Peace Corps Writers

July 1999

Go to In this issue to discover the articles in our first issue of

In Resources you will find our Bibliography of Peace Corps writers and other resources including links that might be of interest.

In the Archives, right now you will find a listing of the books that won writing awards that we've given in the past, plus the winners of the Peace Corps Experience Award. The Archives will be growing over time to include special articles from past issues of the newsletter RPCV Writers & Readers and who knows what else!

The outpouring of appreciation from many readers of our newsletter RPCV Writers & Readers surprised and touched us. At the same time that we were giving serious consideration to going on-line with our publication, several readers suggested the same, and we have decided to take on the challenge. The fact that we will reach a wider audience in cyberspace is encouraging and exciting, but the purpose of is the same as that of our newsletter: to support, encourage and recognize writers from the Peace Corps. In doing this, we believe we are fulfilling the Third Goal of the Peace Corps through the written word.
     Once again, Marian Haley Beil and I will be volunteering our time to promote Peace Corps writers. Marian. a designer, will be the site designer. I will collect news about writers and edit the book reviews, interviews, and essays.
     We are adding a new feature to our usual bag of tricks – a travel column — and we hope to receive articles and suggestions about where to go in the world from all of you.
     We hope that you will support Peace Corps writers by buying their books. In order to help in the process, we shall continue to participate in the Associates Program with Throughout our site, when you come across “Buy this book” which has the ubiquitous link features – red in color and underlined — following the title of a book, you can click on the tag and go directly to and place an order — frequently at discounted prices.
     Maintaining a site in cyberspace is not without cost. We thank all of you who contributed to supporting the newsletter and hope that you will think kindly of us in the future. For everyone else, I would just like to say, is a cause that we think is worth supporting.

In this issue: A special tribute to Alan Weiss
Mathematician, graduate of M.I.T., wanderer through Cuba, Paris, Corfu, Alan Weiss (Nigeria 1963–64) joined the Peace Corps wanting “to become part of something for once.” He entered a summer training program at Columbia University in New York City, preparatory to assignment as a teacher. In his book, High Risk/High Gain, he tells the story of that training program. The book, published by St. Martin’s Press in 1968, had as its subtitle: “A freewheeling account of Peace Corps Training.” From time to time in the years following its publication, I would spot small back-page ads in magazines like The New Republic offering the book for sale. Alan had bought from the publisher copies of his remaindered book and was hawking the book himself. Then the ads disappeared. The book disappeared. And Alan Weiss disappeared. He committed suicide in 1971.
     Since those days, two RPCVs who served with Alan — Bob Cohen and Ed Gruberg — have kept telling tales of Weiss. Repeatedly, Bob Cohen would suggest that I write about Weiss and his Peace Corps book in our newsletter RPCV Writers & Readers.
     So we begin our new website with an interview with Bob Cohen, a remembrance by Ed Gruberg, a review of High Risk/High Gain and excerpts from High Risk/High Gain. We, too, will keep his book alive.

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