RPCV Book Makes New York Times Summer Reading Book List
Only one book–of the many RPCV writers books published this spring/summer– has made The New York Times Book Review Summer Reading list published June 2, 2019. This thick section of the Times–67 pages–has in its “Roundups” section a Travel list and in it reviewer Liesl Schillinger, a critic and translator, singles out In Putin’s Footsteps: Searching for the Soul of an Empire Across Russia’ Eleven Time Zones published by St. Martin’s and written by Nina Khrushcheva and Jeffrey Tayler (Morocco 1988-90) calling the book a “fascinating account of their travels in 2017 between Kamchatka and Kaliningrad.” Their book, Schillinger writes, “delivers a unified impression of a ‘coherently incoherent’ Russia.”
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Congratulations indeed. May it make way for others by RPCV and RPCsa (staff also) who had had so much experience and education from and in and by their PEACE CORPS EXPERIENCES.(which could be a possible title of a portmanteau volume put together and written and edited by you and Marian and Joanne and John and another). Who else? other. Press on, you heroes also of the pen and page.
I have been thinking again about the beginnings of the Peace Corps (I had been an intern at WGBH-TV then on the MIT campus in
Cambridge and in the 1960 summer when I first began hearing of some pointed pre-peace corps without of course that name. And then Harold Stassen, Hubert Humphrey, Mrs Roosevelt, Adalai Stevenson, and Senator John F. Kennedy came by the station before the conventions on our New England News program with the Nieman Foundation for Journalism host for who I worked as the technical camera switching director his series twice weekly –15 minutes/ or 14min28secs–) . Then they came back after the Dem and Rep conventions. The program questions interest to us was each time about an international program somewhat equivalent to the Friends Foreign Service Committee.
When the next year came and KENNEDY was elected and in March I recall established the PC and following the call went out to take tests then I took the one in Harvard Yard at the Sanders I think, in the basement on Saturday. At the end of May 1961, I got snagged to go to Ghana even though the telegram said China and I figured would be Ghana and had confused the clerk sending it. Then to UC Berkeley in June 1961 for training. The D.C. & the White House end of August before going by a 2-engine Convair Aug 31, 1961 with first fueling stop The Azores, then down again to Dakar, Senegal to pick-up supplies (I guess for the U.S.Embassy), then up and then down in Accra where we were shuttled to The University College (buillt on the Jefferson U of Virginia model) in nearby Legon for a week of talking, looking, and learning where to be sent.
Preface to this all was my beginning to all this having come up from Dallas and North Texas State-Denton grad studies with a teaching fellowship there to Boston University as a Lowell Fellow. I stayed in the Back Bay near Copley Square. The other day I wrote about what it was like where I settled. You might be amused at the history-feeling-memory of “back then”:
MADE ITS WAY BELOW THROUGH SUNKEN ALLEYS BEHIND MRS CURTIS’S BASEMENT KITCHEN.
FROM MY THIRD FLOOR I MIGHT HEAR CATS SCRABBLING THROUGH BACK YARDS’ TRASH.
SHARDS OF BROKEN GLASS, DIAMOND-LIKE, SPARKLED WITHIN THAT NARROW ALLEY LANE.
HAVING DANCED DOWN SLIPPERY BRICK STEPS THOSE CATS HAD TAKEN OVER A BOSTON NIGHT.
1960, HALFWAY DOWN DARTHMOUTH PLACE, A WALK TO COPLEY SQUARE, I WAS 23 RENTING
IN A PART BOARDED-UP DEAD END ROW A ‘LIGHT HOUSEKEEPING’ ROOM FOR 7 BUCK 50 A WEEK
ON LINED NOTEBOOK PAGES IN PENCIL I PRESSED DOWN SCRABBLY POEMS AS IF ON PARCHMENT.
© COPYRIGHT Edward Mycue 27 May 2019 Memorial Day 8:58am