Library of Congress

Peace Corps Authors Bibliography

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Find books in the Library of Congress Collections by 200 authors who served in the Peace Corps.

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Carrozzi, Craig J. (Colombia, 1978–80).

The Road to El Dorado. San Francisco: Southern Trails Publishing, 1997. Library of Congress Permalink:

Subject: This is a fictional story of a Peace Corps volunteer who struggles “to gain the trust of a tough group of juvenile delinquents and the guards and administration of a detention facility in Colombia.”

Carter, Jason (South Africa, 1998–2000).

Power Lines: Two Years on South Africa’s Borders. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 2002. Library of Congress Permalink:

Award: Peace Corps Writers Paul Cowan Nonfiction Award winner, 2003

Subject: As a Peace Corps volunteer, Jason Carter, the grandson of former president Jimmy Carter, spent two years with a rural family in a former black homeland near the Swaziland border. Power Lines is the author’s story of a community’s quest to dissolve deep racial barriers.

Carter, Lillian (India, 1967–69), and Gloria Carter Spann.

Away from Home: Letters to My Family. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1977. Library of Congress Permalink:

Subject: At the age of 68, Lillian Carter (1898–1983), the mother of former President Jimmy Carter, joined the Peace Corps and served in India.

Casebolt, Marjorie DeMoss (Guatemala, 1988–91).

Margarita: A Guatemalan Peace Corps Experience. 1st ed. Gig Harbor, Washington: Red Apple Publisher, 2000. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “In 1988 the author was assigned to serve in the Peace Corps as a nutritionist in a health center in southeastern Guatemala. In her field of home economics and education, she started women’s groups, taught public health in local schools, and worked at the health center with Guatemalan medical interns and with a nurse, especially weighing and measuring babies. Since her name Marjorie could not be translated into Spanish, everyone called her Margarita. In her two years of living and working in the small, poverty-stricken village of Llano Grande, she felt totally accepted because of the wonderful people.”

Cazacu, Lisa Fisher (Romania, 2002–04), and Rosemary Colgrove.

Bread, Salt, & Plum Brandy: A True Story of Love and Adventure in a Foreign Land. 1st ed. San Diego, California: Aventine Press, 2009. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “Bread, Salt & Plum Brandy is an insightful and eye-opening account of Lisa Fisher Cazacu’s odyssey as a Peace Corps volunteer in post-communist Romania. With humor and pathos, Lisa shares her experiences, and her relationship with a charming young lawyer from Bucharest, who experienced first-hand the horrors of Nicolae Ceausescu’s reign of terror. Often humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, this collection of observations and experiences offers a unique insight into the journey of a Peace Corps volunteer, and the indomitable spirit of the Romanian people.”

Chen, Jay (Kazakhstan, 2005–08). Jane Albritton, series ed. (India, 1967–69).

A Small Key Opens Big Doors: 50 Years of Amazing Peace Corps Stories: v. 3, The Heart of Eurasia. “Peace Corps @ 50.” Palo Alto: Travelers’ Tales, 2011. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “The Cold War officially ended in 1991 and opened a world of fresh opportunities for the Peace Corps. The fact that PCVs [Peace Corps Volunteers] could move seamlessly into a constellation of states that once comprised the USSR [Union of Soviet Socialist Republics] is a testament to the flexibility and durability of the organization. All Peace Corps needs is an invitation. Volunteers are always ready to step up, learn a new language, learn some new skills, and then go to work in unfamiliar lands. Of the 40 stories in this volume, some reach back to early Peace Corps years in Iran and Turkey.”

Chilson, Peter (Niger, 1985–87).

Disturbance-Loving Species: A Novella and Stories. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “In the tradition of Paul Theroux, Peter Chilson’s fiction debut delivers a fascinating, heart-wrenching view of modern African culture, filtered through the lens of the West. The collection explores the experiences of Americans struggling to cope with life in Africa, and of Africans acclimating to life in the United States. In a novella and four short stories, Chilson uses a phrase borrowed from biology to point out how our “disturbance-loving species” thrives in the most chaotic, seemingly uninhabitable situations. In the opening novella, an idealistic young college graduate teaching in Niger witnesses his colleague’s abduction by soldiers at gunpoint. “American Food,” winner of the Gulf Coast Prize for fiction, finds a West African professor trying to preserve his culinary customs while living in a small Oregon town.”

Riding the Demon: On the Road in West Africa. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1999. Library of Congress Permalink:

Subject: This nonfiction travel memoir focuses on Niger, a country without railroads or domestic airlines, where the roads are the only lifeline.


Christofferson, Andy (Tanzania, 2002–04).

The Peace Corpse: Misadventures in Love and Africa. Charleston: South Carolina, 2011. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “Imagine a white, 22-year-old college kid from Montana volunteering to serve in the Peace Corps with the intention of bringing knowledge and friendship to the developing world. That was me, along with the others who served with me in Tanzania for two years. At least, that was the idea. I have to admit that I failed to fit the stereotype. The “wide-eyed, self-righteous do-gooder serving the noble cause.” See, I may very well be the only Peace Corps Volunteer in the history of the organization to sincerely, foolishly, and romantically propose marriage to a local girl, only to have her say no. This is not only funny but cruel, considering that to the majority of Tanzanians, an American kid like me is their golden ticket to a better life. Of course, that wasn’t all I did. I taught advanced chemistry at an all-girls school, kayaked my way into Zimbabwe, and learned just how little water a human being can survive on. I also spent a good chunk of time having outdoor adventures around East Africa. In my defense, I did accomplish a few useful things. My time in Peace Corps wasn’t a complete waste, so I decided to share my journey. My goal with this book is to give a very raw, straightforward, analytical—but also humorous—picture of both what a typical Peace Corps experience is like, as well as offer some insight into the current conditions of life in East Africa. For kids who are thinking of joining the Peace Corps, laugh and learn. For other readers, just laugh, at me or with me. It sure is better than crying about it.”

Ciullo, James A. (Venezuela, 1969–71).

Orinoco. Five Star Publisher, 2007. 1st ed. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s summary: “Marialena Morales, a young college student, becomes a CIA agent after September 11, 2001, and is assigned to Venezuela, where she happens upon the ambush of two U.S. senators.” Unknown adversaries have assassinated one senator and kidnapped the other, who is Joe LaCarta, the novel’s protagonist. The plot of this mystery/suspense novel unfolds along Venezuela’s mysterious Río Orinoco.

Clark, Andrew F. (Senegal, 1978–81), and Lucie Colvin Phillips

Historical Dictionary of Senegal. 2nd edition, Metuchen, New Jersey: Scarecrow Press, 1994. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “Senegal has traditionally been the meeting place of Islamic and coastal themes in African studies, bringing together Arab, European and various African influences into its rich and fascinating history. The modern Republic of Senegal has attracted attention for its highly visible role on the international stage and its successful democratic system in an ethnically diverse area. Political scientists have focused on the country’s integration of African socialism, democracy and Islam while development economists have studied efforts to alleviate the Sahelian drought and desertification. This considerably revised edition provides historical, economic, political, and social data, maps and information on the organizations, individuals, peoples, traditions and and ideas that shaped and continue to mold national and daily life…. The new introduction presents an overview of all regions of Senegal from the earliest times to the present, followed by a detailed chronology of events. An extended review of the scholarly literature in English and French precedes the extremely expanded, comprehensive and updated bibliography.”

Clarke, Thurston (Tunisia, 1968).

Searching for Paradise: A Journey among the Last Real Islands. New York: Ballantine Books, 2001. Library of Congress Permalink:

Subject: The author recounts his island-hopping around the oceans of the world from Más a Tierra [Isla Juan Fernández] (Daniel Defoe’s inspiration for Robinson Crusoe) to Jura in the Hebrides, where George Orwell wrote 1984.

Equator: A Journey. 1st ed. New York: Morrow, 1988. Library of Congress Permalink:

Summary: Following in the footsteps of Mark Twain, the author recounts his travels through the equatorial countries of French Guiana, Brazil, Ecuador, Gabon, Zaire (present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo), Sumatra, Borneo, Christmas Island (Kiritimati), and Abermama.

Clinton, Jerome W. (Iran, 1962–64), Donald L. Stilo, and Kamran Talattof.

Spoken and Written. 1st ed. 2 v. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1991. Library of Congress Permalink:

Subject: “Volume I emphasizes speaking and understanding, and Volume 2 focuses on the written language.”

Coburn, Broughton (Nepal, 1973–75).

Everest: Mountain without Mercy. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 1997. Library of Congress Permalink:

Subject: “The author traces (and photographs) each step of the Mount Everest expedition of David Breashears, the first American to scale Everest twice.”

Nepali Aama: Life Lessons of a Himalayan Woman. New York: Anchor Books, 1995. Library of Congress Permalink:

Summary: While living in teaching school in a farming village on the edge of Nepal’s Himalayan Mountains in 1973, Coburn developed a unique friendship with a septuagenarian native widow named Vishnu Maya Gurung. Illustrated with his own photos, Nepali Aama is Coburn’s account of his experiences living, working, and traveling with Aama.

The Vast Unknown: America's First Ascent of Everest. Crown Publishers, 2013. Library of Congress Permalink: description: “By the author of the New York Times bestselling Everest: Mountain without Mercy, this chronicle of the iconic first American expedition to Mt. Everest in May 1963 – published to coincide with the climb's 50th anniversary¬ – combines riveting adventure, a perceptive analysis of its dark and terrifying historical context, and revelations about a secret mission that followed. In the midst of the Cold War, against the backdrop of the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the space race with the Soviet Union, and the quagmire of the Vietnam War, a band of iconoclastic, independent-minded American mountaineers set off for Mt. Everest, aiming to restore America's confidence and optimism. Their objective is to reach the summit while conducting scientific research, but which route will they take? Might the Chinese, in a public relations coup, have reached the top ahead of them? And what about another American team, led by the grandson of a President, that nearly bagged the peak in a bootleg attempt a year earlier? The Vast Unknown is, on one level, a harrowing, character-driven account of the climb itself and its legendary team of alternately inspiring, troubled, and tragic climbers who suffered injuries, a near mutiny, and death on the mountain. It is also an examination of the profound sway the expedition had over the American consciousness and sense of identity during a time when the country was floundering. And it is an investigation of the expedition's little-known outcome: the selection of a team to plant a CIA surveillance device on the Himalayan peak of Nanda Devi, to spy into China where Defense Intelligence learned that nuclear missile testing was underway.”

Cornelius, Gary P. (South Africa, 2012–13).

Dancing with Gogos: A Peace Corps Memoir. Oakland, California: Peace Corps Writers, 2014. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “Dancing with Gogos is the story of one man’s effort to make a difference in a collection of Zulu villages in rural South Africa, while fulfilling a life-long dream of serving in the United States Peace Corps. It’s the story of learning a new language, of immersing oneself in a different culture, of leaving a love 15,000 kilometers behind, and discovering the unexpected chance to find a new one half-a-world away. It’s the story of South Africa’s history of apartheid and the effects of that sorry legacy on tens of millions of black Africans who to this day struggle to leave behind 500 years of oppression. Gary Cornelius and 35 other would-be volunteers find themselves in a remote village in Mpumalanga Province as “trainees” for nine weeks of grueling learning before they can be sworn in as volunteers in “CHOP” – Peace Corps South Africa’s Community HIV-AIDS Outreach Program – to assume front-line positions in the battle to reduce spread of the disease in a country with one of the highest rates in the world. It’s an adventure none will ever forget.”

Cornett, Meredith W. (Panama, 1991–93).

Heart of Palms: My Peace Corps Years in Tranquilla. Foreword by Florence Reed. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2014. Library of Congress Permalink: description: “Heart of Palms is a clear-eyed memoir of Peace Corps service in the rural Panamanian village of Tranquilla through the eyes of a young American woman trained as a community forester. In the storied fifty-year history of the US Peace Corps, Heart of Palms is the first Peace Corps memoir set in Panama, the slender isthmus that connects two continents and two oceans. In her memoir, Meredith Cornett transports readers to the remote village of Tranquilla, where dugout canoes are the mainstay of daily transportation, life and nature are permeated by witchcraft, and a restful night’s sleep may be disturbed by a raiding phalanx of army ants. Combating deforestation leads Cornett into an equally fierce battle against her own feelings of fear and isolation. Her journey to Panama becomes a parallel journey into herself. In this way, Heart of Palms is much more than a record of her Peace Corps service; it is also a moving environmental coming-of-age story and nuanced meditation on one village’s relationship to nature. When she returns home two years later, Cornett brings with her both skills and experience and a remarkable, newfound sense of confidence and mission.”

Cumings, Bruce (South Korea, 1967–69).

Korea’s Place in the Sun: A Modern History. New York: W. W. Norton, 2005. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “Bruce Cumings traces the growth of Korea from a string of competing walled city-states to its present dual nationhood. He examines the ways in which Korean culture has been influenced by Japan and China, and the ways in which it has subtly influenced its more powerful neighbors. Cumings also considers the recent changes in the South, where authoritarianism is giving way to democracy, and in the North, which Cumings depicts as a “socialist corporatist” state more like a neo-Confucian kingdom than a Stalinist regime. Korea’s Place in the Sun does much to help Western readers understand the complexities of Korea’s past and present.”

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