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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Halloran, John (Philippines, 1962–63).

A Wedding in Samar: An American Love Story. 1st ed. Elkhorn, Wisconsin: Puzzlebox Press, 2011. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: A memoir by an early Peace Corps Volunteer that describes his experiences in a remote setting on the island of Samar in the Philippines. Rich in the details of adapting to a life that included living in a town with no electricity, no water system, no automobiles, and no public market where fresh meat and fish might be had. Nonetheless, the memoir is a story about the diverse people of the town, including an attractive Filipina school teacher who captured the author's heart.

Hanner, Eloise (Afghanistan, 1971–73; Paraguay, 1999–2000).

Letters from Afghanistan. Boston: Branden Books, 2003. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “The year was 1971…The Russian hadn’t invaded and the Taliban didn’t exist. Eliose Hanner now takes us back to a simpler time and shares her story as a young teacher, living in Afghanistan as an American Peace Corps volunteer. Her letters to her mother bring to life the challenges she and her husband faced living as young volunteers and let us experience for ourselves the people and the customs of Afghanistan.

Hanson, Thor (Uganda, 1993–95).

The Impenetrable Forest: My Gorilla Years in Uganda. Warwick, New York: 1500 Books, 2008. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “For two years, Thor Hanson lived in a remote village on the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest where he worked with the local trackers to save one of the world’s most magnificent endangered species, the mountain gorilla. He survived the local moonshine, baboons stealing his vegetables and army ants attacking in his sleep with grace and good humor. In The Impenetrable Forest, Thor offers an unforgettable glimpse into the world of mountain gorillas and the African cultures that surround them.” Hanson is also author of Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle (New York: Basic Books, 2011) and The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, & Pips, Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History (New York: Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group, 2015).

Hazuka, Tom (Chile, 1978–80).

In the City of the Disappeared: A Novel. 1st ed. Bridgehampton, New York: Bridge Works Publisher, 2000. Library of Congress Permalink:

Subject: This is historical fiction involving Americans and the Peace Corps in Chile during the military regime of 1973–88.

Hellstrom, Travis, ed. (Mongolia, 2008–11).

Unofficial Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook. 1st ed. United States: Advance Humanity Publishing. Distributed by Lulu and, 2010. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “Peace Corps may be “the toughest job you’ll ever love but you don’t always have to learn that the hard way. This is the handbook we wish someone would have given us, something no one has provided before: a companion book that allows you to learn from the experiences of outstanding Volunteers and catalog your own experience from the very beginning of your service to the end. This is a guide and journal in an easy-to-use and easy-to-write-in handbook designed to be with you before you join, while you serve and after you come back from your Peace Corps experience.

Hemminger, William J. (Senegal, 1973–75).

African Son. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 2012. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “Records the author’s many trips to Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer, Fulbright scholar, teacher, and traveler over four decades. These personal essays range from sympathetic descriptions of village life in Senegal and Cameroon to detailed accounts of the rich physical and natural worlds in Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Madagascar.

Herrera, Susana (Cameroon, 1992–94).

Mango Elephants in the Sun: How Life in an African Village Let Me Be in My Skin. Boston: Shambhala, 1999. Library of Congress Permalink:

Award: Winner of the 2000 Paul Cowan Nonfiction Award given by Peace Corps Writers

Publisher’s description: “When the Peace Corps sends Susana Herrera to teach English in northern Cameroon, she yearns to embrace her adopted village and its people…and to forget a bitter childhood and painful past. To the villagers, however, she is a rich American tourist, a nasara (white person) who has never known pain or want. They stare at her in silence. The children giggle and run away. At first her only confidant is a miraculously communicative lizard. Susana fights back with every ounce of heart and humor she possesses, and slowly begins to make a difference. She ventures out to the village well and learns to carry water on her head. In a classroom crowded to suffocation she finds a way to discipline her students without resorting to the beatings they are used to. She makes ice cream in the scorching heat, and learns how to plant millet and kill chickens. She laughs with the villagers, cries with them, works and prays with them, heals and is helped by them.

Hessler, Peter (China, 1996–98).

River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze. 1st ed. New York: HarperCollins, 2000. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “Records the author’s experiences as a Peace Corps English teacher in the small Chinese city of Fuling, during which time he witnessed such events as the death of Deng Xiaoping, the return of Hong Kong to the mainland, and the construction of the Three Gorges Dam.

Country Driving: A Journey through China from Farm to Factory. 1st ed. New York: Harper, 2010. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “In this penetrating narrative account, Hessler investigates China’s lurch into modernity as he survives the advent of the nation’s uniquely terrifying car culture, probes the transformation of village life, and explores China’s frantic industrialization.

Strange Stones—Dispatches from East and West. New York: Harper Perennial, 2013. Library of Congress Permalink: description: “Full of unforgettable figures and an unrelenting spirit of adventure, Strange Stones is a far-ranging, thought-provoking collection of Peter Hessler’s best reportage—a dazzling display of the powerful storytelling, shrewd cultural insight, and warm sense of humor that are the trademarks of his work. Over the last decade, as a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of three books, Peter Hessler has lived in Asia and the United States, writing as both native and knowledgeable outsider in these two very different regions. This unusual perspective distinguishes Strange Stones, which showcases Hessler’s unmatched range as a storyteller. “Wild Flavor” invites readers along on a taste test between two rat restaurants in South China. One story profiles Yao Ming, basketball star and China’s most beloved export, another David Spindler, an obsessive and passionate historian of the Great Wall. In “Dr. Don,” Hessler writes movingly about a small-town pharmacist and his relationship with the people he serves. While Hessler’s subjects and locations vary, subtle but deeply important thematic links bind these pieces—the strength of local traditions, the surprising overlap between apparently opposing cultures, and the powerful lessons drawn from individuals who straddle different worlds.”

Oracle Bones: A Journey between China’s Past and Present. 1st ed. New York: HarperCollins, 2006. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher's description: “From the acclaimed author of River Town comes a rare portrait, both intimate and epic, of twenty-first-century China as it opens its doors to the outside world. A century ago, outsiders saw China as a place where nothing ever changes. Today the country has become one of the most dynamic regions on earth. That sense of time—the contrast between past and present, and the rhythms that emerge in a vast, ever-evolving country—is brilliantly illuminated by Peter Hessler in Oracle Bones, a book that explores the human side of China's transformation. Hessler tells the story of modern-day China and its growing links to the Western world as seen through the lives of a handful of ordinary people. In addition to the author, an American writer living in Beijing, the narrative follows Polat, a member of a forgotten ethnic minority, who moves to the United States in search of freedom; William Jefferson Foster, who grew up in an illiterate family and becomes a teacher; Emily, a migrant factory worker in a city without a past; and Chen Mengjia, a scholar of oracle-bone inscriptions, the earliest known writing in East Asia, and a man whose tragic story has been lost since the Cultural Revolution. All are migrants, emigrants, or wanderers who find themselves far from home, their lives dramatically changed by historical forces they are struggling to understand. Peter Hessler excavates the past and puts a remarkable human face on the history he uncovers. In a narrative that gracefully moves between the ancient and the present, the East and the West, Hessler captures the soul of a country that is undergoing a momentous change before our eyes.”

Highland, Frederick (Micronesia, 1967–69).

Night Falls on Damascus. 1st ed. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2006. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “Set in the exotic and turbulent world of Syria in the 1930s, Night Falls on Damascus tells the story of a French-Syrian police inspector, Nikolai Faroun, caught up in a complex murder investigation of a beautiful and controversial woman from a prominent Damascus family…. A gripping murder mystery, Night Falls on Damascus richly evokes a time and place where the deadly conflict between modernism and tradition in the Middle East first came into play.

Hillmann, Michael Craig (Iran, 1965–67).

Iranian Culture: A Persianist View. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1990. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “In light of the great importance Iranians themselves attach to their imaginative Persian literature and in light of the underutilization of literary figures, works, and evidence in existing studies of Iranian culture, this work focuses on leading authors and classic literary works in attempting to discern enduring cultural features and values. It is a Persianist account of the pivotal features of Iranian cultures through the eyes of six Persian literary figures, three from the pre-modern and three from the modern literary history of Iran. The work examines the literary dimensions of the Persian culture as well as the political, social and religious significance of the dimensions within the culture. The author reveals the ancient Persian tradition of the struggle between two opposing forces and the way in which it relates to the present political turmoil in that country.


Hiltebrand, Ellen (Guatemala, 1991–93).

When I Was Elena. Sag Harbor, New York: Permanent Press, 2006. Library of Congress Permalink:

Summary: This is a memoir of a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala named Ellen Urbani. Although a privileged Southerner, she has the fortitude to persevere in the face of daunting challenges.

Hirsch, Jane Brown (Nigeria, 1966–68).

Alhaji: A Peace Corps Adventure in Nigeria. Santa Barbara, California: Fithian Press, 1994. Library of Congress Permalink:

Subject: This is a Peace Corps teacher’s account of her encounter with Nigerian social life and customs and the Hausa tribe in the village of Katsina.

Hobbie, Charles A. (Korea, 1968–71).

The Time of the Monkey, Rooster, and Dog: A Peace Corps Volunteer’s Years in Korea. Bloomington, Indiana: iUniverse, 2011. description: “The year 1969 was a time of war in Vietnam; it was a time of peace in Korea, however, as an armistice held on the Korean peninsula, two thousand miles north of Saigon. Almost three hundred Peace Corps volunteers were serving in Korea then as teachers and health workers. In The Time of the Monkey, Rooster, and Dog, author Charles A. Hobbie details his service in Korea as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English. It was a time of awakening for both Korea and for Hobbie. Filled with insights into the times and the people both in Korea and the Peace Corps, this memoir captures the essence of a rapidly changing nation. Hobbie narrates the experiences of his three unforgettable, challenging years in Korea from 1968 to 1971. He describes the people, streets, and markets of Daegu, the friendships and fellowship of students and fellow teachers, the rugged mountain ranges, the exuberance of Korean drumming and dancing, and the laughter and kindness of Korean families. Told through the eyes of a young Peace Corps volunteer, this firsthand account provides a look at the early years of Korea's transformation while telling Hobbie’s own life-changing story.”

Holloway, Kris (Mali, 1989–91).

Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali. John Bidwell, consulting editor. Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, 2007. Library of Congress Permalink:

Summary: This is a memoir about a white volunteer assigned to a remote village in Mali to assist a midwife, Monique. Together they make changes in how African women are treated.

Howard, Christopher R. (Mongolia, 1997).

The Tea of Ulaanbaatar: A Novel. A Seven Stories Press 1st ed. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2011. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “...Christopher Howard’s debut novel, Tea of Ulaanbaatar: the story of disaffected Peace Corps volunteer Warren, who flees life in late-capitalist America to find himself stationed in the post-Soviet industrial hell of urban Mongolia. As the American presence crumbles, Warren seeks escape in tsus, the mysterious “blood tea that may be the final revenge of the defeated Khans—or that may be only a powerful hallucinogen operating on an uneasy mind—as a phantasmagoria of violence slowly envelops him. With prose that combines Benjamin Kunkel’s satiric bite, William Burroughs’s dark historical reimagining, and a lush literary beauty all his own, Christopher Howard in Tea of Ulaanbaatar unfolds a story of expatriate angst, the dark side of globalization, and middle-class nightmares—and announces himself as one of the most inventive and ambitious of the new generation of American novelists.

Hudson, Rex A. (Bolivia, 1970–71), ed.

Colombia: A Country Study. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress / Federal Research Division, 2010. For sale by USGPO. Library of Congress Permalink:

Online PDF version: (PDF, 22.1)

Summary: This in-depth country profile includes insightful chapters by the late historian emeritus, Dr. David Bushnell (“The Historical Setting); Colombian economists Drs. Roberto Steiner and Hernán Vallejo (“The Economy); Dr. Arlene B. Tickner (“Politics and Government); and Dr. Ann C. Mason (“National Security). This study is an attempt to treat in a concise and objective manner the dominant historical, social, political, economic, and national security aspects of contemporary Colombia, which is emerging as one of South America’s most dynamic economies. Other online books in the worldwide Country Studies Series can be found at:

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