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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Fisher, James F. (Nepal, 1962–64).

Sherpas: Reflections on Change in Himalayan Nepal. With a foreword by Sir Edmund Hillary. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “James Fisher combines the strengths of technical anthropology, literary memoir, and striking photography in this telling study of rapid social change in Himalayan Nepal. The author first visited the Sherpas of Nepal when he accompanied Sir Edmund Hilary on the Himalayan Schoolhouse Expedition of 1964. Returning to the Everest region several times during the 1970s and 1980s, he discovered that the construction of the schools had far less impact than one of the by-products of their building: a short-take-off-and-landing airstrip. By reducing the time it took to travel between Kathmandu and the Everest region from a hike of several days to a 45-minute flight, the airstrip made a rapid increase in tourism possible. Beginning with his impressions of Sherpa society in pre-tourist days, Fisher traces the trajectory of contemporary Sherpa society reeling under the impact of modern education and mass tourism, and assesses the Sherpa's concerns for their future and how they believe these problems should be and eventually will be resolved.”

Fisher, Sandy (Colombia, 1962–64).

Colombia: Pictures & Stories. Manakin-Sabot, Virginia: Brookview Farm, 2011. Library of Congress Permalink:

Lawrence F. Lihosit’s summary:  “This book is an example of what patience and a good team can produce. There are maps, nearly 200 photographs and expertly edited text, all printed on 9 by 12 inch sheets, bound old-school style with a stitched binding and protected with a hard cover. The text is in three handsome columns with variations of ink and font sizes between sections and chapters. An art book as well as a memoir, it is a steal and a good reminder that memoirs, like Volunteers, come in all shapes, sizes and flavors. They may be written as one flowing story or, as in this case, in vignettes. Likewise, the style and presentation can vary just as we do. If you are thinking about preparing your own memoir, this is a great example of how to gracefully incorporate photos into your story. It also answers all the same basic questions asked in library archival interviews: where you were six months before service, why you joined, what you did, how the place and people were and what happened when you came home. This book is what Goal 3 is all about—sharing.”

Fleishhacker, David (Afghanistan, 1962–64).

Lessons from Afghanistan. [S.l.]: DF Publications, 2001. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “The events of September 11 suddenly made Afghanistan a focus of American interest. Yet a search of bookstores and libraries will reveal that no book about the country, its history, geography, or culture exists for the common reader. Using as a springboard a recounting of one of the earliest (and the smallest) Peace Corps projects that sent nine Americans to that nation in 1962, Lessons from Afghanistan explores what it is really like for someone to live in an essentially medieval culture in the current century. Conventions about the use of time and space, attitudes about life stemming from thousand-year old traditions, and the practical necessities of living in a country fragmented by geography and history are the underlying facts of life in Afghanistan. These are barriers to progress but, more important, they are the realities that Americans so poorly understand and must learn of in the process of becoming re-engaged with other nations in response to international terrorism. It is a book filled with incidents and experiences that describe a remote, little-understood culture, but it is also a book that reveals the blindness of our own culture to alternative worldviews outside our borders.”

Fox, Susan (Afghanistan, 1968–69).

Little Women of Baghlan: The story of a nursing school for girls in Afghanistan, the Peace Corps, and life before the Taliban. First Peace Corps Writers edition. Oakland, California: Peace Corps Writers, 2013. Library of Congress Permalink: description: “Little Women of Baghlan is the true account of an ordinary young woman who answers the call to service and adventure during an extraordinary time in world history. Her story rivals the excitement, intrigue, and suspense of any novel, unfolding against the backdrop of changing social mores, the Cold War, the Peace Corps, and a country at the crossroads of China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and Iran. When John F. Kennedy, delivers a speech in the Senate Chambers on a hot July day in 1957, a young girl named Joanne Carter listens from the Senate gallery. Ten years later Kennedy has been assassinated and America is mired in the Vietnam War. Jo remembers Kennedy’s words and is inspired to join the Peace Corps. She flies into Afghanistan on March 21, 1968. With co-workers Nan and Mary, Jo starts a school of nursing for Afghan girls. In January, the women travel on vacation to India, prompting the Peace Corps director in Kabul to dub them the “Little Women of Baghlan.” During her two-year deployment, Jo fills the pages of a small, compact diary, never dreaming her tiny handwriting will eventually become a significant historical account. Nearly a half century later, her journal is a bittersweet reminder of a country that has since vanished—a country on the brink of becoming a modern nation, moving toward the recognition of women’s rights. Afghanistan is no longer the name of a country, it is the name of a war. The country Jo once called home has been buried under layers of recent history, and there is little evidence to suggest that such a time or place ever existed.”

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