Find books in the Library of Congress Collections by 200 authors who served in the Peace Corps.
Download the bibliography (PDF, 579KB)
Packer, George (Togo, 1982–83).
The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq. New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2005. Library of Congress Permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/2005011521
Publisher’s description: “The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq recounts how the United States set about changing the history of the Middle East and became ensnared in a guerilla war in Iraq. It brings to life the people and ideas that created the Bush administration’s war policy and led America to the Assassins’ Gate—the main point of entry into the American zone in Baghdad. The consequences of that policy are shown in the author’s brilliant reporting on the ground in Iraq, where he made four tours on assignment for The New Yorker. We see up close the struggles of American soldiers and civilians and Iraqis from all backgrounds, thrown together by a war that followed none of the preconceived scripts. The Assassins’ Gate also describes the place of the war in American life: the ideological battles in Washington that led to chaos in Iraq, the ordeal of a fallen soldier’s family, and the political culture of a country too bitterly polarized to realize such a vast and morally complex undertaking. George Packer’s first-person narrative combines the scope of an epic history with the depth and intimacy of a novel, creating a masterful account of America’s most controversial foreign venture since Vietnam.”
Betrayed. New York: Samuel French, 2009. Library of Congress Permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/2007047949
Publisher’s description: “…[T]he mostly young men and women who embraced America’s project so enthusiastically that they were prepared to risk their lives for it by aiding the U.S. forces constitute a small minority. On a cold, wet night in January 2007, George Packer met two such Iraqi men in the lobby of the Palestine Hotel, in central Baghdad to hear their story and those of other Iraqis working as translators and additional key personnel for the U.S. military and occupation authorities. They assumed that their perspective would be valuable to foreigners who knew little or nothing of Iraq. But instead of respect and gratitude, those who chose to help bridge the gap between the occupiers and the occupied were met with suspicion and hostility. They have been killed by insurgents and militias, ignored by U.S. officials, fired from their jobs without reason or recourse, and prevented from fleeing to the States for safety. Based on Packer’s account in The New Yorker, Betrayed is a riveting and morally complex drama that explores in the Iraqis’ own words the ways in which we have already abandoned them.”
The Village of Waiting. 1st Farrar, Straus, Giroux ed. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001. Library of Congress Permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/2001091276
Publisher’s description: “Now restored to print with a new Foreword by Philip Gourevitch and an Afterword by the author, this book is a frank, moving, and vivid account of contemporary life in West Africa. Stationed as a Peace Corps instructor in the village of Lavié (the name means “wait a little more”) in tiny and underdeveloped Togo, Packer reveals his own schooling at the hands of an unforgettable array of townspeople—peasants, chiefs, charlatans, children, market women, cripples, crazies, and those who, having lost or given up much of their traditional identity and fastened their hopes on “development,” find themselves trapped between the familiar repetitions of rural life and the chafing monotony of waiting for change.”
Pastor, Robert A. (Malaysia, 1970–72).
Not Condemned to Repetition: The United States and Nicaragua. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1988. Library of Congress Permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/2002005022
Publisher’s description: “During the last three decades, Nicaragua posed three of the most difficult challenges faced by U.S. foreign policy-makers in the third world: how to cope with a declining, repressive, but previously “friendly” dictator? How to relate to an anti-American revolutionary government? How to facilitate a democratic transition? The Nicaraguan challenge was to establish a democratic and autonomous government, with as much support and as little interference as possible from the great powers. This book demonstrates how an unproductive interaction led to both sides’ worst nightmares. Through the fall of Anastasio Somoza, the rise of the Sandinistas, and the contra war, the United States and Nicaragua seemed destined to repeat the mistakes made by the U.S. and Cuba forty years before. The 1990 election in Nicaragua broke the pattern. Robert Pastor was a major US policymaker in the critical period leading up to and following the Sandinista Revolution of 1979. ...This revised and updated edition covers the events of the democratic transition, and it extracts the lessons to be learned from the past.”
Whirlpool: US Foreign Policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean. 2nd ed. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 2001. Library of Congress Permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/00049529
Handbook of Latin American Studies annotation: “This second edition of a notable study that first appeared in 1992 provides a detailed overview of the policies of U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, and of the important Congressional role in policy-making. Pastor says developments since 1992 validate his original theses: 1) that the US overemphasizes external threats and underestimates internal difficulties in small Caribbean countries; 2) that the pattern of alternation between intervention and neglect would not necessarily be broken with end of the Cold War; and 3) that the already-established Hemispheric trends toward democracy and free trade are more important than the collapse of the Soviet Union and communism. He advises policy orientations based on multilateralism, defense of democracy, and promotion of free trade.”
Peirce, Leslie P. (Turkey, 1964–66).
The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. Library of Congress Permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/93018967
Publisher’s description: “The unprecedented political power of the Ottoman imperial harem in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is widely viewed as illegitimate and corrupting…. By examining political action in the context of household networks, Peirce demonstrates that female power was a logical, indeed an intended, consequence of political structures…. The Imperial Harem argues that the exercise of political power was tied to definitions of sexuality. Within the dynasty, the hierarchy of female power, like the hierarchy of male power, reflected the broader society’s concern for social control of the sexually active.
Perkins, John (Ecuador, 1968–71).
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2004. Library of Congress Permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/2004046353
Publisher’s description: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man reveals a game that, according to John Perkins, is “as old as Empire” but has taken on new and terrifying dimensions in an era of globalization. And Perkins should know. For many years he worked for an international consulting firm where his main job was to convince LDCs [less developed countries] around the world to accept multibillion-dollar loans for infrastructure projects and to see to it that most of this money ended up at Halliburton, Bechtel, Brown and Root, and other United States engineering and construction companies. This book, which many people warned Perkins not to write, is a blistering attack on a little-known phenomenon that has had dire consequences on both the victimized countries and the U.S.”
Pfunder, Malcolm (Turkey, 1965–67).
Village in the Meadows. Tünel, Istanbul: Çitlembik, 2007. Library of Congress Permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/2009339447
Publisher’s description: Village in the Meadows in the Black Sea region of Turkey was Malcolm Pfunder’s Peace Corps site and home for nearly two years in the 1960s. These memoirs about his time there spring from a desire to share the memorable, often humorous stories of the things that he did, and that happened there. The Peace Corps experience entailed a great deal of time spent outdoors and lots of freedom to experiment, with the vague impetus of “Go forth and be relevant” as encouragement. Pfunder’s narrative of his “wonderful adventure” among the locals of that beautiful mountain village is a sympathetic story of the villagers’ way of life at the time and what he and his site partner Allen did to try to improve it, followed by Pfunder’s interesting account of all the changes he has seen occur in the intervening years on periodic visits back to the village.”
Phoel, Cynthia Morrison (Bulgaria, 1994–96).
Cold Snap: Bulgaria Stories. 1st ed. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 2010. Library of Congress Permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/2009052306
Award: Winner of the Maria Thomas Fiction Award
Publisher’s description: “As in Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, place is at the center of Cynthia Morrison Phoel’s debut collection of linked stories. Quirky, remote, and agonizingly intimate, the ragged village of Old Mountain is home to a cast of Bulgarian townsfolk who do daily battle with the heat or the bitter cold, with soul-crushing poverty, with petty disagreements among themselves—all the while attempting to adapt to changing times and keep up with their neighbors. Money is tight in this valley of run-down Communist blocks and crumbling plaster houses, but community is tighter. When a largely unemployed father in “A Good Boy” trades his much-needed summer earnings for a hulking satellite dish, everyone knows about it. The same way everyone knows about the shop lady who rests her finger on the scale to drive up the price of cheese in “Galia.” In “Satisfactory Proof,” a budding mathematician completes a prestigious master’s degree in number theory but fails to recognize the patterns of care and compassion everywhere around him. And in the concluding novella, “Cold Snap,” as the town endures freezing temperatures and waits for the central heat to be turned on, the characters we have already met make a satisfying encore appearance—as the brittle cold pushes them to the edge of reason.”
Pope, Carl D. (India, 1968–69).
Sahib: An American Misadventure in India. New York: Liveright Press, 1972. Library of Congress Permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/70184099
Subject: This is a personal narrative of Peace Corps service in India, apparently involving a birth-control project.