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Author Topic: Favorite Peace Corps books?  (Read 6754 times)

David

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Favorite Peace Corps books?
« on: December 21, 2013, 07:38:35 AM »
Since applying, I have been reading books to prepare myself.  Some were written by former Peace Corps Volunteers, and some not.  My two favorites have been
  • Living Poor by Moritz Thomsen -- this is my favorite book by an RPCV.  It was written by a Volunteer who served in the 60's.  I am not sure how relevant it is to what my service will be since the author's experience was much different from the Peace Corps of today, however it is beautifully written by a man who had a very good service in Ecuador.  In fact he fell in love with Ecuador and ended up moving back and living out his life there.
  • 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa by Stephanie Nolen -- since a lot of Peace Corps work has to do with HIV/AIDS in Africa this book could be very relevant.  It is a real eye opener and an education.  Your heart breaks at some of the stories.

Does anyone have any other recommendations?

Jane

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Re: Favorite Peace Corps books?
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2013, 06:19:31 PM »
I read 28 Stories.  If you end up working with HIV/AIDS in Africa, or even if you just go to Africa, you will be glad you read it.

Offline cam1989

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Re: Favorite Peace Corps books?
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2013, 11:21:07 PM »
The Road to Hell by Michael Maren

Offline cdillon8769

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Re: Favorite Peace Corps books?
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2013, 08:28:02 AM »
Adding these to my list! Thanks guys!
Caroline
Invitee: Lesotho, Africa June 2014

"The ones crazy enough to believe that they can change the world, do" Steve Jobs

Offline SueG

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Re: Favorite Peace Corps books?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2014, 03:43:26 PM »
When the World Calls by Stanley Meisler, history of Peace Corps, I love perspective and this books provides plenty. Peasants Come Last by J. Larry Brown, who served as a country director in Uganda (Sp?) Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris Holloway, a story of a PCV in Mali and her work with an amazing midwife. A Breeze in Bulgaria, the story of a married couple who joined the Peace Corps later in life. Finally, The Insiders Guide to the Peace Corps for a lot of practical information.

Offline PeaceCorps1

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Re: Favorite Peace Corps books?
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2014, 07:36:43 AM »
I bought "Living Poor" and will take it with me. However, I prefer articles that have a negative spin as I know that I can survive the positives of the 27 months. I want to hear or read downfalls so that I can better prepare for that potential mental space.
"If it were not for the reporters, I'd tell you the truth"', President Chester A. Arthur

Offline Molly

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Re: Favorite Peace Corps books?
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2014, 09:54:24 AM »
Pathologies of Power by Paul Farmer-- the protagonist in mountains beyond mountains.

It's a little angry, but it gives a great description of poverty in developing countries. I plan on bringing my copy with me! It centers around the idea of structural violence-- that a corrupt system can keep people down and their choices (and often their health) are directly affected. If you haven't heard of Paul Farmer, do a quick google search. He's amazing!


Offline George

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Re: Favorite Peace Corps books?
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2014, 05:33:56 AM »
Fanny Farmer cookbook - was very distant from everything and very little prior cooking experience.  Absolutely no cafe's or restaurants for 60 miles. Millet paste and sauce got old very fast.   Got to a city on average once a month The cookbook helped my shopping lists and improved the vareity of my meals.  Just making bisquits was huge!    1971-73 Burklina Faso

Offline wreloise

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Re: Favorite Peace Corps books?
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2014, 11:31:37 AM »
 :)
Eloise-Born to Serve

Offline RetiredFed

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Re: Favorite Peace Corps books?
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2014, 09:04:33 AM »
I don't claim any expertise in this, but I have read dozens of PC-related books and have quite a collection gathered from used-book stores and libraries that get rid of old books. 

In my opinion - hands down, the best ever written is Living Poor by Moritz Thomsen.   It is a very real description of how a volunteer can try so hard and still never succeed.  Thomsen went on to write (I think) 4 more books.  I have read two and he is a very good writer although a bit dark.

Other very good ones, Peace Corps Profile, An Ongoing Affair, In Search of the Ever-Illusive PC Moment, Taxi to Tashkent, Nine Hills to Nambonka, River Town.

Some I thought kinda sucked; Under the Neem Tree, How to Cook a Crocodile, A Cellar in Afrika, Power Lines

Come As You Are is a good description of the first years of PC.  It was soooo much better before all the political appointees took over.  PC in the 60s was fantastic - such a pioneering spirit.  Talk to some of those older RPCVs and ask them.  Many were just turned loose for 2 years and checked back in right before they COSd.

I would love to hear other's opinions.  I've always felt rather alone with my PC book hobby.

Offline RetiredFed

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Re: Favorite Peace Corps books?
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2014, 09:13:49 AM »
I just rememerd some others.  Land of Morning Calm (was never in print, but if you want it, I can send it to you), Peasants Come Last (already mentioned, this really exposes how the piled-on bureaucracy has sand-bagged our poor Country Directors), Mauritania (this was also never printed, I can send it to you)

Offline RetiredFed

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Re: Favorite Peace Corps books?
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2014, 05:02:06 PM »
Someone mentioned this book.  I have one and it'a pretty big book.
The Fanny Farmer Cookbook is online at http://bartleby.com/87/

Offline pcteacher68

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Re: Favorite Peace Corps books?
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2014, 07:13:50 PM »
Barbara Joe has written a book I enjoyed very much ...Hope and Triumph....her time in Honduras, which has discontinued the PC there. She returns every year to help out in the villages where she served. She's just written another....Check them out.

A PCV in Mexico