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5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspiring Anecdotal Account of the Peace Corps, 12 April 2011
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 127,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." -- Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)

Old timers like me remember how thrilling it was when Presidential candidate John Fitzgerald Kennedy called for establishing the Peace Corps: "I therefore propose that our inadequate efforts in this area [fluency in foreign languages among foreign service personnel] be supplemented by a peace corps of talented young men and women, willing and able to serve their country in this fashion for three years as an alternative or as a supplement to peacetime selective service, well-qualified through rigorous standards, well-trained in the languages, skills, and customs they need to know." The idealism captured in that statement was amplified at his inaugural address where the famous call "Ask not what your country can do for you . . . ." resounded around the world. When the president then appointed his own brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, to head this task, it seemed like the world was sure to become a more peaceful place . . . friendlier to the United States and humanitarian causes.

I enjoyed learning in this book how that vision was transformed into quite a different reality, with pragmatic desires to help struggling against political pressures to make a splash in Washington. I was fascinated to see how the Peace Corps' esprit helped it to survive attacks and lack of support by those who wanted to scuttle it.

As the Peace Corps' public profile dropped, so did its size, budget, and potential influence. But it continues today . . . something that many people don't realize. I think you'll be glad that its determined volunteers and leaders have built an independent streak that has served the United States and the world well.

The book is a series of vignettes of the sort that you might see in a magazine that includes long articles, so don't expect a serious and detailed history. This book also feels a little like a series of celebratory stories of the sort that might be told at a 50th anniversary celebration.
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When the World Calls: The Inside Story of the Peace Corps and Its First Fifty Years
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