As we slide towards March 1, 2020, fifty-nine years since JFK signed an Executive Order creating the Peace Corps, I have a suggested for all RPCVs who want to hold onto the history of the agency. Buy a copy of Larry Lihosit’s chronology of the agency that covers the years 1961-2010. This is, I think, the only source of dates and facts on how the agency grew and developed, listing the Peace Corps changes that happened in every country where Volunteers served from 1961 to 2010.
For example, here are three examples of what you’ll find in the book.
Aug. 28, 1961
The first groups of Peace Corps Volunteers sent to Ghana and Tanzania, Africa.
Volunteers in Chile circulated a petition to protest the Vietnam war. Jack Vaughn, Director, sent a letter to all countries assuring volunteers that they had the right to free speech but as public employees should avoid identification of those beliefs with their employees. “The Peace Corps…has neither the expertise nor the mission to address itself to political matters. It has no position…” he wrote. One of the volunteers wrote to the New York Times. When it did not print his letter, he had a Spanish version of the same letter printed in a Chilean newspaper. He was fired. Hew later filed suit in federal district court which ruled in his favor, limited the Peace Corps’ ability to punish volunteers for voicing opinions.
Electronic books (paperless) represented 8% of all books published in the U.S.A. Many of these were Peace Corps volunteer memoirs about their experiences. Nearly 1,000 volunteers had returned home to write at least one book (one author for every 200 volunteers).
Nominated For 2010 Peace Corps Writers Special Publisher Award
“This is a very impressive book.” John Coyne, Editor of Peace Corps Worldwide
“A great job! I am astonished at how detailed and thorough this work is.” David Searles, author of The Peace Corps Experience: Challenge and Change, 1969-1976
“What a valuable contribution to history…” Congresswoman Lois Capps (Dem, CA)
If you want to hold onto your history, and the history of the early days of the agency— those years when you were a PCV—I urge you to check out Amazon.com and get a copy while this 110-page book, full of facts, maps, lists & graphs is still in print.