Author - Marian Haley Beil

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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)
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Review — LADYBOY AND THE VOLUNTEER by Susanne Aspley (Thailand)
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Review — BROOKLYN, NY TO BOCAIUVA, BRAZIL by Franklin Rothman (Brazil)
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FRONTIER CABIN STORY published by Joseph Goss (Afghanistan)
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New books by Peace Corps writers — January 2019

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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Review — LADYBOY AND THE VOLUNTEER by Susanne Aspley (Thailand)

    Ladyboy and the Volunteer (Peace Corps Memoir) by Susanne Aspley (Thailand 1989–91) Peace Corps Writers November 2014 288 pages $13.99 (paperback), $2.99 (Kindle Reviewed by Dean Jefferson (El Salvador 1974–76; Costa Rica 1976–77) • Ladyboy and the Volunteeris a novel masquerading as a memoir. The protagonist, Susan, describes her adventures and misadventures as a Peace Corps Volunteer stationed in a rural village in Thailand in the 1990s. She gets to know many of the locals, but none is more interesting than Christine who helps support her family in the village by working as a prostitute in the city. Christine is a “ladyboy,” the term Thais use to describe transgender people born male, but dressing and living as females. The book is written in a conversational style, allowing the reader to experience emotionally what the protagonist is living. The imagery is vividly descriptive and at times raw. Because it . . .

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Review — BROOKLYN, NY TO BOCAIUVA, BRAZIL by Franklin Rothman (Brazil)

    Brooklyn, NY to Bocaiúva, Brazil: A Peace Corps Love Story Franklin D. Rothman (Brazil 1967–69) (Peace Corps memoir) Peace Corps Writers May, 2016 248 pages $14.95 (paperback) Reviewed by Almaz Zewdie Sullivan (Ethiopia 1996–98) • Franklin D. Rothman’s book, Brooklyn, NY to Bocaiúva, Brazil: A Peace Corps Love Story, brings back a lot of memories.  From the start, any Peace Corps Volunteer will relate to aspects of his story. Frank’s chance encounter with Lena, who is Brazilian, at the theater brings back positive memories of how open we tend to be as PCVs and travelers in general. He and Lena meet, they click and immediately the couple begins the exciting challenge of finding commonalities and building a relationship. Despite the differences in their upbringing, it is inspiring to read a story of how a love can flourish.  It is refreshing to see the level of commitment and the positive energy on . . .

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FRONTIER CABIN STORY published by Joseph Goss (Afghanistan)

  About FRONTIER CABIN STORY  The Rediscovered History of a West Virginia Log Farmhouse • Frontier Cabin Story is a rare architectural biography of a long-forgotten 18th-century log farmhouse in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. In the book, Joseph Goss (Afghanistan 1967–69) relates how he dug into the origins of his ancient home to discover its age and first owner. After months of painstaking detective work, he found the holy grail of his search. Along the way, the author creates an enthralling story about an unknown frontier house and gives it context by weaving it into the sweep of the region’s history from colonial times to the present. Colorful characters from the families of the house’s earliest owners populate the story and act on the stages of the French and Indian, Revolutionary, and the Civil Wars. They even take us out to the Osage Nation in Missouri and later to Mexico. The women, . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — January 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. • Fury John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64) Crossroad Press 289 pages January 27, 2019 $4.95 (paperback), $3.99 (Kindl A single, upwardly mobile professional woman, Jennifer Winters is typical of her kind until she falls victim to events that aren’t typical at all . . .

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