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Fiesta of Sunset: The Peace Corps, Guatemala and a Search for Truth Hardcover – February 11, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (February 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145027224X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1450272247
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,638,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Peter on February 27, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Then this is a great place to start. I was lucky enough to share many of Taylor's experiences with him in Guatemala, but have also been involved in development work for extended periods in Africa, and travelled widely. What makes this work different to so many personal accounts of development work I have read is its sheer honesty. I would love to write memoirs of some of my experiences but the fact is I lack the courage to bare my soul so completely and directly as Taylor manages to in this book.

For anyone who is thinking about doing Peace Corps, or indeed volunteering overseas or travelling in developing countries, this book gives a great account of the realities. There are many sources where you can find the 'glamorous' side - how great it is to endure the hardships and to help people - but this book truly gives you an insight into the emotions you will experience, both good and bad.

I think this book is also important for people inside the development community, and those considering pursuing that line of work. Taylor manages to tie in the dual aspects of someone who is interested and well educated in the larger scale of international relations/history with first hand experience of working at the very bottom of the ladder - as an entry-level development worker involved with small scale projects within the communities he was living. It's that collision of someone well read in the theory of international development with the realities on living at the sharp end of the implementation, that resonated so vividly with my first experiences of field work, and provides an insightful backdrop to the running commentary of his day to day life.

When I read this book for the first time I was personally proud of my former colleague for producing such an honest, complete and reflective account of his Peace Corp service. I would encourage anybody who is interested in the whole story of work and life in grass roots development to read this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By JK on March 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Taylor Dibbert has kindly shared with us a thoughtful and highly entertaining account of his Peace Corps experience in Guatemala. Ranging from the hilarious to the disparaging to the deeply personal and spanning the entirety of his service, the vignettes unfold in real time so that we are privy to all of the excitement, anxieties, frustrations, successes and honest reflections as they occur and that constitute Taylor's "Fiesta of Sunset." In full disclosure, I was a fellow volunteer of Dibbert and we remain friends to this day, but I recommend this book for anybody interested in the Peace Corps, Guatemala or the nuanced world of development work in general. What's more, the text bristles with Dibbert's personality, so while on one page you get inquiries into the injustices of poverty or the history of American foreign policy, on the next page you might get tales of literary love affairs or elegiac praise for the creator of instant noodles! Truly unique and a pleasure to read. Bravo!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By MCCambar on July 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
I never did the Peace Corps, even though I thought I wanted to a few times. I would think about how old I would be at the end of my tenure and the idea would quickly vanish. For three days last week I was in Nebaj, Guatemala working as a Peace Corps volunteer, following Mr. Dibbert through breathtaking views of the high mountains of the Ixil Triangle, heart-wrenching medical exams, the Peace Corps bureaucracy, and stacks of tortillas. "Fiesta of Sunset" took me there and I'm grateful for what I saw.

Dibbert delivers a taste of the Peace Corps experience with a hearty helping of Guatemalan culture and history. This book is a beautiful, at times hilarious read that I highly recommend.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By VirtuP on February 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
An excellent book to discover what being a Peace corps volunteer means if you are not too familiar with it. A wonderful work to review what it really means if you've been part of it.
Overall, it is a fair and very beautiful account of life, struggle but, above all, learning. A must read if you believe that change is possible and how to make it possible through the Peace Corps.Beautifully written and sincerity on every single page.Fiesta of Sunset: The Peace Corps, Guatemala and a Search for Truth
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Taylor Dibbert is a cultured, well spoken aficionado of many things in life - he is veraciously funny, while poised and at ease with who he is and what he believes in. His first book (from which I expect won't be the last) seems to provide a vast insight to not only what the Peace Corps experience can be, but more importantly a declaration of cultural appreciation & struggles that come with living abroad. Having never been involved or experienced with much volunteer work, reading this helped me garner the selflessness and sacrifice needed to dedicate your time and energy in the most noble way -- helping the impoverished achieve a better quality of life.

It's his experience, but it seems to become yours as well. Through his journey you are with him -- in the various cities, on the bus, eating beans and rice, communicating with the locals -- His style of writing is to the point and witty, humorous, while serious about the realities of a lifestyle and a world most don't get to see. I felt like I was stepping through this day by day with him -- The imagery brought me directly to Guatemala, which is an exemplary ability of a good author to help the reader fully appreciate the story (fact or fiction).

The book is great for those wanting to learn what the Peace Corps can be like for any individual. At the same time, it proves to be a personal reflection of the disembarkment from all comfort zones and safe havens we like to call home. What I really learned from Taylor's experience is that however hard it is to be living in a distant country, starting a selfless career path, or doing both at the same time...
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