We Called him Sarge — Remembering Sargent Shriver


Next year, as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Peace Corps, Rosetta Books will publish We Called It a War by Sargent Shriver.

This book was an unfinished memoir of Shriver’s about his work with the War on Poverty, and also much about starting and developing the Peace Corps. It had been edited by a partner in his law firm, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, LLP.

Bill Josephson, Special Assistant to the Director and then General Counsel during the Shriver years, wrote in the Foreword of the book, “The manuscript of We Called It a War came to light, after nearly fifty years, in a box of Sargent Shriver documents that the Sargent Shriver Peace Institute received from Special Olympics International.

When We Called It a War is published, Marian Beil and I– through our website that focuses on the Peace Corps and Peace Corps writers– want to publish a special section about Sarge. Our memories of him.

We are writing you to ask if you might send us your remembrance of Sarge, a special moment you had with him, what he did once that has always stayed in your mind. Anything funny, sad, or profound. It should be shorter than 700 words, and may be edited. If you have a photo or two of you and Sarge, we would be happy if you would include those as well.

Marian, with her design skills, will create on:  www.peacecorpsworldwide.org a permanent place for your remembrances about him.

As we know, PCVs and staff come and go at the agency . . . Sarge famously declared, “In, Up and Out”. Well, these 60 years later, we don’t want anyone to forget Sargent Shriver and how he changed our lives.

Thank you for your time on this special request. We look forward to reading your recollections.

Thank you.

Marian Haley Beil (Ethiopia 1962-64, PC/HQ 1965-69)

John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64- APCD Ethiopia 1965-67); PC/NYC 1995-2000)

To submit a remembrance write:  jcoyneone@gmail.com

We Called It A War
Sargent Shriver (first Peace Corps Director)
Rosetta Books
January, 2021 — Pre-order Price Guarantee
348 pages
$27.99 (hardcover)


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  • I remember Sarge at Rutgers University, first training site for the Peace Corps for Colombia I. He rode up on horseback as we were training to ride, and in his usual jest asked: ‘Do we really need to do this.’ He probably couldn’t fathom that his first volunteers were about to spend 2 years on horseback. Later he complimented our first group that ‘[we] knew instinctively what to do.” This would have meant a lot to him as we were sent into the field as a group of disorganized developers to do something called Accion Comunal but we did our level best adapting our programs to the environment along the way.

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