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Voices from the Peace Corps: Fifty Years of Kentucky Volunteers (Kentucky Remembered) Hardcover – April 8, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Using the myriad stories from the men and women interviewed by Angene and Jack Wilson and others is, without much doubt, the best way to tell the Peace Corps's story. The stories and memories of five decades' worth of Peace Corps veterans show that the commercial was right: it was the toughest job they ever loved."―Troy Reeves, Troy Reeves, University of Wisconsin―Madison Oral History Program

"Angene and Jack Wilson have a lovely, crisp writing style that carries the narrative along, blending general information with individual stories. Voices from the Peace Corps describes an important piece of the American experience."―Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman, Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman, author of All You Need is Love: The Peace Corps and the Spirit of the 1960s

"Find a comfortable rocking chair... Angene and Jack Wilson have woven together a compelling and inspiring story of how Kentuckians were called to serve in the Peace Corps, and, in turn, how that experience changed their lives and contributed to Kentucky and the rest of the country. The Wilsons have provided a great and timely service to the entire Peace Corps community in collecting and sharing these compelling oral histories."―Kevin Quigley, President, The National Peace Corps Association

"The poignant photograph on the cover of this book in many ways epitomizes the daily life of Peace Corps Volunteers serving overseas. To the almost 200,000 returned volunteers living in the United States and throughout the world, their time in the Peace Corps was a singular experience of a lifetime. It's a mind changing adventure that results in how they look at the world and carries with them open and positive attitudes in all the present and future work they may do. I hope you will enjoy reading these interviews with returned Kentucky volunteers who share their unique but common experiences of living for two years in another culture. Angie Wilson and Jack Wilson are to be congratulated for their passion and hard work in collecting these personal stories."―James Archambeault, Peace Corps Volunteer, Philippines 1965-1967

""You will be rewarded when you read it, and you will have in your personal library a book unlike any other written on the subject of the peace corps, and one destined to be cited source for all coming Peace Corps books."―Peacecorpswriters.org"―

""Allows volunteers to elaborate on the reasons they joined and lets them discuss their training, adjustments to living overseas, jobs, the friends they made, and their readjustment upon returning home."―Lexington Herald-Leader"―

"'Why did you join the Peace Corps?'...'How are you using your Peace Corps experience now?'...Those [are] interesting stories [that] we rarely have time to explore. Well, now we do."―Friends of Fiji Newsletter

"Peace Corps veterans themselves, the authors compile an enlightening archive of stories from Kentuckians who have been abroad with the organizaiton. The entries are organized thematically, mixing in the expereinces of persons stationed across the globe-a particularly fascinating editorial choice which emphsizes the many common experiences that Kentuckians have had while reaching out to the world."―Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"An instructive and enjoyable read. Angene and Jack Wilson have provided historians with a valuable service."―Ohio Valley History

About the Author

Angene Wilson is professor emeritus of education at the University of Kentucky, where she was chair of the secondary social studies program from 1975 to 2004. She is the author of The Meaning of International Experience for Schools and coauthor of Social Studies and the World: Teaching Global Perspectives.

Jack Wilson spent more than thirty-five years in public service, beginning as a Peace Corps administrator in Sierra Leone, Washington, DC, and Fiji, and continuing as an administrator of environmental protection programs in Ohio and Kentucky.
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Product Details

  • Series: Kentucky Remembered
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky (April 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813129753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813129754
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,214,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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What a treasure!

Angene and Jack Wilson's Voices from the Peace Corps: Fifty years of Kentucky Volunteers is a masterwork of scholarship, organization, history, and memoir.

Volunteers themselves in the first Peace Corps group sent to Liberia, the Wilsons embody the deep understanding needed to add context and connective tissue and the professionalism to wrestle a mountain of material into an accessible page-turner.

Even among notoriously resilient, flexible and open-minded Peace Corps people, the Wilsons are a head above. For nearly 50 years they have maintained friendships, recounted briefly at the end of this volume, with their Liberian students and colleagues that have grown into richly intertwined lives.

And now, after seven years of research, interviews and writing, they have amassed an invaluable record of the Peace Corps experience that is historically detailed and personally touching. Their book, mere bound sheets of paper and ink, is as interactive as a relational database. Readers can go to topic chapters, follow the threads of particular Volunteers or just open to a random page and discover an engaging episode.

Built on interviews with 100 Kentucky Volunteers, Voices illuminates the universal Peace Corps experience. The Wilsons chose four individuals and a couple to each represent one of the decades since the founding of the Peace Corps. Reflections from these Volunteers open each chapter and provide continuity through topics.
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Format: Hardcover
Here is a book that tells the Peace Corps story in the most meaningful way one can imagine: using the voices of volunteers who have served in many countries at different times to collectively present a picture of the Peace Corps experience that has the ring of truth to it.

What one reads in the book are the heartfelt reminiscences of dozens of former volunteers as they discuss their personal experiences relative to eleven topics selected by the authors, beginning with `Why We Went' (the title of Chapter 1), then on through `training,' `settling in,' `jobs,' and all of the other aspects of Peace Corps life that volunteers have shared throughout the past fifty years. Voices from the Peace Corps began life as an oral history project at the University of Kentucky. The voices included in the book all have a present connection to Kentucky - the book's subtitle is Fifty Years of Kentucky Volunteers - but what they are saying accurately represents the entire former volunteer universe. Readers from around the country will enjoy the book and get much from it.

The authors - Angene and Jack Wilson - were both volunteers in the early 1960s, and Jack was a Peace Corps desk officer in Washington and then Country Director in Fiji. As shown in a postscript at the end of the book, their personal experiences as volunteers, staff, and later as key players in the activities of Peace Corps alumni make them the perfect people to have led the immense effort needed to bring this endeavor to its excellent conclusion. (In fact, I found it helpful to read that postscript first in order to appreciate fully the bona fides they bring to the project.
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Format: Hardcover
I was lucky enough to actually know Jack Wilson. I think so much of him I bought extra copies to give to friends who know him and who might not see this Amazon book offer. Jack is one of those people who make Kentucky a better place to live, who has lived a life of service putting people and the environment ahead of self, and who walks the walk as well. The life spent making the world a little better place is a good goal for anyone. Since Jack was one of those people who does it, I want to recommend this book as an honest life lead with integrity, showing how to make the effort to be a little less material oriented and a whole lot more people oriented. If we are lucky enough to have our beautiful state a little more green, waters a little less covered in grease balls, and drinking water that keeps us healthy, it is because people like Jack were born on this earth to tilt at windmills for us all and to push the forces of darkness back. It is good to know someone with ideals that can work in practical roles with intelligence to get things done. I was lucky to know Jack Wilson, and if you read his book you will be too.
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