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A Small Key Opens Big Doors: 50 Years of Amazing Peace Corps Stories: Volume Three: The Heart of Eurasia (Peace Corps at 50) Paperback – October 4, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
There is an old saying about Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. Those returning from Africa come home happy, from Asia philosophical and from Latin America impassioned. Beginning in the mid-1990s we had a new category -- those returning from the former Soviet Union and its satellites. They seemed to return in shock. Whether they served months or years after Russian troop withdrawal, they found rampant unemployment, alcoholism, infrastructure in ruins, disease, violence and paranoia. In many places, Volunteers were witness to unbelievable ecological collapse caused by unmitigated industrialization. Giant lakes and even an inland sea had disappeared, forests lay bare and mine tailings rose into new mountains. A cruel, toxic wind blew.
The 54 voices published in A Small Key Opens Big Doors are really a bit like old, thick phonograph records for although we can appreciate every note, many describe a world since gone. Our Peace Corps program in Turkey ended in 1972, Iran in 1976. The majority of Central European programs closed at the dawn of this new century after ten or eleven years. This is well-crafted history, told in first person.
All of the selections reveal far-off places and will serve future historians well. Several are haunting. The series editor, Jane Albritton, has done a great service for our nation by arranging the publication of the Peace Corps at 50 Project: four volumes of the most mature and honest personal experience essays in print. Any Peace Corps aficionado should buy this book as well as the other three volumes for these are the finest non-fiction Peace Corps anthologies to date.