Thursday, Sep. 22, 2011

More than 1,000 Volunteers Have Written Books About the Experience

What better way to reflect on the 27-months spent in a foreign land than to write a book? More than 1,000 Peace Corps alumni, including the likes of Paul Theroux and Peter Hessler, have published books about their time abroad. One of the earliest is Moritz Thomsen's Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle (1969), which set the standard for former volunteer memoirs with the author's witty expatriate observations. Perhaps the best known is George Packer's The Village of Waiting (1988), in which he vividly describes his feelings of isolation and futility during his time of service in Togo. Many of these books provide an antidote to the oft-idealized vision of what being in the Peace Corps is really like, while also revealing a hard-earned, deeper perspective of the world.