Something Lost Behind the Ranges: Memoirs of a Traveler in Peru
Phyllis Mazzocchi, 2012
Publisher: Travel Gavel
Format: Paperback, 134 pages
ISBN-10: 0985521805 / ISBN-13: 978-0985521806
Summary: Peru was in a "state of siege," Halley’s Comet was making its cyclical reappearance for the first time in 72 years, and the throngs of tourists that would soon elevate Machu Picchu to a major world tourist destination had not yet descended upon the Sacred Valley.
Before the luxury hotels, high-speed trains, and express helicopters, an independent traveler armed with a poem encounters the obstacles and rewards of a puzzled trail in the quest to reach Machu Picchu, the legendary "Lost City of the Incas." With travels through the highlands of Peru; including Cusco, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu and Puno; and a circuitous route through La Paz, Copacabana and Lake Titicaca, Bolivia. Past and present converge in a story that is true for all times.
A 2012 Finalist for ForeWord Reviews Magazine Book of the Year, Travel Essays
Shelf Unbound Notable Indie Book
Publisher: Peace Corps Writers (January 4, 2014)
File Size: 1301 KB / Print Length: 266 pages
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Summary: Will Lutwick, a quirky misfit, gets an MBA at 22, but soon realizes he and the American corporate world are a horrid mismatch. He joins the Peace Corps and is sent to the Fiji Islands, the quintessential tropical paradise. Will finds himself attracted to prohibited pulchritude when Rani Gupta, a beautiful, rebellious 20-year-old from a traditional Hindu family, begins working in his office. Dating is taboo in Fiji's large Indian community, and an interracial couple would be unprecedented. But Rani and Will soon discover their mutual attraction impossible to resist. Their liaison is clandestine, but word gets out, and a cultural firestorm engulfs Rani's community. The two lovers are under constant threat of attack, and violence ensues. Will must confront his personal demons about courage and commitment, while Rani is treated like a pariah by her people. Will the besieged lovers stay together, or will a hostile world tear them apart?
"In his beautifully written memoir...he relays these memories with neither bitterness nor self-serving pity--just a good dose of humor and intelligence...He shares thoughtful insight into Fiji's exotic history and society...Off-the-charts hysterical. An unabashed, candid memoir that continually entertains and educates."
"An eye-opening story about love, loss, and discrimination...Not only is this an exciting memoir, but it's a great modern day Romeo and Juliet tale. You can tell that this book was a passionate labor of love. Each page is as addicting as the last, with great emotional elements driving the story. This is a great book for those looking for a well-rounded love story with a few laughs and a lot of heart." Five Stars.
--SAN FRANCISCO BOOK REVIEW
Winner of the 2012 USA Best Book Award for Multicultural Non-fiction
Finalist, 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Awards and the International Book Awards
Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu
J. Maarten Troost, 2006
Publisher: Broadway Books (June 13, 2006)
Format: Paperback: 239 pages
Summary: Getting Stoned with Savages tells the hilarious story of Troost’s time on Vanuatu—a rugged cluster of islands where the natives gorge themselves on kava and are still known to “eat the man.” Falling into one amusing misadventure after another, Troost struggles against typhoons, earthquakes, and giant centipedes and soon finds himself swept up in the laid-back, clothing-optional lifestyle of the islanders. When Sylvia gets pregnant, they decamp for slightly-more-civilized Fiji, a fallen paradise where the local chiefs can be found watching rugby in the house next door. And as they contend with new parenthood in a country rife with prostitutes and government coups, their son begins to take quite naturally to island living—in complete contrast to his dad.
Julio Cortázar, tr Gregory Rabassa, 1987
Publisher: Pantheon; 1st Pantheon pbk. edition (1987)
Series: Pantheon Modern Writers Series
Format: Paperback, 576 pages
Summary: Horacio Oliveira is an Argentinian writer who lives in Paris with his mistress, La Maga, surrounded by a loose-knit circle of bohemian friends who call themselves "the Club." A child's death and La Maga's disappearance put an end to his life of empty pleasures and intellectual acrobatics, and prompt Oliveira to return to Buenos Aires, where he works by turns as a salesman, a keeper of a circus cat that can count, and an attendant in an insane asylum. Hopscotch is the dazzling, freewheeling account of Oliveira's astonishing adventures.
"The most magnificent novel I have ever read, and one to which I shall return again and again." —C.D.B. Bryan, The New York Times Book Review
"Cortazar's masterpiece . . . The first great novel of Spanish America." —The Times Literary Supplement
"The most powerful encyclopedia of emotions and visions to emerge from the postwar generation of international writers." —The New Republic
"A work of the most exhilarating talent and interest." —Elizabeth Hardwick
Gregory Crouch, 2002
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (2002)
Format: Paperback, 256 pages
Summary: Patagonia is a strange and terrifying place, a vast tract of land shared by Argentina and Chile where the violent weather spawned over the southern Pacific charges through the Andes with gale-force winds, roaring clouds, and stinging snow. Squarely athwart the latitudes known to sailors as the roaring forties and furious fifties, Magellan discovered the strait that bears his name during the first circumnavigation. Charles Darwin traveled Patagonia's windy steppes and explored the fjords of Tierra del Fuego during the voyage of the Beagle. Even today, the Patagonian Andes remain mysterious and remote, a place where horrible storms and ruthless landscapes discourage all but the most devoted pilgrims from paying tribute to the daunting and dangerous peaks.
Gregory Crouch is one such pilgrim. In seven expeditions to this windswept edge of the Southern Hemisphere, he has braved weather, gravity, fear, and doubt to try himself in the alpine crucible of Patagonia. Crouch has had several notable successes, including the first winter ascent of the legendary Cerro Torre's West Face, to go along with his many spectacular failures.
Crouch reveals the flip side of cutting-edge alpinism: the stunning variety of menial labor one must often perform to afford the next expedition. From building sewer systems during a bitter Colorado winter to washing the plastic balls in McDonalds' playgrounds, Crouch's dedication to the alpine craft has seen him through as many low moments as high summits. He recounts the riotous celebrations of successful climbs, the numbing boredom of forced encampments, and the quiet pride that comes from knowing that one has performed well and bravely, even in failure. Includes color photographs that capture the many moods of this land, from the sublime beauty of the mountains at sunrise to the unrelenting fury of its storms.
Publishers Weekly: Crouch, a West Point grad and army ranger, is the latest climber/journalist to try to capture the unseen heroics of those who reach the summits of the world's highest peaks. Instead of summiting familiar peaks, the author describes three separate expeditions to the remote Patagonian mountain range in South America, a series of peaks straddling the border between Chile and Argentina. There he completes a successful climb up the Compressor Route of Cerro Torre, one of the world's most sought-after summits; a first ascent of the north face of Aguja Poincenot; and a treacherous winter ascent of the west face of Cerro Torre, another first. These three climbs are bracketed by long vignettes about the unpredictable Patagonian weather and Crouch's disappointment with routine life back home in America, where he works construction and other odd jobs to pay for climbing trips. On the mountain, Crouch vividly describes the technical and psychological aspects of climbing, as well as the distinctions of the Patagonian peaks. Unfortunately, he is also prone to distracting bouts of macho philosophizing. Off the mountain, Crouch is so absorbed with thoughts of climbing that he contrasts everything in his life with his moments in the mountains. At one point, he goes so far as to describe his marriage as "the ultimate base camp." For Crouch, clearly, climbing is akin to a religion, and chasing a summit is his only way of seeking salvation. Adventure enthusiasts and those already converted to the sport will welcome this addition to climbing literature, but general readers may find the author's single-mindedness and lack of local color less enticing.
The Last King of Scotland
Giles Foden, 1999
Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (1999)
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Summary: Shortly after his arrival in Uganda, Scottish doctor Nicholas Garrigan is called to the scene of a bizarre accident: Idi Amin, careening down a dirt road in his red Maserati, has run over a cow. When Garrigan tends to Amin, the dictator, in his obsession for all things Scottish, appoints him as his personal physician. And so begins a fateful dalliance with the central African leader, whose Emperor Jones-style autocracy would become a reign of terror.
In The Last King of Scotland Foden's Amin is as ridiculous as he is abhorrent: a grown man who must be burped like an infant, a self-proclaimed cannibalist who, at the end of his 8 years in power, would be responsible for 300,000 deaths. And as Garrigan awakens to his patient's baroque barbarism—and his own complicity in it—we enter a venturesome meditation on conscience, charisma, and the slow corruption of the human heart. Brilliantly written, comic and profound, The Last King of Scotland announces a major new talent.
Publishers Weekly: A vivid journey to the turbulent heart of 1970s Uganda, British journalist Foden's bracing first novel chronicles the strange career of a fictional Scottish physician, Nicholas Garrigan, who serves as the personal doctor and occasional confidante of dictator Idi Amin. Having sequestered himself on a remote island in Scotland, Garrigan reflects, through a fog of self-deception and regret, on his stint as Amin's sidekick, from their first unlikely encounter after a back-road accident (Amin's red Masarati sideswipes a cow) to his installation in the capital as the ruler's house physician. Enjoying the perks of this position, Garrigan ponders an affair with the British ambassador's wife, tends to Amin's sometimes comical afflictions (in a memorable scene, he coaxes a burp from the dictator as if he were a giant infant) and even admits to a "sneaking affection" for him. Garrigan grows so detached from the gradually mounting atrocities of the regime that it takes a visit to the dictator's torture chambers and a harrowing trek across the war-torn countryside for him to glimpse the extent of his own complicity. Expertly weaving together Amin's life story (intertwined with Scottish history for reasons that remain rather vague, though the novel's title is a moniker Amin gave to himself), Foden writes with steely clarity and a sharp satirical edge, allowing serious questions to surface about the ethical boundaries of medicine and the crumbling Western influence in Africa. Garrison is the perfect foil for Amin, whose overwhelming physical presence, peacock-ish rhetoric and cold-blooded savagery are so well captured as to make this novel more than a mesmerizing read: it is also a forceful account of a surrealistic and especially ugly chapter of modern history. Agent, A.P. Watt.
This book has also been made into a film.
The Sun Will Soon Shine
Sally Sadie Singhateh, 2004
Publisher: Publisher: Athena Press
Format: Paperback, 108 pages
Summary: For an intelligent, ambitious girl growing up in a Gambian village, life holds few tempting prospects. Marriage and motherhood, often forced, are the paths assigned to most. Nyima, too, is subject to this fate, as well as having to endure the health-endangering ongoing practice of genital mutilation. But Nyima is a heroine of immense courage, able to see beyond her situation, despite the bleakness of life. She makes it through her darkest hours, and emerges stronger on the other side—though permanently scarred by her ordeals. It is in education and work that Nyima finds her salvation, and begins to rebuild her life, and indeed be reborn. The question is, though, can she ever truly love or trust again? This is a moving and emphatic tale of a young woman's struggle to come to terms with her past and culture, and above all, the possibility of having a future to look forward to, no matter what the odds.
Cola Cola Jazz
Kangni Alem, 2003
Summary:Kangni Alem (full name Kangni Alemdjrodo) b. in 1966 is Togolese dramatist. Born in Togo, 1966, Kangni Alem Alemdjrodo holds a PhD in French, Comparative and French African Literature of University of Bordeaux III, France. Novelist, playwright and short story writer, he has published more than ten books. He is professor of theater and literature at University of Lomé, Togo. His works explores the political and historic memory of African peoples through themes like slavery, dictatorship and racial and cultural métissage. He lives between Lomé and Bordeaux in France. Some publications: "Chemins de croix", "Atterissage," "Cola cola jazz," Canailles et charlatans", Un rêve d’Albatros"…
Winner of the Grand prix littéraire d'Afrique noire in 2003
An African in Greenland
Tete-Michel Kpomassie, 2001
Publisher: NYRB Classics
Series: New York Review Books Classics
Format: Paperback, 432 pages
Summary: Tété-Michel Kpomassie was a teenager in Togo when he discovered a book about Greenland—and knew that he must go there. Working his way north over nearly a decade, Kpomassie finally arrived in the country of his dreams. This brilliantly observed and superbly entertaining record of his adventures among the Inuit is a testament both to the wonderful strangeness of the human species and to the surprising sympathies that bind us all.
By woburnmusicfan on September 17, 2003 When author Kpomassie was a teenager in his native Togo in the '50s, he nearly died in a fall, and was pledged by his father to become a priest of the python cult that cured him. While looking for a way around this future, he happened upon a book about Greenland and became obsessed with the idea of moving there and becoming a hunter. Over the course of several years, Kpomassie worked his way across West Africa and Europe before arriving in Greenland in the early '60s. He was possibly the first African to visit Greenland, and was the first black person most of the Greenlanders had ever seen. He became a minor celebrity ("I've heard about you on the radio since you arrived in the south"), as the locals, particularly children and young women, swarmed around the exotic stranger. As he made his way up the coast of west Greenland, he stopped in several towns, where he was invariably taken into someone's home as a guest and treated to fine delicacies like seal blubber and mattak (beluga whale skin). Kpomassie is an excellent observer, and this book is as good an introduction to Greenlandic culture as Gretel Ehrlich's "This Cold Heaven". Kpomassie is a much more straightforward writer than Ehrlich, and this book therefore makes an easier read. The reader gets to learn about two exotic cultures: Kpomassie's tales of his upbringing in the Mina tribe of Togo is as interesting as his travels in Greenland.
Nowhere Slow: Eleven Years in Micronesia
Jonathan Gourlay (Author), The Bygone Bureau (Author), Darryl Campbell (Editor), Kevin Nguyen (Editor), 2013
Publisher: The Bygone Bureau
Format: Kindle | File Size: 233 KB
Print Length: 79 pages
Summary: In 1997, Jonathan Gourlay travels to the island of Pohnpei, in the western Pacific Ocean, to teach English at the College of Micronesia. He is a stranger in a strange land, unfamiliar with the language, the intricacies of Pohnpeian social life, and most of all, the mildly psychotropic drink sakau. But the society that he blunders into eventually becomes his adopted home for the next eleven years. Along the way, Gourlay endures plenty of minor embarrassments and one major heartbreak: his whirlwind marriage to a Pohnpeian woman comes apart and ends in tragedy, leaving him to pick up the pieces of his life and to raise his daughter alone.
The Bygone Bureau (www.bygonebureau.com) is an online arts and culture magazine, winner of Best New Blog at the SXSW Interactive Web Awards in 2009.
"Funny, haunting travel memoir" -- The Millions.
In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams
Tahir Shah, 2009
Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition
Format: Paperback, 402 pages
Summary: In this entertaining jewel of a book, Tahir Shah sets off across Morocco on a bold new adventure worthy of the mythical Arabian Nights. As he wends his way through the labyrinthine medinas of Fez and Marrakech, traverses the Sahara sands, and samples the hospitality of ordinary Moroccans, Tahir collects a dazzling treasury of traditional wisdom stories, gleaned from the heritage of A Thousand and One Nights, which open the doors to layers of culture most visitors hardly realize exist. From master masons who labor only at night to Sufi wise men who write for soap operas, In Arabian Nights takes us on an unforgettable, offbeat, and utterly enchanted journey.
Named one of Time magazine’s Ten Best Books of the Year, Tahir Shah’s earlier The Caliph’s House was hailed by critics and compared to such travel classics as A Year in Provence and Under the Tuscan Sun. Now Shah takes us deeper into the real Casablanca to uncover mysteries hidden for centuries from Western eyes.
The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born (African Writers Series)
Ayai Kwei Arman, 1968
Publisher: Heinemann (October 23, 1989)
Format: Paperback, 191 pages
Summary: The unnamed protagonist, referred to as "the man", works at a railway station and is approached with a bribe; when he refuses, his wife is furious and he can't help feeling guilty despite his innocence. The novel expresses the frustration many citizens of the newly independent states in Africa felt after attaining political independence. Many African states like Ghana followed similar paths in which corruption and the greed of African elites became rampant. Corruption in turn filtered down to the rest of society. The action takes place between 1965's Passion Week and 25 February 1966 – the day after the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president. The "rot" that characterized post-independent Ghana in the last years of Nkrumah is a dominant theme in the book.
Ghana Must Go
Taiye Selasi, 2014
Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition
Format: Paperback, 336 pages
Summary: Kweku Sai is dead. A renowned surgeon and failed husband, he succumbs suddenly at dawn outside his home in suburban Accra. The news of Kweku’s death sends a ripple around the world, bringing together the family he abandoned years before. Ghana Must Go is their story. Electric, exhilarating, beautifully crafted, Ghana Must Go is a testament to the transformative power of unconditional love, from a debut novelist of extraordinary talent.
Moving with great elegance through time and place, Ghana Must Go charts the Sais’ circuitous journey to one another. In the wake of Kweku’s death, his children gather in Ghana at their enigmatic mother’s new home. The eldest son and his wife; the mysterious, beautiful twins; the baby sister, now a young woman: each carries secrets of his own. What is revealed in their coming together is the story of how they came apart: the hearts broken, the lies told, the crimes committed in the name of love. Splintered, alone, each navigates his pain, believing that what has been lost can never be recovered—until, in Ghana, a new way forward, a new family, begins to emerge.
Ghana Must Go is at once a portrait of a modern family, and an exploration of the importance of where we come from to who we are. In a sweeping narrative that takes us from Accra to Lagos to London to New York, Ghana Must Go teaches that the truths we speak can heal the wounds we hide.
Booklist: A father’s death leads to a new beginning for his fractured family in this powerful first novel. Kweku Sai is felled by a sudden heart attack at his home in Ghana. At the moment of his death, Kweku is filled with regret for his abandonment of his first wife, Fola, and their four children in Baltimore, many years ago, after losing his job as a surgeon. His four children are now scattered across the East Coast: Olu, a gifted surgeon who followed in his father’s footsteps; twins Taiwo and Kehinde, who share a terrible secret from childhood; and youngest daughter Sadie, who is struggling with her body image and sexuality. In the wake of their father’s death, the four siblings, along with Olu’s wife, Ling, reunite to journey to their mother’s home in Ghana, where secrets, resentments, and grief bubble to the surface. A finely crafted yarn that seamlessly weaves the past and present, Selasi’s moving debut expertly limns the way the bonds of family endure even when they are tested and strained. --Kristine Huntley
"Selasi’s ambition—to show her readers not "Africa" but one African family, authors of their own achievements and failures—is one that can be applauded no matter what accent you give the word." —Nell Freudenberger, The New York Times Book Review
“Irresistible from the first line—'Kweku dies barefoot on a Sunday before sunrise, his slippers by the doorway to the bedroom like dogs'—this bright, rhapsodic debut stood out in the thriving field of fiction about the African diaspora.” —The Wall Street Journal
"Ghana Must Go comes with a bag load of prepublication praise. For once, the brouhaha is well deserved. Ms. Selasi has an eye for the perfect detail: a baby's toenails 'like dewdrops', a woman sleeps 'like a cocoyam. A thing without senses... unplugged from the world.' As a writer she has a keen sense of the baggage of childhood pain and an unforgettable voice on the page. Miss out on Ghana Must Go and you will miss one of the best new novels of the season." —The Economist
"[Selasi] writes elegantly about the ways people grow apart — husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, parents and kids." —Entertainment Weekly
"In Ghana Must Go, Selasi drives the six characters skillfully through past and present, unearthing old betrayals and unexplained grievances at a delicious pace. By the time the surviving five convene at a funeral in Ghana, we are invested in their reconciliation—which is both realistically shaky and dramatically satisfying… Narrative gold." —Elle magazine
"Selasi’s prose… is a rewarding mix of soulful conjuring and intelligent introspection, and points to a bright future." —The Daily Beast
Hearing Birds Fly: A Nomadic Year in Mongolia
Louisa Waugh, 2003
Format: Paperback, 288 pages
Summary: Hearing Birds Fly is Louisa Waugh's account of her time in a remote Mongolian village. Frustrated by the increasingly bland character of the capital city of Ulan Bator, she yearned for the real Mongolia. She got the chance to experience it when she was summoned by the village head to go to Tsengel, near the Kazakh border.
In the village, she must come to terms with the harshness of climate, the treatment of animals, death, solitude and loneliness, plus the constant struggle to censor her reactions as an outsider. Above all, Louisa Waugh involves us with the locals' lives in such a way that we come to know them and care for their fates.
With a skill and art quite extraordinary for a first book ... the reader is drawn into the world she describes through the warmth of her friendships and the sympathy and generosity with which she treats all aspects of her subject. I put the book down finally with a sense of absolute satisfaction, having spent the last few hours beneath the spell of a writer of real integrity and power ―Chris Stewart
An elegy to a remarkable part of the world.―SUNDAY TIMES
Waugh has captured the starkly beautiful landscapes in restrained descriptive passages, but the most fascinating aspect of her narrative is her portrayal of the villagers and the nomads she meets higher up the mountains... Hearing Birds Fly is extraordinary.―OBSERVER
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
Jack Weatherford, 2004
Publisher: Broadway Books; New edition
Format: Paperback, 312 pages
Summary: The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in 25 years than the Romans did in four hundred. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization. Vastly more progressive than his European or Asian counterparts, Genghis Khan abolished torture, granted universal religious freedom, and smashed feudal systems of aristocratic privilege. From the story of his rise through the tribal culture to the explosion of civilization that the Mongol Empire unleashed, this brilliant work of revisionist history is nothing less than the epic story of how the modern world was made.
Publishers Weekly: Apart from its inapt title, Genghis Khan dies rather early on in this account and many of the battles are led by his numerous offspring. This book is a successful account of the century of turmoil brought to the world by a then little-known nation of itinerant hunters. In researching this book, Weatherford (Savages and Civilization), a professor of anthropology at Macalester College, traveled thousands of miles, many on horseback, tracing Genghis Khan's steps into places unseen by Westerners since the khan's death and employing what he calls an "archeology of movement." … In just 25 years, in a manner that inspired the blitzkrieg, the Mongols conquered more lands and people than the Romans had in over 400 years. Without pausing for too many digressions, Weatherford's brisk description of the Mongol military campaign and its revolutionary aspects analyzes the rout of imperial China, a siege of Baghdad and the razing of numerous European castles. On a smaller scale, Weatherford also devotes much attention to dismantling our notions of Genghis Khan as a brute. By his telling, the great general was a secular but faithful Christian, a progressive free trader, a regretful failed parent, and a loving if polygamous husband. With appreciative descriptions of the sometimes tender tyrant, this chronicle supplies just enough personal and world history to satisfy any reader.
School Library Journal: Adult/High School–An interesting, thought-provoking account of the conqueror's life and legacy. From his early years as the son of a widow abandoned by her clan, he showed remarkable ability as a charismatic leader and unifier. In 25 years, his army amassed a greater empire than the Romans had been able to achieve in 400. Whether judged on population or land area, it was twice as large as that of any other individual in history. This colorful retelling discusses many of the innovations that marked Khan's rule and contributed to his success. Although his name is now erroneously associated with terror and slaughter, he showed surprising restraint during a time when few others in power did. He allowed freedom of religion, encouraged free trade, developed a paper currency, and observed diplomatic immunity. As he encountered new cultures, he adopted or adapted their best practices, and constantly updated his military strategies. Although Khan's death occurs at the midpoint of this book, the tales of his survivors' exploits and the gradual fall of the Mongol dynasties are engaging and informative. Weatherford's efforts to credit Genghis Khan and his descendants with the ideas and innovations that created the Renaissance are a bit bewildering, but readers will be left with a new appreciation of a maligned culture, and a desire to learn more.–Kathy Tewell, Chantilly Regional Library, VA
Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition
Format: Paperback, 336 pages
Summary: After Genghis Khan’s death in 1227, conflicts erupted between his daughters and his daughters-in-law; what began as a war between powerful women soon became a war against women in power as brother turned against sister, son against mother. At the end of this epic struggle, the dynasty of the Mongol queens had seemingly been extinguished forever, as even their names were erased from the historical record.
One of the most unusual and important warrior queens of history arose to avenge the wrongs, rescue the tattered shreds of the Mongol Empire, and restore order to a shattered world. Putting on her quiver and picking up her bow, Queen Mandhuhai led her soldiers through victory after victory. In her thirties she married a seventeen-year-old prince, and she bore eight children in the midst of a career spent fighting the Ming Dynasty of China on one side and a series of Muslim warlords on the other. Her unprecedented success on the battlefield provoked the Chinese into the most frantic and expensive phase of wall building in history. Charging into battle even while pregnant, she fought to reassemble the Mongol Nation of Genghis Khan and to preserve it for her own children to rule in peace.
Despite their mystery and the efforts to erase them from our collective memory, the deeds of these Mongol queens inspired great artists from Chaucer and Milton to Goethe and Puccini, and so their stories live on today. With The Secret History of the Mongol Queens, Jack Weatherford restores the queens’ missing chapter to the annals of history.
Booklist: Though the prolific Genghis Khan fathered numerous sons and daughters, historians have dutifully recorded the foibles and follies of his male heirs while virtually ignoring the accomplishments of his female offspring. Weatherford seeks to remedy this glaring omission by providing a fascinating romp through the feminine side of the infamous Khan clan. Surprisingly, old Genghis himself seems to have been impressed enough by the leadership abilities of his womenfolk to want to reward some of them with pieces of his vast empire. At least four of his daughters became queens of their own countries, exercising power over their courts, their armies, and, of course, their families. Important linchpins in the Mongol Empire, these women supplied the balance of power necessary to appease fractious tribes and territories. Unfortunately, soon after Genghis Khan’s death, the female rulers were challenged by their male relatives, and the fragile bonds that held the Mongol Empire together quickly disintegrated. Ironically, it wasn’t until the emergence of a new queen, two centuries later that the once-mighty Mongol nation was reunited. Let’s hear it for the girls. --Margaret Flanagan
Passage to Ararat
Michael J. Arlen, 1975
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 2nd edition (2006)
Series: FSG Classics
Format: Paperback, 312 pages
Summary: In Passage to Ararat, which received the National Book Award in 1976, Michael J. Arlen goes beyond the portrait of his father, the famous Anglo-Armenian novelist of the 1920s, that he created in Exiles to try to discover what his father had tried to forget: Armenia and what it meant to be an Armenian, a descendant of a proud people whom conquerors had for centuries tried to exterminate. But perhaps most affectingly, Arlen tells a story as large as a whole people yet as personal as the uneasy bond between a father and a son, offering a masterful account of the affirmation and pain of kinship.
Goodreads: Interesting journey that the author takes to his homeland of Armenia. The interpersonal conflict between the author and other key figures in the story was helpful, as was the internal dialogue regarding Armenian self-identity and making meaning of the first holocaust perpetrated by the Turks over a period of roughly 20 years. A good reminder to treat minorities well wherever you may live.
“More than an excursion into a place...the whole work glows like a jewel with the warmth of humanity and the appreciation, hard won, of both strength and weakness.” ―Eugenia Thornton, Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Beautifully written and stunning in its insight and honesty... One comes to see that the object of Arlen's search is not only, or even primarily, Armenia or Armenians, but himself and his father.” ―David Milofsky, Milwaukee Journal
“[A] moving, passionate book....written with a mixture of passion, puzzlement, sorrow, and outrage.” ―Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
“Beautifully moving.... The reader becomes captivated with exotic tales from the past and joins Arlen's journey with zest in this quite marvelous record.” ―William Hogan, San Francisco Chronicle
National Book Award, 1976
An Armenian Sketchbook
Vasily Grossman, tr. R. & E. Chandler 2013
Publisher: NYRB Classics (February 19, 2013)
Series: New York Review Books Classics
Format: Paperback, 160 pages
Summary: Few writers had to confront as many of the last century’s mass tragedies as Vasily Grossman, who wrote with terrifying clarity about the Shoah, the Battle of Stalingrad, and the Terror Famine in the Ukraine. An Armenian Sketchbook, however, shows us a very different Grossman, notable for his tenderness, warmth, and sense of fun.
After the Soviet government confiscated—or, as Grossman always put it, “arrested”—Life and Fate, he took on the task of revising a literal Russian translation of a long Armenian novel. The novel was of little interest to him, but he needed money and was evidently glad of an excuse to travel to Armenia. An Armenian Sketchbook is his account of the two months he spent there.
By far the most personal and intimate of Grossman’s works, it is endowed with an air of absolute spontaneity, as though he is simply chatting to the reader about his impressions of Armenia—its mountains, its ancient churches, its people—while also examining his own thoughts and moods. A wonderfully human account of travel to a faraway place, An Armenian Sketchbook also has the vivid appeal of a self-portrait.
“Vasily Grossman is the Tolstoy of the USSR.” —Martin Amis
“Charming. Grossman digresses as nimbly about the master craftsmen of Russian stoves found in the homes of the high-mountain villagers as he does about the touching customs of a rustic wedding he attended. Living among the Armenians, he witnessed a kind of timeless biblical nobility he conveys with artless simplicity in his own work.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Like history, human nature is open-ended; people are capable of doing evil as much as good…[Vasily Grossman] the writer sought to probe the historical fabric and future potential of his society. Perhaps it's because of this stance that his work is finding its way back into print…” —The Nation
“Vasily Grossman’s writing sneaks up on you, its simplicity building to powerful impressions as he records the small things that occur in people's lives as they experience - or endure - larger events.” —The Jewish Chronicle
This Earth of Mankind, Buru Quartet Book 1
Pramoedya Ananta Toer, tr Max Lane, 1980
Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (May 1, 1996)
Series: Buru Quartet (Book 1)
Format: Paperback, 368 pages
The Buru Quartet is a literary tetralogy written by Indonesian Pramoedya Ananta Toer and composed of the novels This Earth of Mankind, Child of All Nations, Footsteps, and House of Glass, and published between 1980 and 1988.
Pramoedya a writer of staggering depth and power and is also one of his country's most suppressed dissidents. All his work is banned in his native Indonesia; students have been sentenced to eight years in prison on charges stemming from an arrest for selling his books.
This Earth of Mankind, the first book in the quartet was composed orally on Buru Island during the first half of the author's fourteen-year imprisonment without trial. Writing or reading anything but religious texts was strictly forbidden. Pramoedya would tell each installment to the people with whom he shared his imprisonment.
Summary: This Earth of Mankind is set at the end of the Dutch colonial rule and was written while Pramoedya was imprisoned on the political island prison of Buru in eastern Indonesia. The story was first narrated verbally to Pramoedya's fellow prisoners in 1973 because he did not get permission to write. The story spread through all the inmates until 1975 when Pramoedya was finally granted permission to write the detailed story.
An Arid Eden: A Personal Account of Conservation in the Kaokoveld
Garth Owen-Smith, 2011
Publisher: Jonathan Ball Publishing
Format: Paperback: 620 pages
ISBN-10: 1868423638 / ISBN-13: 978-1868423637
Synopsis/Review: Personal account of conservation in the Kaokoveld area of Namibia in Africa. Once a verdant, lush area which abounded in wildlife, this beautiful Eden became a sparse, arid area on the brink of becoming a desert because of poor use of the land by people of the early 20th century ... In a unique experiment by determined people who cared enough to nurture this land back to its natural, thriving green potential and save the wildlife habitation before it was too late, the Kaokoveld gradually became one of the conservation successes of the century. The author visited in 1967 and was inspired to help make it what it used to be. Now animals are carefully guarded against poaching as their herds rebuild from near extinction, especially the black rhinos. It is a success story and a memoir of four decades of loving work by amazing people. A terrific read for anyone interested in saving our planet.
No Going Back to Moldova
Anna Robertson, 1989
Publisher: Mainstream Publishing
Format: Hardcover: 224 pages
ISBN-10: 1851580859 / ISBN-13: 978-1851580859
Review: Anna Robertson is a humorous writer, to whom many hilarious things seem to have happened, and the book was enjoyable from that point. It’s also a slice of European history, of the author’s life through the early 1900s. A fascinating read about shifting borders, and how one town could be in one country, then another, and then another! …a stringing together of a thousand anecdotes rather than a straight autobiography.
Married to a Bedouin
Marguerite van Geldermalsen, 2008
Publisher: Virago UK
Format: Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1844082202 / ISBN-13: 978-1844082209
Synopsis: New Zealand born nurse Marguerite van Geldermalsen first visited the lost city Petra with a friend in 1978 on a sightseeing tour of the ancient world. Already looking forward to her beach holiday at the end of the trip, little did Maguerite know she was about to meet the man she would marry, the charismatic Mohammad Abdallah Othman, a Bedouin craftsman of the Manajah tribe. A life with Mohammad meant moving into his ancient cave and learning to love the regular tasks of baking shrak bread on an open fire and collecting water from the spring. As Marguerite feels herself becoming part of the Bedouin community, she is thankful for the twist in fate that has led her to this contented life. Marguerite’s light-hearted observations of the people she comes to love are as heart-warming as they are valuable, charting Bedouin traditions now lost to the modern world.
Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition
Format: Paperback: 333 pages
ISBN-10: 0452297982 / ISBN-13: 978-0452297982
Synopsis: What happens when an unadventurous adventure writer tries to re-create the original expedition to Machu Picchu?
In 1911, Hiram Bingham III climbed into the Andes Mountains of Peru and “discovered” Machu Picchu. While history has recast Bingham as a villain who stole both priceless artifacts and credit for finding the great archeological site, Mark Adams set out to retrace the explorer’s perilous path in search of the truth—except he’d written about adventure far more than he’d actually lived it. In fact, he’d never even slept in a tent.
Turn Right at Machu Picchu is Adams’ fascinating and funny account of his journey through some of the world’s most majestic, historic, and remote landscapes guided only by a hard-as-nails Australian survivalist and one nagging question: Just what was Machu Picchu?
Kamakwie: Finding Peace, Love, and Injustice in Sierra Leone
Kathleen Martin, 2012
Publisher: Red Deer Press
Format: Paperback: 175 pages
ISBN-10: 0889954720 / ISBN-13: 978-0889954724
Synopsis: Kathleen Martin spent several weeks in the tiny village of Kamakwie in the interior of Sierra Leone, where she worked with a Canadian medical team. Staying in the grounds of the community hospital, Kathleen had the opportunity to meet with the people of the village. The experience was a revelation. Her mission was to talk to people about their lives, aspirations and their memories of the civil war. She also had a camera though which she developed a visual chronicle. Above all, she was struck by the children—their resilience, their hopes, their enjoyment of the moments when they could gather and sing and play soccer.
Initially, the writer is an observer, but it is not long before the observer is passionately involved.
In this vivid and moving account of her time in Kamakwie, Kathleen Martin provides a window into a world far from the comfortable lives of most Americans - a world that through this book will become a colorful, sometimes horrifying, sometimes beautiful reality.
Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle
Moritz Thomsen, 1990
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Format: Paperback, 280 pages
ISBN-10: 0295969288 / ISBN-13: 978-0295969282
Synopsis: At the age of 48, Moritz Thomsen sold his pig farm and joined the Peace Corps. As he tells the story, his awareness of the comic elements in the human situation—including his own—and his ability to convey it in fast-moving, earthy prose have made Living Poor a classic.
Publisher: Travelers' Tales
Series: Travelers' Tales Guides
Format: Paperback: 488 pages
ISBN-10: 1885211759 / ISBN-13: 978-1885211750
About this book: Winner of the Lowell Thomas Award for Best Travel Book, this newly designed collection paints a unique portrait of a complex and captivating land. One contributor lives as a monk for a month, gaining an inside look at monastic life. Another discovers Bangkok’s riverine pleasures, a world away from its car-choked streets. Yet another finds refuge as the houseguest of an isolated tribesman. Through these engaging personal stories, readers witness how Thailand satisfies just about any traveler’s hunger for the exotic, the beautiful, the thrillingly different. Writers include Pico Iyer, Norman Lewis, Diane Summers, Simon Winchester, Ian Buruma, Thalia Zepatos, and Tim Ward.
Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books
Format: Paperback, 128 pages
ISBN-10: 0792272978 / ISBN-13: 978-0792272977
Synopsis: Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton gives American readers a firsthand look at growing up in Kenya as a member of a tribe of nomads, whose livelihood centers on the raising and grazing of cattle. Readers share Lekuton's first encounter with a lion, the epitome of bravery in the warrior tradition. They follow his mischievous antics as a young Maasai cattle herder, coming-of-age initiation, boarding school escapades, soccer success, and journey to America for college. Lekuton's riveting text combines exotic details of nomadic life with the universal experience and emotions of a growing boy.
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Format: Paperback 195 pages
ISBN-10: 0897335562 / ISBN-13: 978-0897335560
Synopsis: This powerful book gives readers a chance to experience Ethiopia through the personal experience of a writer who is both Ethiopian and American. It takes readers beyond headlines and stereotypes to a deeper understanding of the country. This is an absorbing account of the author’s return trip to Ethiopia as an adult, having left the country in exile with her family at age 11. She profiles relatives and friends who have remained in Ethiopia, and she writes movingly about Ethiopia’s recent past and its ancient history. She offers a clear-eyed analysis of the state of the country today, and her keen observations and personal experience will resonate with readers. This is a unique glimpse into a fascinating African country by a talented writer.
Publisher: Pelham Springs Press; First edition
Format: Paperback, 255 pages
ISBN-10: 0981529704 / ISBN-13: 978-0981529707
Synopsis: Author Lawrence Brane Siddall takes the reader to Poland where he taught English in a high school as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1997 to 1999, in a late-life adventure following retirement. At 67, he was one of only 450 senior Peace Corps volunteers out of 6,500 worldwide. He vividly describes the challenges he faces in the classroom, his struggle to learn Polish, his initial feelings of isolation in adjusting to a new culture, and the close friends he eventually makes. Siddall also weaves brief flashbacks into his narrative, among others a glimpse of his own high school years and a vignette about the death of his mother in China in 1932.
How It Goes in Mexico: Essays from an Expatriate
Carol Merchasin, 2014
Format: E-book, File Size: 1942 KB
Print Length: 54 pages
Synopsis: Carol Merchasin first visited San Miguel de Allende in 1996, fell in love with its language, people, and culture, and moved there full-time with her husband in 2005. A lawyer by training, Merchasin is curious about how everything around her in Mexico works—the health care system, religious rituals, loaning money, small change at the market, narcotrafficantes, telenovelas, and the subtleties between the verbs ser and estar. An intrepid researcher, she informally consults her neighbors, history books, and experts until she’s satisfied. The essays in How It Goes in Mexico are by turns funny and poignant, and the portrayal of Mexico is neither romantic nor wary but respectful and compassionate.
Publisher: Artha Press
Format: Paperback, 234 pages
ISBN-10: 1886922128 / ISBN-13: 978-1886922129
Synopsis: Tea & Bee's Milk makes understanding another culture as simple as pouring a cup of tea. It does so with gentle humor, curiosity, and a cheerful affection for the Turkish people. If you've ever dreamed of ditching the rat race and taking a year off, this happy memoir will encourage you to pack your bags and go.
Six Years in Mozambique: Things I Haven't Told Mom
Amy Gillespie with Cheri Colburn, 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Format: Paperback 346 pp
ISBN-10: 1499784058 / ISBN-13: 978-1499784053
Synopsis: With $150 and the belief that all children should be given the skills to keep themselves and their loved ones alive, Amy Gillespie set out for Mozambique to meet the Goliath who had whispered to her in the night, “Come find me.”
She could not have imagined all she would witness and experience on her journey… beauty, inspiration, humor; as well as corruption, unimaginable suffering, and shadowy threats from unlikely sources.
Six Years in Mozambique explores one woman’s experience of the gritty reality of aid work, sexuality, and spirituality in Sub-Saharan Africa. It takes a raw look at what it’s like to be a single woman, on the edge of forty years of age, setting off to chase down Goliath, fully certain of success; and how that incredible journey led her to universal truths and surrender.
With its sweeping honesty, "Six Years in Mozambique" is the portrayal of an every day life turned extraordinary when a purposeful heart overcomes. This is the story of change -- the change that happens to you and because of you. Feeling a pulse on every page, it is the heartbeat of determination that tells the story of where real life meets the world according to Africa.
Cutting for Stone
By Abraham Verghese, 2010
Moving from Addis Ababa to New York City and back again, Cutting for Stone is an unforgettable story of love and betrayal, medicine and ordinary miracles - and two brothers whose fates are forever intertwined.
Your Madness Not Mine: Stories of Cameroon
By Juliana Makuchi, 1999
Powerful portraits of postcolonial Cameroonian women, who probe their day-to-day experiences of survival and empowerment as they deal with gender oppression: from patriarchal expectations to the malaise of mal-development, unemployment, and the attraction of the West for young Cameroonians.
For 91 Days in Sri Lanka
By Michael Powell, Juergen Horn (photographer), 2012
A collection of photos, advice and anecdotes filled with information about the history, adventures, culture and temples of Sri Lanka. Replete with practical advice and over 250 beautiful full-color photos and humorous stories, this e-book covers all of Sri Lanka's best cities and sights, and some unexpected treasures.
Read more at www.goodreads.com
From Microsoft to Malawi: Learning on the Front Lines as a Peace Corps Volunteer
By Michael L. Buckler, 2010
Chronicles the arrival and subsequent adjustment to life in rural Africa for a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. Buckler's account of the endless obstacles encountered by his students and colleagues and their hope and persistence to succeed makes for a compelling chronicle of self-discovery and renewal through sacrifice.
Read more at books.google.com
Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses, and Saints
By Angie Brenner and Joy E. Stocke, 2012
When Joy Stocke and Angie Brenner meet on the balcony of a guesthouse in a small resort town on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, they discover a shared love of travel, history, culture, cuisine, and literature; and they begin a ten-year odyssey through Turkey. A vivid memoir.
Read more at www.anatoliandaysandnights.com
Read more at www.goodreads.com
The South African Story
By Ron McGregor, Lisa McGregor (illustrator), 2013
Written by a South African tour-guide and writer, a collection of the tales that the author tells as he crosses the country with his travelers. Much of it is about historical facts, folklore, legend, food and drink.
Read more at www.goodreads.com
Monkeys in my Garden: Unbelievable but True Stories of My Life in Mozambique
By Valerie Pixley, 2013
A true-life adventure story of Valerie and her husband O'D's life in the Nhamacoa Forest. From an idyllic life in the Algarve that was destroyed by an enormous fire, to a ruin of a house in Mozambique with grass for a roof and no doors or glass in the windows, this is a wild mix of hilarious and hair-raising experiences that involve witchcraft, corruption and even a life-saving miracle.
Read more at www.thebookbag.co.uk
Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu
By J. Maarten Troost, 2006
The is a hilarious story of Troost's time on Vanuatu, falling into one amusing misadventure after another. The author struggles against typhoons, earthquakes, and giant centipedes and soon finds himself swept up in the laid-back, clothing-optional lifestyle of the islanders.
Read more at matadornetwork.com
A Thousand Hills to Heaven: Love, Hope, and a Restaurant in Rwanda
By Josh Ruxin, 2013
One couple's inspiring memoir of the healing of a Rwandan village, raising a family near the old killing fields, and building a restaurant named Heaven. Part memoir, part history lesson, the story of Ruxin's life in Rwanda is riveting and inspirational.
Read more at www.goodreads.com
By Gianni Vecchiato, (photographer), 1999
This book presents 150 superb photographs providing a magnificent view of the textiles, people, and daily life of Guatemala. It is truly a feast for the eyes and spirit.
Mongolia: Nomad Empire of the Eternal Blue Sky
By Carl Robinson, 2010
Explores Mongolia's history, culture and geography through insightful writing and beautiful imagery. This beautifully illustrated book provides a comprehensive and insightful guide to the diverse natural history and rich culture of 'The Land of the Eternal Blue Sky.'
Read more at books.google.com
India Bites You Somehow - True-Life Tales
By Kai Mayerfeld, Chris Fallon (photographer), 2010
A rollicking collection of true stories that take you deep into the heart of the magical, mysterious Indian experience. Forty people from nineteen countries share their journeys -- both worldly and sacred -- from the 1960s to the present. These narratives are moving, terrifying, hilarious, and awe-inspiring.
Following Whispers: Walking on the Rooftop of the World in Nepal's Himalayas
By Dan Thompson, 2012
An Iraq War veteran turned magazine editor, accepted an unexpected invitation from a family friend to visit Nepal. With laugh-out-loud misadventures with a parasite, to insightful discussions about Nepal's future, Thompson weaves themes of globalization, religion, development aid, and friendship into what turns into an adventure story. Includes over 20 photos, maps and recipes of traditional foods.
Mali Blues, Traveling to an African beat
by Lieve Joris, 1998
Chronicles of Mauritania, Mali and Senegal in the midst of upheaval and transition observed during the author’s trek from the capital to the remote village of Nema.
Singing Away the Hunger, Autobiography of an African Woman
by Mpho ‘M’atsepo Nthunya, 1996
A gripping memoir of youth in Basutoland, schooling in South Africa, coping with racism and 30 years as domestic servant.
First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria, How a Peace Corps Poster Boy Won My Heart & a Third World Adventure Changed My Life
by Eve Brown-Waite, 2009
A humorous and moving account of PCV in Ecuador in late 1980s.
A Promise in Haiti
by Mark Curnutte, 2011
A reporter chronicles the devastating poverty and havoc of earthquakes and hurricanes, and his involvement in people’s struggles and triumphs.
From Harvey River, A Memoir of My Mother and Her Island
by Lorna Goodison, 2007
Poet & daughter of a prominent Jamaican family contrasts her idyllic childhood with the “hard life” in Kingston after her marriage.
Bright Lights, No City
by Max Alexander, 2012
A humorous, insightful and inspiring narrative of adventures and misadventures while running an enterprise to provide battery-operated equipment to remote villages.
Our Grandmothers’ Drums
by Mark Hudson, 1991
British journalist/critic describes his involvement in local life and rituals during 14 months spent in the Gambian village of Keneba.
by Rafe Bartholomew, 2010
Fulbright scholar/basketball fanatic tells of his time in-country and the history of the Philippines’ unlikely love affair with basketball.
Sacred Horses, The Memoirs of a Turkmen Cowboy
by Jonathan Maslow, 1994
Naturalist/filmmaker, Maslow, profiles the dedication of owners/breeders and their struggles to preserve the fabled, once endangered Akhal-Teke horses.
God Sleeps in Rwanda, A Journey of Transformation
by J. Sebarenzi, 2009
Memoir of politician/diplomat, describes the horror of 1990’s massacres and how he turned bitterness and hatred to forgiveness and compassion.
by Peter Hessler, 2006
Profile of a nation with an ancient traditional culture in the midst of a breathtaking transformation into a dynamic, modern society.
The River’s Tale
by Edward Gargan, 2002
In a legendary trip down the Mekong, a NYT correspondent profiles Cambodia, once a very troubled and impoverished nation, now grappling with technology and on-rushing modernity.
The Eighth Continent, Life, Death, and Discovery in the Lost World of Madagascar
by Peter Tyson, 2000
A rare view into one of the most diverse and fascinating places on earth.
by Jamaica Kincaid
In this 2005 travel narrative, subtitled A Walk in the Himalaya, noted novelist and avid gardener Kincaid, a Caribbean native, traverses Nepal providing descriptions of the flora and fauna of the countryside, and giving insights into the culture and history of the Nepalese people.
On a Hoof and a Prayer
by Polly Evans
Subtitled Exploring Argentina at a Gallop and published in 2007, On a Hoof and a Prayer is the account of journalist Polly Evans learning to ride a horse in the land of the gauchos, and then going on to explore Argentinean culture, customs and history.
Adventures in Gabon: Peace Corps Stories from the African Rainforest
by RPCV Darcy Munson Meijer, 2011
Anecdotes by more than thirty writers who served between 1962 and 2005. A collection of the best stories contributed to the Gabon Letter.
by Lucian Boia
In this well documented volume, published in 2001, Boia, a prominent Romanian writer and history professor at the University of Bucharest, offers an extensive look at the history and culture of Romania, as well as prospects for the political future of his native land.
by June Vendall Clark
Subtitled A Memoir of Africa and published in 1990, Starlings Laughing is an account of author and naturalist Clark's coming of age during the waning days of the British colonial era in the Bechuanaland Protectorate, current day Botswana.
Back to Pakistan
by Leslie Noyes Mass
Mass was a Peace Corps volunteer in Pakistan in the early 1960s. This volume, subtitled A Fifty-year Journey and published in 2011, is a recounting of her return to Pakistan decades later, interwoven with letters and diary entries written during her volunteer service.
Monique and the Mango Rain: two years with a Midwife in Mali
by Kris Holloway and John Bidwell
Published in 2007, this memoir tells the story of Holloway's experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in a small village in Mali in the early 1990s, and her friendship with a local midwife Monique Dembele.
Surviving Against the Odds
by S. Ann Dunham
Subtitled Village Industry in Indonesia and published in 2009, Surviving Against the Odds is based on the 14 years of doctoral dissertation research Dunham, President Obama's late mother, gathered among rural metal workers on the island of Java.
I Was Never Here and This Never Happened
by Dorinda Hafner
Ghana native Hafner, host of A Taste of Africa, a cooking program on Australian television, mixes recipes, stories from her homeland and personal anecdotes in this eclectic 1996 memoir.
The Twelve Little Cakes
by Dominika Dery
In this memoir, published in 2004, poet and playwright Dominika Dery tells of her life growing up in a village near Prague in the 1970s, as the daughter of dissidents in the wake of the 1968 "Prague Spring".
by Gabriella De Ferrari
The daughter of Italian immigrant parents, novelist and travel writer De Ferrari describes her life, from growing up in Tacna, a small desert town in the foothills of the Andes mountains, to becoming a museum curator in the United States in this 1995 memoir.
by Peter Hessler
Subtitled Two Years on the Yangtze, this 2001 memoir is an account of Hessler's service in the Peace Corps as an English teacher, and first American resident in more than fifty years, in Fuling, a small city in China's Sichuan province.
Hands of the Rain Forest: The Emberá: People of Panama
by Rachel Crandell
A first-hand account of an indigenous group whose way of life (using resources from the rain forest to meet most of their subsistence needs) has largely withstood the forces of economic development.
Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu
by J. Maarten Troost
A comical and touching travel memoir with a sentimental heart, Troost's latest work genuinely captures the search for paradise as well as the need for home.
To Timbuktu: A Journey Down the Niger
by Mark Jenkins
A rich combination of cultural exploration, history, and gripping adventure, this beautifully repackaged edition of To Timbuktu is a journey not to be missed.
Lost Province: Adventures in a Moldovan Family
by Stephen Henighan
One of the best travelogues about Moldova, it follows a Canadian’s experiences teaching English in this forgotten country and is humorous and touching while bringing up astute, even disturbing points about Soviet cultural colonization and the inter-ethnic tension he finds there.
Stories from Ecuador: A Collection by Tyrel Nelson
by Tyrel Nelson
A collection of honest, first-hand accounts of the most memorable people, places, and moments from a young man's year-long journey. A colorful mix of tales incorporating levity, beauty and even boredom, in an unexpected and refreshing way.
Lessons I'm Never GHANA Forget
by Tobin Cuss
A collection of stories and observations written by a young primary school teacher, who decided to fulfill his dream of teaching children in Africa.
by Robert Frank
Documents the country's massive vistas, weathered faces, manual labor and dusty roads stretching to the horizon with a spontaneity of motion that propels the viewer into the midst of the scenery.
Blood River: The Terrifying Journey Through The World's Most Dangerous Country
by Tim Butcher
A journalist undertakes a hazardous African trip in 2004, traveling from Lake Tanganyika to the Atlantic Ocean via the Congo River. Delivers an unblinking firsthand portrait of contemporary Congo.
Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal
by Conor Grennan
Little Princes is a true story of families and children, and what one person is capable of when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds. At turns tragic, joyful, and hilarious, Little Princes is a testament to the power of faith and the ability of love to carry us beyond our wildest expectations.
The Kingdom of Roses and Thorns
by Debra Liebenow Daly
Amazing stories of real Swaziland women facing AIDS/HIV and poverty whose strength and courage should inspire all who read this book.
The Places In Between
by Rory Stewart
Stewart began a walk across Afghanistan from Herat to Kabul launching a journey through a devastated, unsettled, and unsafe landscape. The recounting of that journey makes for an engrossing, surprising, and often deeply moving portrait of the land and the peoples who inhabit it.
The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation
by Dr. Andrew Wilson
A sweeping introductory examination of Ukrainian identity and history. . . . An exceptional history, the kind that supplies not pat answers but food for thought within a lush context of documented and mythological past. It is fascinating reading.
Georgia: In the Mountains of Poetry
by Peter Nasmyth
The first comprehensive cultural and historical introduction to modern Georgia. It covers the country region by region, taking the form of a literary journey through the transition from Soviet Georgia to the modern independent nation state.
A History of Nigeria
by Toyin Falola
This succinct, authoritative, and engagingly written history of Nigeria from its earliest beginnings through 1998 provides an excellent introduction to the country's history written by a leading historian on Nigeria.
Saint Lucia: Portrait of an Island
by Jenny Palmer
St. Lucia lives up to its reputation for outstanding natural beauty and for the friendliness of its people. The stunning new images provide a fascinating insight into the unique history and vibrant culture of the island known simply as "Helen of the West Indies."
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
by Ishmael Beah
This absorbing account by a young man who, as a boy of 12, gets swept up in Sierra Leone's civil war goes beyond even the best journalistic efforts in revealing the life and mind of a child abducted into the horrors of warfare.
My Invented Country: A Memoir
by Isabel Allende
In this memoir-cum-study of her "home ground," the author delves into the history, social mores and idiosyncrasies of Chile, where she was raised, showing, in the process, how that land has served as her muse.
A Portrait Of Thailand
by David Devoss
An exploration of this country of unique and rich traditions -- from bustling Bangkok with its splendid temples and palaces to hilltop villages and ancient ruins.
Burning Heart: A Portrait of the Philippines
by Jessica Hagedorn
These unflinching photographs uncover the importance of religion in the Philippines, as well as the social inequality, dire poverty, overpopulation, and ingrained class system that are all part of daily life.
Tanzania in Pictures
by Bev Pritchett
An overview of Tanzania's geography and history, along with an exploration of the political, economic, and cultural landscape of this east coast African nation.
Crossroads: A Popular History of Malaysia and Singapore
by Jim Baker
Baker's thrilling book profits from his refusal to separate Singapore s history from Malaysia's. What we get is a broad story filled with surprising details drawn from his own experiences and from other scholarly works, and told in an easy and captivating style.
India: In Word and Image
by Eric Meola
Photographer Meola's claims he is drawn to India because the people are blessed with childhood's sense of wonder so his photographs are an affectionate tribute to the subcontinent's diversity and history. Suffused with light and color, his images sidestep clichÈ to achieve an intimacy and spontaneity that readers will relish.
Bogotá and Beyond
by Jaime Johnson
A technical writer by trade, he has been traveling and living throughout the beautiful country of Colombia. A one of a kind guidebook with over 350 photos which also comes with a free e-book with color photos.
Ghana: An African Portrait Revisited
by Peter E. Randall & Abena Busia
On the fiftieth anniversary of Ghana's independence, six New Hampshire photographers journeyed to the West African country to document the changes that occurred over the decades. This full color book covers education, medicine, fishing, crafts, markets, and many portraits of everyday life.
The Idea of Pakistan
by Stephen P. Cohen
To probe beyond the headlines, Stephen Cohen, offers a panoramic portrait of this complex country—from its origins as a homeland for Indian Muslims to a military-dominated state that has experienced uneven economic growth, political chaos, sectarian violence, and several nuclear crises with its much larger neighbor, India.
by Joseph A. Page
Vast in area, rich in resources and uniquely integrated in racial composition, here is Brazil in all its beauty, contradictions, promises and disappointments. Idealistic and pragmatic, exuberant and passive, its people have survived colonialism, slavery, dictatorships and populism and now struggle toward a viable capitalism in a society characterized by extremes of wealth and poverty.
India: In Word and Image
by Eric Meola
Rose-ringed parakeets nesting in trees or henna on a woman's hands, his photographs are an affectionate tribute to the subcontinent's diversity and history.
A photographer’s affectionate tribute to the subcontinent's diversity and history.
The Last Men: Journey Among the Tribes of New Guinea
by Jago Corazza
There are still hundreds of unknown populations in Papua New Guinea remained untouched by civilization, many of which are dying out. A glimpse into the lives of the people of this untamed Eden.
Offer’s a glimpse into the relatively unknown tribes – some which are dying out - of this untamed Eden.
Mongolia: Travels in the Untamed Land
by Jasper Becker
For seventy years, it was a forbidden country, shrouded in darkness. Now witness the birth of one of the world’s youngest democracies as well as the deep and tragic impact of the rules of Mao and Stalin on the Mongolian people.
The author witnesses the birth of one of the world’s youngest democracies and its tragic legacy of communism.
by Lisa St Aubin de Teran
A wanderer in a place where no one leaves home; an unmarried woman in a place where men and women have many spouses, the author experiences a curious symbiosis with everyone benefiting from the other's presence.
A woman finds her purpose in this African country starting a school and an organization devoted to sustainable development.
by Jerry Hopkins
Essays exploring the mystery and mayhem of "The Land of Smiles" to hilarious-and sometimes disturbing-effect. the book explores aspects of day to day life in the kingdom.
Essays exploring the mystery and mayhem of "The Land of Smiles" to hilarious-and sometimes disturbing-effect.
A History of Bangladesh
by Willem van Schendel
Bangladesh is a new name for an old land whose history is little known to the wider world. This is an eloquent introduction to a fascinating country and its resilient and inventive people.
An eloquent introduction to a fascinating country and its resilient and inventive people.
Motoring with Mohammed: Journeys to Yemen and the Red Sea
by Eric Hansen
An enthralling portrait -- uncannily sympathetic and wildly offbeat -- of this forgotten corner of the Middle East. Reveals the indelible allure of a land steeped in custom, conflicts old and new, and uncommon beauty.
Reveals the indelible allure of a land steeped in custom, conflicts old and new, and uncommon beauty.
by Will Randall
Both an endearing personal story and a travel book about a little-known but highly successful country.
Dignity and Defiance: Stories from Bolivia's Challenge to Globalization
Edited by Jim Shultz and Melissa Crane Draper
A powerful, eyewitness account of Bolivia's decade-long rebellion against globalization imposed from abroad. A rich portrait of people calling for global integration to be different than it has been: more fair and more just.
A powerful, eyewitness account of Bolivia's decade-long rebellion against globalization.
Tales From Tanzania: A Mostly True Story
by Scott Balows
While traveling across Africa, the author keeps one eye on the lions and one eye on his travelling companions. Portrays a comical misunderstanding between cultures.
The River of Lost Voices: Stories from Guatemala
by Mark Brazaitis
Fictional chronicles of a life in an impoverished Guatemalan town. Pervading each tale is ex-Peace Corps volunteer Brazaitis's understanding of the intricate social stratifications of his characters' rural community.
Fictional chronicles of a life in an impoverished Guatemalan town written by an Returned Peace Corps Volunteer.
The Dispossessed: Chronicles of the Desterrados of Colombia
by Alfredo Molano
A sociologist who realizes that 'the way to understand wasn't to study people but to listen to them collects these gripping stories showing the human face of those who suffer the effects of the US "Plan Colombia" and of a state that serves the interests of wealthy landlords instead of the poor.
Gripping stories by a sociologist who interviews dispossessed Columbians victimized by economic inequality and the negative impacts of U.S. foreign policy.