Every week I can receive as many as 4 new books written by RPCVs to be reviewed and added to Marian Haley Beil’s list of books by Peace Corps Volunteers and Staff. Most of these books are self-published, and increasingly they are ambitious and impressive.
The book I received yesterday in the mail tops them all! It is is entitled, Somehow: Living on Uganda Time Essays and Photographs by Douglas Cruickshank (Uganda 2009-12). The book is 420 pages long, sells for $60.00, and is 9″ X 12″ in size. It gave my postman a hernia, delivering it!
The book is the creation of Doug Cruickshank who joined the Peace Corps when he was 56 and went to Uganda to help develop a coffee business in a village called Kyarumba in the Rwenzori Mountains. With a career as a writer-photographer behind him, Doug began to write and take photographs within days of arriving in-country.
This book is the result of his 2 ½ years in Africa. It combines prose and photos, writing about and taking photos of daily life in Uganda, as well as sojourns to Zanzibar and South Africa. The photos are of the Africans, expats, the landscape, as well as, the animals and other creatures, big and small. Nothing escaped Doug’s eye and camera.
In a recent review for the Chicago Tribune, novelist Elizabeth Berg wrote, “I was transported by this book. Partly it was the strength of the writing…Equally outstanding is the author’s photography…This gorgeous book proves that in the hands of a writer and photographer as gifted as Douglas Cruickshank, you don’t have to go somewhere to be there.”
Cruickshank came fully equipped to be creative in the Peace Corps. Before Uganda, he wrote travel stories, profiles, essays and opinion pieces for many magazines, newspapers and web sites. He also worked in radio, television and film-making. He has been a photographer for more than four decades, as well as a columnist and editor for Salon.com. He is the co-founder and editor of The Fessenden Review, the noisiest book review in the known world, and was also a features editor for The Readerville Journal and editor of Edutopia.com, the Web site of the George Lucas Educational Foundation.
Check the book out at: http://douglascruickshank.com