder [Benavides] (Costa Rica 1963–65)
Independently published, 2020
246 pages
$30.99 (paperback); $9.99 (Kindle)

Born to a social worker and a museum director, Norma Royale Wilder would forge her own path as Peace Corps volunteer, ardent traveler, and later a psychotherapist, but she’d go through many adventures to get there. (The cover of The Longer I Live The Wilder it Gets is Wilder at age 20, hanging 300 feet above the rocks in Las Cruces, New Mexico training for the Peace Corps.)

Dispatches from Paradise: Two Years in the Land of Smiles
John  Wood (Philippines 2010-12)
Independently Published, 2020
234 pages
$12.99 (paperback); $7.99 (Kindle)

Each year the Peace Corps sends volunteers abroad to assist impoverished countries, experience adventure, lie on white-sand beaches, and get laid. Okay, that may not be precisely how its brochures are worded, but that’s the appeal that drew travel humorist John Wood and many of his fellow 149 trainees to the Philippines. Wood enjoys getting into trouble abroad, but this odyssey tests even his capacity.





Leave a comment
  • Thanks for listing THE REAL PRESENCE, John. I’ve just started working on a new political novel set in east-central Africa. The working title is TSHOMBE, (PIERRE, NOT MOISE).

  • Stunning collection that reflects the pivotal experience of being a Peace Corps Volunteer. I hope Marian gets all 610 PCV books added to the Library of Congress’ Peace Corps Writers Collection. You can be sure the number of books written by PCVs dwarf the number written by military personnel.

    Peru 1964-1966

    • I agree this is a wonderful collection. Marian has done a wonderful job. The books covered decades and many different host countries. I think the Library of Congress should include all books written by RPCVs in their Peace Corps collection.

      However, it is not that easy to access the collection. I visited the Library of Congress for the purpose of seeing the collection. This is how it went. First, I to get a Library of Congress library card to enter the facility. Then, I had to request a specific book from the Librarian. It took about a half hour until I recieved the book, which I could read in the Library reading room, but could not check out.

      I would like RPCVs to prevail upon the NPCA to have Reading Room in their place, where all the books could be displayed. Authors could donate the books.

  • I think it would be great to have the RPCV book collection also in the Peace Corps Experience Museum. Do they now have a permanent, physical location? I know they have had exhibits at American University, but I wasn’t sure if that would be permanent and would have space for books.

  • Norma Royale Wilder – I see my entry the next to the last one in this list, ‘The Longer I Live, the Wilder It Gets: a Memoir of Adventure’ – published in 2020. But the twenty pages of my Peace Corps experience was in Guatemala, not Costa Rica and should be corrected. I did live for 12 years in Costa Rica from 1976 – 1988 and did a lot of Peace Corps type work with the refugees from El Salvador and Nicaragua but that was all volunteer work as I lived with my husband and three children.

    Thank you, Norma W. Benavides (legal name) )aka Norma Royale Wilder, birth name I use as an Author)

    • I wrote this two weeks ago and it has not been corrected yet. Who can I ask to do this?

      Norma W. Benavides (aka Norma Royale Wilder)

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