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Greetings from Jungleland Paperback – November 26, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: lulu.com (November 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0557195403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0557195404
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,902,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Fortner holds a master's degree in public administration and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He works as a Planner for the City of Newark, Delaware, and lives in Perryville, Maryland, with is wife, Shannon, his step-son, Patrick, and is son, James. From June 1994 till February 1997, Michael served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the West African country of Togo. His book, Greetings from Jungleland, is a memoir of his experience. His previous written work includes his graduate thesis Paving Paradise: Parking Supply and Demand on Main Street.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roger Barry on January 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I started reading "Greetings from Jungleland" by Michael Fortner with envy. The Peace Corps was created after I was married and had a family. It was one of those experiences that I lusted to do but never seemed to have the opportunity because of other obligations (making a living). Reading Michael Fortner's retrospective of his experience in the Peace Corp is a delight. It provides insights into the significance of this sort of experience as part of shaping a view of the world. His sharing of this youthful adventure through the eyes of a mature adult makes it all the more impressive.

The author's experiences of learning a language, sharing a bush taxi with a corpse, dealing with voodoo priest, to his circle of friends in an African village, and his attempts to improve the quality of life of the people of Togo helps you understand why the Peace Corp is such an important and venerated American Institution. The impact on both the people of the host country and on our own citizens who participate in this program is greater than the sum of its parts. If you have a sense of adventure and want to understand life in a traditional African village then "Greetings from Jungleland" is a book you will want to read.
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By C. Olson on April 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
I genuinely enjoyed reading this book, it made me laugh out loud and in the end, it also made me cry.

Overall, I found it to be tremendously engaging! I admired the organic approach to writing and applaud his courage in laying bare his emotions, seemingly without fear of judgment. Such an honest and unrefined approach really helped to capture the essence of Komlakopé and the time spent there.

When I began the book, I thought there were a few too many pop-culture references, which at first glance...... I didn't appreciate; however as the book progressed, I saw those references diminish as his initial idealism turned into a more mature realism. Once I was further along, I came to realize those inaugural pop-culture references were vital to the storyline as they helped create a sort of road map; they became relevant in their depiction of his maturity and perspective at that time.
I found it fascinating (and unexpected) to see someone maturing so clearly throughout the book; to some extent it was like watching him become a man. I'm assuming he relied on some type of documentation from that time period; journals, letters etc. otherwise I'm not sure he could have captured the transition as well as he did.

I also thought the random peppering of a more current perspective was brilliant. It added a new and important dimension to the story, a continuation of his road map so to speak. It also highlighted overt cultural differences that may have otherwise been overlooked (i.e. the stuffed snake on his son's crib) as well as an evolving point of view (i.e. his regret over not paying the village children to dig the ditch just to prove he could do it himself ....among other regrets).

I have to say.....overall, I absolutely loved it; it was touching, entertaining and insightful. I'm sure that won't be the last time I read it.
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Format: Paperback
Michael Fortner's Greetings from Jungleland, based on his experiences as a Peace Corp Volunteer, is an engaging account of learning to appreciate an unfamiliar culture. The pacing of the narrative kept me turning pages to find out what would happen next. Fortner has an excellent command of detail, describing Togo so vividly I felt I could see it through his eyes. I was especially impressed with his ability to convey big, general ideas about history, politics, and culture without getting bogged down in generalizations. Such information is never excessive and always relevant to the story at hand.
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Format: Paperback
A very well-written Peace Corps memoir. The structure is very tight, and the story is well-told. Fortner talks about the personal doubts, the professional challenges, and the highs and lows of doing unstructured volunteer work.
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