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New RPCV Book
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Light-Horse Harry Cooper
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Can the Peace Corps be far behind?
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David A. Taylor Writes "Soul of a People"
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RPCV Tony D'Souza Fights to Save the Post's Book World
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Peace Corps POD Books
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Ask Not….
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President Obama Hear Our Call
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Wofford Praised as Father of National Service
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China RPCVs create fund for beloved PC staff member

New RPCV Book

About 20 years ago Efrem Sigel (Ivory Coast 1964–66) wrote me. He has been publishing short stories over the years, three of which were set in West Africa. He also raised a family, went to work, and kept thinking of writing a book. Well, he did and he his back with The Disappearance [Permanent Press 2/09] that right off the press received three excellent reviews in industry publications: a starred review and an interview in Publishers Weekly, Booklist (a key publication for libraries), and LibraryThing.com, a website for serious bookies. And it got an Indie Next Notable Book award from independent booksellers who belong to the American Booksellers Association. In the February 9, 2009, People Magazine review, Sue Corbett wrote: One idyllic summer day Joshua and Nathalie Sandler return from an errand in their Massachusetts hamlet to find their home empty. Their son Daniel, almost 14, has vanished. As anxious hours become hellish days and weeks, . . .

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Light-Horse Harry Cooper

Harry Cooper is in many ways the forgotten man of professional golf. He never won the Masters, the PGA or the U.S. Open. But for three decades, beginning in the Twenties, he played some of the best, and fastest, rounds of golf on the PGA Tour, winning more than 30 tournaments, culminating in 1937, when he won nine times and was both the leading money winner ($14,000) and winner of the Vardon Trophy for the best scoring average. Born in England in 1904, he moved when he was a child with his father, a golf pro, to Texas where he grew up to win the Texas PGA Championship in 1922 and 1923. His first big win, however, was the inaugural Los Angeles Open in 1926. It was here that he was nicknamed “Light-Horse” by the famous journalist and short story writer, Damon Runyon. Damon wrote that he needed a racehorse . . .

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Can the Peace Corps be far behind?

The President has just named on of his campaign advisors to be the director of Obama’s Faith-Based Initiatives. My guess is that within days the Peace Corps will have a new Director as Obama is moving on to making the second and third level appointments for his administration. My guess is the Peace Corps Director will be 1) a woman, 2) a minority, 3) someone from Chicago, 4) someone from Obama’s campaign, 5) a former PCV, 6) someone who has paid all his/her taxes! Let’s see how close I come. P. S. No, I have no idea who it will be.

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David A. Taylor Writes "Soul of a People"

David A. Taylor (Mauritania 1983–85) has a great new book Soul Of A People: The WPA Writers’ Project Uncovers Depression America published by Wiley and out this month. In light of the recent comparisons between our current recession and the Great Depression, this is a timely book for all writers. For those who don’t know, the WPA Writers’ Project set out to employ thousands of out-of-work journalists, novelists, poets, and ordinary citizens to document history. These writers produced some of the best stories of American life ever published. Among those writers were John Cheever, Studs Terkel, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, and Zora Neale Hurston. This year there will be a Smithsonian/Showtime television special on Soul of a People, and the American Library Association just announced that 30 libraries will recieve grants from the NEA for the Humanities to present outreach programs in connections with the book and documentary. David lives . . .

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RPCV Tony D'Souza Fights to Save the Post's Book World

One hundred authors, ranging from novelist Tony D’Souza (Cote d’Ivoire 2000-02; Madagascar 2002-03) to Salon.com editor Joy Press, signed the National Book Critics Circle petition to save the Washington Post Book World’s stand-alone section. Nevertheless, as GalleyCat reported, the section closed this week. The Book World section will still exist online. While some see the closure as an opportunity for online reviewers, the NBCC’s post embodies the fear and anxiety that some feel about the state of the traditional book review. Author Amanda Vaill told mediabistro.com GalleyCat: For too long, newspapers all across the country have made these sections advertising ghettos for publishers and booksellers, and have insisted that the revenues thus generated should be the section’s only means of support. I wouldn’t be the first to wonder why newspapers don’t demand that sports teams and venues support sports sections.

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Peace Corps POD Books

There is an interesting front-page story in the New York Times today, Wednesday, January 28, 2009, about the growth of self-published books. The growth in self-published (or POD books, i.e., print-on-demand books) comes at a time, the article says, when “traditional publishers look to prune their booklists and rely increasingly on blockbuster best sellers.” A new study by the National Endowment for the Arts reports that while more people are reading literary fiction, fewer of them are reading books. According to Cathy Langer, lead buyer for the Tattered Cover bookstores in Denver, “People think that just because they’ve written something, there’s a market for it. It’s not true.” The article has a few great success stories. Lisa Genova wrote a novel about a woman with Alzheimer’s disease. It was turned down by 100 literary agents. She paid $450 to iUniverse to publish the book and sold copies to independent bookstores. . . .

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Ask Not….

The New York newspapers, as well as other papers, and cable news stations, have been spinning stories on “what happened with Caroline?” Did she or didn’t she want to be the next senator from New York? Why did she bail at the last moment just when her number was about to be called by Governor Paterson, or was she edged off stage by Paterson’s people? The governor certainly has suffered from the ineptness of his senatorial decision-making. Well, now right-winger, Blue Dog Democrat, Iraq war supporter, friend of Al D’Amato, daughter of a GOP lobbyist Kirsten Gilibrand, is the new senator-designate from New York – a woman who supports all “right-leaning” positions on gay marriage, immigration and gun rights, will take over Hillary’s seat. But what about the Camelot’s kid, the last of our royal family, early supporter of President Obama, a woman who never spoke up in politics, but . . .

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President Obama Hear Our Call

For over twenty years, Congress has been voting to double the size of the Peace Corps. They vote yes, then they don’t vote on the separate bill to fund the increase. What is important is not that the Peace Corps is bigger, but that more Americans have the opportunity to serve, and that host countries learn what Americans are really like. President Obama has the opportunity to make change happen with the Peace Corps. Peace Corps Volunteers are a different breed of Americans. They come into a village or community and live at the level of the people. They learn the language and they learn the host culture. They unpack their bags and they stay for two years. They become part of a village, a community, a host family. They learn more than they teach or give. Then they return home to America and teach Americans about the village where . . .

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Wofford Praised as Father of National Service

I first met Harris Wofford at Georgetown University in the summer of ’62 when I went to Washington D.C. for Peace Corps Training to Ethiopia. Striding across the quadrangle, his jacket hooked Kennedy-like over his shoulder, and carrying a brown briefcase wedged with folders and papers, Harris introduced himself as our Peace Corps Director. He was working at the White House then, going to late night meetings on civil rights with JFK, then coming to jog with us in early morning PT training, and all the while talking endless about the Peace Corps being a “university in dispersion.” He envisioned a Gandhi-like world where everyone would volunteer for something to help man kind, and we’d all gather around campfires later at night for great-book-discussions on the poems of Robert Frost and the writings of Solzhenitsyn. Harris hasn’t stopped talking since. We had monthly book seminars in Ethiopia over those two . . .

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China RPCVs create fund for beloved PC staff member

Zhan Yimei, who was a beloved and long-time employee in the Peace Corps office in China, died after a battle with lung cancer. She had worked since 1993 for the Peace Corps and was a staff member with enormous responsibilities, serving as the main conduit of messages between Chinese officials and the Peace Corps. (In many instances, at least in the early days, Chinese officials refused to communicate directly with the Peace Corps.) She also played a key role in drafting the country agreement that enabled Peace Corps to go into that country, which was one of the few positives attached to President Bill Clinton’s visit in 1998. She ran the program for a year in 2003-04, when the Peace Corps was evacuated because of SARS. There was no American who worked for Peace Corps/China as long as Zhan Yimei did. Zhan Yimei lacked the benefit of Peace Corps health . . .

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