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All You Need Is Love: The Peace Corps and the Spirit of the 1960s

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ISBN-13: 978-0674016354
ISBN-10: 0674016351
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Editorial Reviews Review

Everyone has heard of the Peace Corps, and that's no accident. When the agency was started in the early days of the Kennedy Administration, one of the top priorities was making it known virtually overnight, and some of the most talented advertising professionals in America donated their expertise to publicizing it. With John F. Kennedy's brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, as director, the Peace Corps represented the high ideals of a crucial decade in American history. Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman, a professor of American foreign relations at San Diego State University, details the first decade of the Peace Corps, focusing on the struggles to create the agency, the political skill that made it flourish, and the influence of the Vietnam War, which Hoffman refers to as the Peace Corps's "evil twin."

From Library Journal

By 1996, almost 150,000 Americans had served in the Peace Corps, the Kennedy administration's bow to the idealism of the 1960s. Hoffman (history, Univ. of San Diego) ably describes the genesis of the corps in the search for meaning that characterized that decade, the concern about the American image as portrayed in the 1958 novel The Ugly American, and the desire to ameliorate America's heritage of racism. She goes on to recount the corps' struggles in the 1970s and 1980s and its rejuvenation in the 1990s with the end of the Soviet empire and renewed interest in offering assistance to former Soviet bloc countries. Treating both policy matters and the experience of the volunteers, Hoffman places the Peace Corps in the context of other international volunteer efforts, including the Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO) and the British Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), to incorporate humanitarianism into foreign policy. Though intended for an academic audience, Hoffman's accessible writing will reach any interested reader.ACynthia Harrison, George Washington Univ., Washington, DC
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 318 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (May 6, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674016351
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674016354
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,670,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Award-winning historian and novelist Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman brings unique and unexpected perspectives to our understanding of the past and present. Building upon her remarkable life experiences as an activist in her teens and twenties, Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman writes fiction and non-fiction that is both witty and scholarly. Her path-breaking books reveal a world that is as intriguing and surprising as it is real.

Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman began writing at age 15 as the Publications Coordinator for a women's center in Southern California, where she organized a variety of innovative projects for young people and adults. For these and other efforts, at age 22, she won the John D. Rockefeller International Youth Award, given annually to one individual worldwide. She earned a Ph.D. at Stanford University, and now teaches history at San Diego State University. Her books have won four literary prizes, two for American history and two for fiction. Previously a Fulbright scholar in Ireland, she is currently writing a novel on Alexander Hamilton and his courageous wife Eliza Schuyler, who survived his tragic death and raised their seven children alone.

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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Michael Stewart on July 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
In the 1960s many Americans attempted to redefine their nation's identity both at home and abroad. No institution reflected this attitude better than the Peace Corps. In All You Need is Love Elizabeth Cobbs-Hoffman explores the history of the corps, and reveals, that by tracing its development in the last forty years, one can gain a better understanding on how it became the quintessential institution of social reform in the 1960s. Cobbs-Hoffman begins her narrative by exploring the background of American idealism. She asserts that the United States, since its founding, has perceived itself as a crusading nation whose mission has been to promote the spread of its form of "benevolent" democracy. This idealism, however, has often clashed with the reality that states, like individuals, sometimes act for selfish reasons, and not for the good of others. This contradiction has often made Americans uncomfortable with their role in the world of power-politics, and as a consequence Cobbs-Hoffman asserts that, "Paradoxically when the United States has been at its most expansionist, it has been most subject to idealism. The late 1950's and early 1960's was one such a period. The country, in the twenty years after World War II, experienced an era of unprecedented economic growth, and increased military and political might. This preeminence, however, created conflicting emotions for many Americans, whose pride in this strength, was matched by their historical perception that power corrupted Americans' virtue. Revolted by the consequence of extreme nationalism and racism in Nazi Germany, numerous Americans took to the concept of universalism, and its belief that all humans deserved the same rights, regardless of nationality.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence F. Lihosit on June 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Time is the best judge of worth. Nearly fifteen years after its initial printing and I used it extensively during the preparation of my own Peace Corps history book to be published in the winter, 2011. This book is the gold standard for anyone interested in the Peace Corps.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Toni on March 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
I thought this book was amazing and the author was simply wonderful. Thank you Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman for this gift.
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