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Answering Kennedy's Call: Pioneering the Peace Corps in the Philippines Paperback – February 26, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 508 pages
  • Publisher: Peace Corps Writers (February 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935925016
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935925019
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,076,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

In 1961 John Stickler became the first person from Arizona to be selected by the U. S. Peace Corps. That summer, along with 150 other volunteers inspired by President Kennedy, he completed an intensive course in Philippine Studies at Penn State University, but the Selective Service System felt that as a conscientious objector he was unfit for Peace Corps service. The Tucson draft board denied permission for him to leave the country and later drafted him out of graduate school. A year later found him at UN Command Headquarters in South Korea, assigned to a Military Advisory Group.
Taking his discharge in Seoul he established one of the first advertising agencies in that country and spent nine years filing news reports for the CBS radio network. (In this 1974 photo he is interviewing former president Yun Po Sun, put under house arrest by President Park Chung Hee for criticizing his harsh regime.)
After 13 years in Seoul, Stickler and his wife, fine artist Soma Han, and their two boys returned to the States, settling in California. Purchasing a national business magazine, he began a career of publishing, editing, freelance writing and corporate public relations. During the 1990s he began writing books for Fodor's, Berlitz, and the Asian Sources Media Group in Hong Kong. For several years he was editor and publisher of The Mature Traveler, a national newsletter. In 2003 John and Soma joined forces with Shen's Books to publish Land of Morning Calm: Korean Culture Then and Now. The title was subsequently selected by Skipping Stones Magazine for one of its annual Honor Awards.
Currently he is completing a book of word puzzles for middle and high school students.





Customer Reviews

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By P. David Searles on April 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
If any additional proof is needed, the early groups of Peace Corps volunteers in the Philippines achieved a remarkable level of unit cohesion, as this massive collection of essays shows. In all, 110 of those involved in the first three groups - 96 of whom are returned volunteers - have joined together to produce a remarkable and historically valuable set of reminiscences focusing on their experiences in the Philippines during 1961-63.

The overriding impression one gets from reading them all is that the experience was life altering, life altering in a very positive and long lasting manner. The writers remember with great fondness the Filipinos they lived and worked with, they cherish the way the experience opened their minds to other cultures and modes of life, and they credit it with having a determining effect on how they spent the next 5 decades of their lives. The only regret they have is the feeling (perhaps unjustly, in my mind) that they did too little for the Philippines in exchange for these great blessings.

Answering Kennedy's Call is going to change the way future historians write about the early days of the Peace Corps. For a half century those days have been portrayed in a manner that lionizes the founding fathers and spends little time examining their work. The essays, even those of the staff members, are almost unanimous in damning the `non-job' of `teacher aide' to which almost all were assigned, the irrelevant training programs they endured, the destructiveness of the psychological testing process, and the lack of support provided once at their sites. Surely, future `creation' stories will have to take into account the fact that early programs, at least the ones in the Philippines, were badly flawed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard in Rhinebeck on March 9, 2011
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After fifty years (1961-2011), the Peace Corps has become, in the minds of Americans and many others in nations around the globe, an icon of what's good about our country and our people. Much of the credit for the success and endurance of the Peace Corps is attributable to the irrepressible enthusiasm and optimism of the Peace Corps's first Director, Sargent Shriver; the field staff of free-thinking, creative Kennedyites he recruited to build and shape the first programs abroad; and to the early volunteers, uncommonly average Americans every one, who answered Kennedy's siren call. Answering Kennedy's Call: Pioneering the Peace Corps in the Philippines is their story, a remarkable collection of memoirs capturing the lives and experiences of some of the first volunteers who served in the Philippines, the nascent Peace Corps' largest program, during 1961-63. Written with the benefit of wisdom that comes with a half century of perspective, their stories are at once poignant, funny, insightful and revealing. Sent abroad in large numbers to wage good in an American client state, with little relevant training beyond an admonition to "roll with the punches" and a job definition that satisfied no one, they managed to fulfill the foremost law of volunteerism--First, Do No Harm--while building a quiet, barely-noticed record of micro-achievement in the tiny barrios, village schools and small towns of the benighted Philippine archipelago. Individually, their stories admit to the difficulties and frustrations of the task, from the simple challenges of daily living to disappointments generated by aspects of traditional Philippine culture to persisting guilt born from the certain knowledge that they were receiving more than they were giving.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gerrit Cuperus on June 25, 2012
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This was an excellent book on the first U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers in the country of the Philippines. It summarized the idealismn of these first volunteers.
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By Rongratz on August 15, 2014
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I served in the Philippines as a Peace Corps volunteers in the late 1960's and reading the essays in this book brought back a flood of memories. While some of the issues that those early volunteers faced (the book contains essays from the first 3 groups of volunteers) had been at least partially resolved (eg the ambiguity of the early assignments) by the time I arrived, many of the challenges still persisted and I would guess persist to this day.
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