Find books in the Library of Congress Collections by 200 authors who served in the Peace Corps.
Download the bibliography (PDF, 1.01MB)
Dambach, Charles F. (Chic) (Colombia, 1967–69); introduction by Congressman John Garamendi (Ethiopia, 1966–68); foreword by Peter Yarrow.
Exhaust the Limits: The Life and Times of a Global Peacebuilder. Baltimore, Maryland: Apprentice House, 2010. Library of Congress Permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/2010022705
Publisher’s description: “Inspired by the leaders, causes, and music of his youth, Chic Dambach set out to change the world. This is the fascinating life story of a ‘60s antiwar and free speech leader who remained true to his values and helped build a more peaceful world. Along the way, he witnessed the torture of a black football teammate, he led a strike for his Peace Corps training group, his best friend and mentor was murdered, he donated a kidney to save his son's life, faced financial ruin, helped end two major wars in Africa, and created the first Global Symposium of Peaceful Nations. Exhaust the Limits is a compelling adventure story and road map for idealists young and old.”
Davis, Matthew (Mongolia, 2000–02).
When Things Get Dark: A Mongolian Winter’s Tale. 1st ed. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2010. Library of Congress Permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/2009039232
Publisher’s description: “At 23, Matt Davis moved to a remote Mongolian town to teach English. What he found when he arrived was a town—and a country—undergoing wholesale change from a traditional, countryside existence to a more urban, modern identity. When Things Get Dark documents these changes through the Mongolians Matt meets, but also focuses on the author’s downward spiral into alcohol abuse and violence—a scenario he saw played out by many of the Mongolian men around him. Matt’s self-destruction culminates in a drunken fight with three men that forces him to a hospital to have his kidneys X-rayed. He hits bottom in that cold hospital room, his body naked and shivering, a bloodied Mongolian man staring at him from an open door, the irrational thought in his head that maybe he is going to die there. His personal struggles are balanced with insightful descriptions of customs and interactions, and interlaced with essays on Mongolian history and culture that make for a fascinating glimpse of a mysterious place and people.”
Deutschle, Phil (Nepal, 1977–80).
Across African Sand: Journeys of a Witch Doctor’s Son-in-Law. 1st ed. Salem, Oregon: DIMI Press, 2000. Library of Congress Permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/99067881
Subject: This is a former Peace Corps volunteer’s account of his experience cycling in the Kalahari Desert.
The Two Year Mountain: The Gripping Story of One Man’s Spiritual and Physical Odyssey in the Mountains of Nepal. New York: Universe Books, 1986. Library of Congress Permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/86040206
Publisher’s description: “Combining adventure story, travel log, and personal confession, this absorbing account describes a wrenching experience that belies the idealistic expectations of many Peace Corps volunteers. Following a stint as a volunteer teacher in a Nepalese village, Phil Deutschle sets off alone on an expedition to conquer Pharchamo, 20,580 feet high, which has claimed several lives. This trek forms the framework of the book, and into it Deutschle weaves the story of his experiences in sharply etched, swiftly moving, often humorous anecdotes.”
D’Haem, Jeanne (Somalia, 1968–70).
The Last Camel: True Stories about Somalia. Lawrenceville, New Jersey: Red Sea Press, 1997. Library of Congress Permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/97008108
Award: Winner of the 1998 Paul Cowan Nonfiction Award given by Peace Corps Writers
Publisher’s description: “The Last Camel is a collection of stories about the people who live in a little village in Northern Somalia. These are compelling tales about African spirits, clever women, untouchable Midgaans, sagacious elders who struggle with modern technology, bandits, and a few goats. The stories are embellished; each one illustrates a special aspect of Somali culture. The tales are told by a young American Peace Corps teacher who lived alone in the village of Arabsiyo in Northern Somalia in the late 60s. The village had no electricity, no telephone, no reliable water supply, and little food. The Somali villagers who were born in Arabsiyo, and the American who came to live among them, struggled mightily to understand each other and the changing world about them. The book reveals the complex hearts and minds of the Somali people because it was written by a young woman who slept among the camels, spoke the language, starved, smiled, and savored life in Africa.”
Dirlam, Sharon (Russia/Far East, 1996–98).
Beyond Siberia: Two Years in a Forgotten Place. Santa Barbara, California: McSeas Books, 2004. Library of Congress Permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/2004302995
Publisher’s description: “Sharon Dirlam and John McCafferty were Peace Corps volunteers in Birobidjan, capital of the Jewish Autonomous Region of Russia, a place that was cut off from foreigners for most of the twentieth century. The Russians they came to know, their relationships with these two Americans and with each other, and the passions and intrigues of the people around them are the heart of this true story.”
Donelson, Linda (Cameroon, 1965–66; Ghana, 1966–67).
Out of Isak Dinesen: Karen Blixen’s Untold Story. Foreword by Don Mowatt; afterword by Anne Born. Iowa City, Iowa: Coulsong; Chicago: [distributor] IPG, 1998. Library of Congress Permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/98072165
Awards: RPCV [Returned Peace Corps Volunteer] Writers & Readers’ Paul Cowan Nonfiction Award, 1996; Writer’s Digest Grand Prize
Subject: This is a nonfiction biography of Karen Blixen (1885–1962), also known by her pseudonym, Isak Dinesen, Danish author of the classic novel Out of Africa. Subjects include Blixen’s home in Kenya; Kenyan social life and customs, 1895–1963; and Kenyan intellectual life in the twentieth century.
Drew, Eileen (Zaire, 1979–81).
Blue Taxis: Stories about Africa. Foreword by Rosellen Brown. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Milkweed Editions, 1989. Library of Congress Permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/89012595
Awards: Milkweed National Fiction Prize, 1989; New York Times Notable Book, 1989
Publisher’s note: “Stories deal with the interaction between native Africans and American diplomats, volunteer workers, and missionaries.”
D’Souza, Tony (Côte d’Ivoire, 2000–02; Madagascar, 2002–03).
Whiteman. 1st ed. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt, 2006. Library of Congress Permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/2005025459
Awards: Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist for First Fiction
Publisher’s summary: “Whiteman is the author’s debut novel about a maverick American relief worker caught in a violent conflict in an Ivory Coast village, which he refuses to abandon despite the cut-off of his funding.” It is also about a white man’s assimilation into Ivorian village culture.