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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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Magnarella, Paul J. (Turkey, 1963–65).

Tradition and Change in a Turkish Town. Cambridge: Schenkman: New York: John Wiley, 1974 (revised ed. Schenkman, 1981). Library of Congress Permalink:

Subject: The book is an expansion of the author’s Harvard University dissertation thesis.

Maskarinec, Gregory G. (Nepal, 1979–81).

The Rulings of the Night: An Ethnography of Nepalese Shaman Oral Texts. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1995. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “It is impossible to discuss what shamans are and what they do, contends Gregory G. Maskarinec, without knowing what shamans say. When Maskarinec took an interest in shaman rituals on his first visit to Nepal, he was told by many Nepalis and Westerners that the shamans he had encountered in the Himalayan foothills of western Nepal engaged in "meaningless mumblings." But in the course of several years of fieldwork he learned from the shamans that both their long, publicly chanted rituals and their whispered, secretive incantations are oral texts meticulously memorized through years of training. In The Rulings of the Night, he shows how the shamans, during their dramatic night-long performances, create the worlds of words in which shamans exist.”

Mass, Leslie Noyes (Pakistan, 1962–64).

Back to Pakistan: A Fifty-Year Journey. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2011. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “In 1962, Leslie Noyes was one of the first to answer the call of President Kennedy. She found herself in a remote village in Pakistan, 21 years old, and fresh from college graduation, with the only directive to “find something to do” in a Muslim village with no other Peace Corps volunteers, no other Westerners, no program, and scarce resources. Coming face to face with her naiveté, youthful arrogance, and inexperience, she muddles her way through her first year of service, moves on to a larger city with other volunteers, then returns home to pursue a career as an educator. Forty-seven years later, she returns to Pakistan—a much-changed woman to a much-changed country. She intersperses the current-day tale with the journal entries from 1962, thereby providing a colorful and poignant comparison between a country in its infancy and a country in transition, and the woman of 21 with the woman of 68.”


McCauley, William (Sierra Leone, 1985–87).

The Turning Over. Sag Harbor, New York: Permanent Press, 1998. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “The experiences of an American aid worker in Africa. He hates the rampant corruption, but likes the plentiful sex and drugs. Sent on a fishing project into the interior of Sierra Leone, he runs into armed rebels and nearly dies.”

McMahon, Tyler (El Salvador, 1999–02).

Kilometer 99: A Novel. 1st ed. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2014. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “Malia needs to leave El Salvador. A surfer and aspiring engineer, she came to Central America as a Peace Corps volunteer and fell in love with Ben. Malia's past year has been perfect: her weeks spent building a much-needed aqueduct in the countryside, and her weekends spent with Ben, surfing point-breaks in the nearby port city of La Libertad. Suddenly, a major earthquake devastates the country and brings an abrupt end to her work. Ben and Malia decide to move on. Now free of obligations, they have an old car, a wad of cash, surfboards, and rough plans for an epic trip through South America. Just as they're about to say goodbye to their gritty and beloved Salvadoran beach town, a mysterious American surfer known only as Pelochucho shows up—spouting grandiose plans and persuading them to stay. Days become weeks; documents go missing; money gets tight. Suddenly, Ben and Malia can’t leave. Caught between bizarre real estate offers, suspect drug deals, and internal jealousies, this unlikely band of surfers, aid-workers, and opportunists all struggle to find their way through a fallen world.”

McQuillan, Karin (Senegal, 1971).

Deadly Safari. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1990. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “It’s open season on rich Americans. Leading the pack are two wealthy businessmen…with an aging wife apiece…. Two of them will soon be dead. Faced with this unnatural attrition, Jazz Jasper admits that her first run as an independent safari guide may also be her last. But every animal—even a desperate two-legged one—leaves a trail, and Jazz, hardly certain whether she is hunter or game, sets about trapping a remorseless human predator.”

Elephant’s Graveyard. New York: Ballantine Books, 1993. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “McQuillan’s Kenya is Isak Dinesen’s, seventy years later, a paradise lost but still breathtaking and rich in wildlife, with the potent magic to restore the spirits of Americans and Europeans in search of new beginnings. Recovering from a bad marriage and a worse divorce, American expatriate Jazz Jasper happily ekes out a living running safari tours and working for animal rights. When the lifeless body of wealthy American Ammet Laird, head of the Save the Elephants foundation, is found beside a watering hole, Emmet’s grieving lover, Mikki, presses her friend Jazz to investigate. But as Jazz stalks her game high in the forested hills and through the streets of Nairobi, she becomes certain that the murderer she seeks is someone she knows well….”

Meijer, Darcy Munson, ed. (Gabon, 1982–84).

Adventures in Gabon: Peace Corps Stories from the African Rainforest. 1st Peace Corps Writers ed. Oakland, California: Peace Corps Writers, 2011. Library of Congress Permalink: review by Lawrence: “If you served in Gabon as a Peace Corps volunteer, this will be like a yearbook and a reunion all in one. It is a book of anecdotes by more than thirty writers who served between 1962 and 2005. This is the only Peace Corps book I have ever read that included accounts from years covering the entire Peace Corps experience in one nation (the Gabon program closed in 2005). Unlike most Peace Corps anthologies, this one includes contributions by volunteers who served after 1980. Equally unusual, the name of Shriver is never mentioned and Kennedy is mentioned only once. Divided into seven sections (Joining the Peace Corps, Not in Ohio Anymore, Health and Safety, Impressive People, Magic and Belief, Lessons in Culture and Fiction), the book notes each author’s name, dates of service and job. However, the anecdotes are actually answers to questions posed over the years by the editor of a quarterly newsletter called The Gabon Letter. Since they are answers to questions (What was the dumbest thing you did? What language mistakes did you make? Were you ever sick? etc.), they are generally very short and often filled with Peace Corps jargon (PCV, COS, TEFL, PCVL, CIRMF, STDs).”

Meisler, Stanley (staff/Washington, 1964–67).

When the World Calls: The Inside Story of the Peace Corps and its First Fifty Years. Boston: Beacon Press, 2011. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “Not an institutional history, When the World Calls is the first complete and balanced look at the Peace Corps’s first fifty years. Revelatory and candid, Stanley Meisler’s engaging narrative exposes Washington infighting, presidential influence, and the Volunteers’ unique struggles abroad. Meisler deftly unpacks the complicated history with sharp analysis and memorable anecdotes, taking readers on a global trek starting with the historic first contingent of Volunteers to Ghana on August 30, 1961. The Peace Corps has served as an American emblem for world peace and friendship, yet few realize that it has sometimes tilted its agenda to meet the demands of the White House. Tracing its history through the past nine presidential administrations, Meisler discloses, for instance, how Lyndon Johnson became furious when Volunteers opposed his invasion of the Dominican Republic; he reveals how Richard Nixon literally tried to destroy the Peace Corps, and how Ronald Reagan endeavored to make it an instrument of foreign policy in Central America. But somehow the ethos of the Peace Corps endured, largely due to the perseverance of the 200,000 Volunteers themselves, whose shared commitment to effect positive global change has been a constant in one of our most complex-and valued-institutions.”

Meijer, Darcy Munson, ed. (Gabon, 1982–84).

Adventures in Gabon: Peace Corps Stories from the African Rainforest. 1st Peace Corps Writers ed. Oakland, California: Peace Corps Writers, 2011. Library of Congress Permalink:

Messinger, Delfi (Zaire, 1984–87).

Grains of Golden Sand: Adventures in War-Torn Africa. Honolulu, Hawaii: The Fine Print Press, 2007. Library of Congress Permalink:

Subject: The book appears to be based on the author’s Peace Corps experience in Zaire (present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo) and the city of Kinshasa. A main topic appears to be the Bonobo, once known as the pygmy chimpanzee.

Meyer, Michael (China, 1995–97).

The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed. New York: Walker & Co., 2008. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “A fascinating, intimate portrait of Beijing through the lens of its oldest neighborhood, Dazhalan. Meyer examines how the bonds that hold the neighborhood together are being torn by forced evictions as century-old houses and ways of life are increasingly destroyed to make way for shopping malls, the capital’s first Wal-Mart, high-rise buildings, and widened streets for cars replacing bicycles.”

Miles, William F. S. (Niger, 1977–79).

Hausaland Divided: Colonialism and Independence in Nigeria and Niger. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1994. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “How have different forms of colonialism shaped societies and their politics? What can borderland communities teach us about nation building and group identity? William F. S. Miles focuses on the Hausa-speaking people of West Africa, whose land is still split by an arbitrary boundary established by Great Britain and France at the turn of the century. In 1983, Miles returned as a Fulbright scholar to the region where he had served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the late 1970s. Already fluent in the Hausa language, he established residence in carefully selected twin villages on either side of the border separating the Republic of Niger from the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Over the next year, and then during subsequent visits, he traveled by horseback between the two places, conducting surveys, collecting oral testimony, and living the ethnographic life. Miles argues that the colonial imprint of the British and the French can still be discerned more than a generation after the conferring of formal independence on Nigeria and Niger.”


Miller, Christopher L. (Zaire [present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo], 1975–77).

Blank Darkness: Africanist Discourse in France. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “Blank Darkness: Africanist Discourse in French is a brilliant and altogether convincing analysis of the way in which Western writers, from Homer to the twentieth century have…imposed their language of desire on the least-known part of the world and have called it ‘Africa.’ There are excellent readings here of writers ranging from Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Sade, and Celine to Conrad and Yambo Ouologuem, but even more impressive and important than these individual readings is Mr. Miller’s wide-ranging, incisive, and exact analysis of ‘Africanist’ discourse, what it has been and what it has meant in the literature of the Western world.”—James Olney, Louisiana State University

Mills, Nick B. (Colombia, 1965–66).

The Failing American Intervention and the Struggle for Afghanistan. New York: John Wiley, 2007. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “The untold story of Hamid Karzai’s dramatic rise to the presidency of Afghanistan and the problems he and his country face. In 2004, Hamid Karzai was elected president in Afghanistan’s first-ever democratic election. Today, criticized for indecisiveness and targeted for assassination by extremists, President Karzai struggles to build on the country’s modest post-Taliban achievements before civil unrest undermines his government. Now, author Nick Mills draws on months of candid personal interviews with the charismatic Afghan president to offer a revealing portrait of the figure known to millions by his familiar uniform of karakul cap and long green chappan. Timely and compelling, Karzai tells the fascinating story of a unique leader with a keen intellect, a natural gift for storytelling, and a presidency in peril.”

Molloy, Aimee (Senegal, 1976–79).

However Long the Night: Molly Melching’s Journey to Help Millions of African Women and Girls Triumph. 1st ed. San Francisco: HarperOne, 2013. Library of Congress Permalink: description: “In However Long the Night, Aimee Molloy tells the unlikely and inspiring story of Molly Melching, an American woman whose experience as an exchange student in Senegal led her to found Tostan and dedicate almost four decades of her life to the girls and women of Africa. This moving biography details Melching's beginnings at the University of Dakar and follows her journey of 40 years in Africa, where she became a social entrepreneur and one of humanity's strongest voices for the rights of girls and women. Inspirational and beautifully written, However Long the Night: Molly Melching's Journey to Help Millions of African Women and Girls Triumph is a passionate entreaty for all global citizens. This book is published in partnership with the Skoll Foundation, dedicated to accelerating innovations from organizations like Tostan that address the world's most pressing problems.”

Monninger, Joseph (Upper Volta [present-day Burkina Faso], 1975–77).

The Viper Tree. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “Nothing in Monninger’s previous work…prepares one for this extraordinary novel, an intriguing psychological puzzle that explores the nature of belief in religion and in superstitious magic as well as the thin line between the two. AWOL Nazi soldier Fredereich Loebus flees Europe, unwittingly ending up in West Africa, where he is captured and treated viciously by a primitive tribe. Escaping into the desert, he is saved from death by a mission of French nuns…. Under threat of prison by the French authorities, Loebus escapes again, hiding in the bush, where he becomes “purely African,” acquiring a reputation as a healer with miraculous powers. Years later, Loebus, now known as Father Faujas, has become a nyanga, or witch man, with the ability to inflict deadly curses; even after his death, his reputation lives on in a macabre fashion. Monninger renders a stunning picture of West Africa, describing the terrain, the weather, and the customs and rituals of native tribes in a measured prose that also chillingly sets off the brutal events of the narrative.”

Morton, Fred (Nigeria, 1964–65)), Jeff Ramsey, and Part Themba Mgadia.

Historical Dictionary of Botswana. Historical Dictionaries of Africa; no. 44. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2008. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “This fourth edition of Historical Dictionary of Botswana, through its chronology, introductory essay, appendixes, map, bibliography, and hundreds of cross-referenced dictionary entries on important people, places, events, as well as institutions and significant political, economic, social, and cultural aspects, provides an important reference on this African country.”

Morrow, Baker H. (Somalia, 1968–69).

Horses Like the Wind and Other Stories of Africa. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2001. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “Set in Somalia just after its independence in the 1960s, Horses Like the Wind and Other Stories of Africa is a collection of nine short storied that paint a portrait of the many different lives that intertwine along the Horn of Africa. A ruthless horse dealer comes up against the best tracker in the Somali army; transplanted Italian farmers look to a future of stark disintegration as they struggle to hold on to their lands and their families; gutsy American women attempt to establish lives of their own in the remote East African desert; and a beggar and an idealist meet in a chance encounter on the steps of a Mogadishu bank, with mind-numbing consequences.”

Mueller, Marnie (Ecuador, 1963–65).

Green Fires: Assault on Eden: A Novel of the Ecuadorian Rain Forest. Willimantic, Connecticut: Curbstone Press, 1994. Library of Congress Permalink:

Awards: American Book Award, 1994; RPCV Writers & Readers’ Maria Thomas Fiction Award, 1995

Publisher’s description: “For her honeymoon, a former Peace Corps volunteer takes her husband to Ecuador to revisit old haunts. They get caught up in the violent politics of the rainforest where a multinational company is exterminating Indian tribes.”

Müller, Karin (Philippines, 1987–89).

Along the Inca Road: A Woman’s Journey into an Ancient Empire. Washington, DC: Adventure Press: National Geographic Society, 2000. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “In this vivid, freewheeling expedition, Karin Müller travels the ancient route to explore its dramatic history and discover new adventures along its length and breadth…. As she spins the wool of her stories into a modern tapestry of faces and memories, Muller intertwines a chronicle of the ancient Inca from their race’s mythical birth on an island in lofty Lake Titicaca to their sudden plunge from the height of imperial power at the hands of a ragtag band of Spanish soldiers of fortune. We learn how they lived, worshipped, and warred, and why such a magnificent culture proved so vulnerable to invaders.”

Hitchhiking Vietnam: A Woman’s Solo Journey in an Elusive Land. 1st ed. Old Saybrook, Connecticut: Globe Pequit Press, 1998. Library of Congress Permalink:

Publisher’s description: “The author, an American woman, tells the story of her seven-month adventure hitchhiking through Vietnam in search of villages and people untouched by the encroaching commercialism of the Western world.”

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