Author - Marian Haley Beil

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David Mather (Chile) publishes THE BILOXI CONNECTION
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New books by Peace Corps writers — June 2019
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Review — I AM FARANG by Amy McGarry (Thailand)
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Review — CONVERSATIONS WITH US: GREAT LAKES STATES by Chris Register (El Salvador)
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Review — COMING OF AGE IN EL SALVADOR by Jim Winship
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Review — WHAT SAHEL AM I DOIN’ HERE? by Steve Wisecarver (Senegal, etc.)
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Review — VODKA DIARIES by Richard Sayette (Russian Far East)
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Review — USE YOUR OWN VOICE by Dorthy Herzberg (Nigeria)
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Review — MORE THAN BIRDING by Harriet Denison (Tanzania)
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Review — A GAME IN THE SUN by John Coyne (Ethiopia)

David Mather (Chile) publishes THE BILOXI CONNECTION

    David Mather, like many RPCVs, thought that his Peace Corps experience was one-of-a-kind and decided to write about it in novel format. He began writing One For The Road in 2006, and five years later it was published through Peace Corps Writers. It takes place in the foothills of the Andes of southern Chile where he was the most isolated Volunteer in his forestry program, and the novel could well be a primer for new Volunteers.  This literary effort, though, was an epiphany for David: he discovered that he enjoyed writing. A sequel,  When the Whistling Stopped, soon followed. After that, he began “The Crescent Beach Series,” three novels that take place in a fictitious backwater fishing village in the lawless Big Bend Area of Florida’s gulf coast. The Biloxi Connection is the third in the CB series and his fifth novel published through PCW. Mather’s isolated PC experience in . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — June 2019

    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 — provided by the author — for the books listed here in hopes of encouraging readers  1) to order the 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 peacecorpsworldwide@gmail.com, and we’ll send you a copy along with a few instructions. • Legacy in Stone: Syria Before War (photography) by Kevin Bubriski (Nepal 1975-78) PowerHouse Books 164 pages January 2019 $50.00 (hard cover) • The Biloxi Connection (The Crescent Beach Series — Book 3) David J. Mather (Chile 1968–70) Peace Corps . . .

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Review — I AM FARANG by Amy McGarry (Thailand)

    I Am Farang: Adventures of a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand Amy McGarry (Thailand 2003–05) Self-published January 2019 213 pages $14.95 (paperback), $2.99 (Kindle)   Reviewed by Jim Skelton (Ethiopia 1970-72) • In the opening paragraph of the Preface to Amy McGarry’s book about her Peace Corps service in Thailand, she declares that As a foreigner [farang in Thai language], I was biased, and for that I apologize. My descriptions of Thai culture should always be read with that “grain of salt.” That statement really caught my attention and made me wonder what kinds of prejudiced revelations could possibly be contained in her tome. What I discovered is that Amy has written a very humorous, painfully honest and deeply insightful view of her service and life in Thailand from 2003 to 2005. She describes what could be characterized as a love/hate relationship with the Thai social culture, despite the . . .

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Review — CONVERSATIONS WITH US: GREAT LAKES STATES by Chris Register (El Salvador)

      Conversations With US – Great Lakes States: Two Wheels, Fifty States, Hundreds of Voices – One America Chris Register (El Salvador 2001–03) Spoke & Word Books 280 pages $22.00 (flexibound) Reviewed by Sue Hoyt Aiken (Ethiopia 1962–64) • Conversations with US — Great Lakes States represents the first of a series of books on biking in every state by the author who had a concern about what he was reading and hearing . . .  ”that the United States was coming undone.” He decided to “wander” to find answers from “real America.”  Thus his first volume comes after his touring every state except Hawaii.  This bike ride in the Great Lakes States took place during the time frame from July to September 2015 and covered 1,916 miles! Although I am definitely not a biker I have been a long time hiker and wondered if I would have been brave . . .

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Review — COMING OF AGE IN EL SALVADOR by Jim Winship

    Coming of Age in El Salvador Jim  Winship (El Salvador 1970–72) Verdada Press 2014 228 pages $16.95 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle) Review by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • If you are interested in a more in-depth discussion of immigration from Central America, its causes and effects, I highly recommend this book. Though, like the author, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in El Salvador (1974-76), and have followed events there since, I learned a great deal about the country’s current situation from this book. Jim Winship first lived in El Salvador from 1970 to 1972 as a PCV. He returned there in 2005 as a Fulbright Scholar and has been visiting at the rate of about twice a year since then. This book is based upon research Winship and his colleague Virginia Quintana of the Panamerican University of El Salvador have done, and upon other . . .

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Review — WHAT SAHEL AM I DOIN’ HERE? by Steve Wisecarver (Senegal, etc.)

    What Sahel Am I Doin’ Here? 30 Years of Misadventures in Africa Steve  Wisecarver (Senegal 1976–78; Staff-CD Madaagascar, Kenya 2008–2013) Booklocker.com 134 pages $13.95 (paperback) Reviewed by James W. Skelton, Jr. (Ethiopia 1970–72) • If you’re interested in knowing more about the good, the bad and the ugly in Africa, then you’ll enjoy reading Steve Wisecarver’s book entitled What Sahel Am I Doin’ Here? 30 Years of Misadventures in Africa.  The humorous title gives the reader an insight into the approach the author will take with the descriptions of his experiences in the great continent of Africa. In fact, it is stated on the back cover that the book “is a collection of light-hearted tales that captures the bizarre and the exotic as well as the comic, even magical, nature of life on the Continent.”  Steve Wisecarver succeeds in revealing those elements, and more, about living and working . . .

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Review — VODKA DIARIES by Richard Sayette (Russian Far East)

    The Vodka Diaries: A Peace Corps Volunteer’s Adventures in Russia Richard  Sayette (Russian Far East 1994–95) Peace Corps Writers May 2018 330 pages $16.00 (paperback), $9,99 (Kindle)   Reviewed by James W. Skelton, Jr. (Ethiopia 1970–72) • I jumped at the chance to review Richard Sayette’s Vodka Diaries: a Peace Corps Volunteer’s Adventures in Russia because I made well over 120 business trips to Russia between 1989 and 2007, working on various international transactions as a lawyer, plus I served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia in the early 1970s. Since the time I spent in Russia was almost totally dedicated to working on oil and gas deals while residing in hotels in Western Russia, I was fascinated by the prospect of finding out what it was like for Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) to live and work in Eastern Russia in the mid-1990s. I was surprised when I . . .

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Review — USE YOUR OWN VOICE by Dorthy Herzberg (Nigeria)

    Use Your Voice! Political Poetry and More by Dorothy Herzberg (Nigeria 1961-63) CreateSpace 74 pages May 2018 $10.00 (paperback   Review by D.W. Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • If you, like me, have been struggling to find your voice during the presidency of Donald Trump, this little volume of poetry may help. As the title suggests, author Dorothy Crews Herzberg has not only found her voice, she is using it to express her sentiments toward the President and his unconventional and often decidedly unpresidential behavior. Herzberg was born in 1935, so she has been observing our democracy for a very long time, and through many crises, including World War II. In the Preface to this book of poems she states, “I feel the election of 2016 has profoundly shaken the values, structure, and essence of democracy.” While she states her belief that our democracy will survive . . .

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Review — MORE THAN BIRDING by Harriet Denison (Tanzania)

    More Than Birding: Observations from Antarctica, Madagascar, and Bhutan Harriet Denison (Tanzania 1966–67) Peace Corps Writers November 2018 318 pages $15.00 (paperback); $7.99 (Kindle) Review by Fritz Snyder (Tanzania, 1965–66) • Harriet Denison, a Peace Corps Volunteer with me in Tanzania (she wrote about her adventures there in Leopards at My Door, also published by Peace Corps Writers), visited three of the most interesting places on the planet: Antarctica, Madagascar, and Bhutan. She traveled with birding groups each time, but her interests range to the history and varied wildlife of each location. Her descriptions and experiences nicely take the reader to these exotic places where few of us will actually go. Altogether Harriet has been on 16 international birding expeditions. Her trip to Antarctica 2001 was her first. It is a delightful saga for those of us who have seen the movie “March of the Penguins”  — which is nearly . . .

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Review — A GAME IN THE SUN by John Coyne (Ethiopia)

    A Game in the Sun and Other Stories John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962–64) Cemetery Dance August 2018 $40.00 (hard cover)  Reviewed by Andreas Martin (Ethiopia 1965–68) • A Game in the Sun and Other Stories is a fascinating collection of material by John Coyne. John has had considerable success as a writer of novels and short stories in the horror genre, as well as a number of books on the topic of golf, (together, horror and golf make a pretty good description of my golf game). This particular collection spans nearly 60 years and consists of twelve stories previously published in mystery and horror magazines and anthologies. In addition, there are two recent original pieces appearing for the first time in print. John has led a varied life and these stories reflect some of his background. I was particularly taken by the stories set in Ethiopia because John and I . . .

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