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In an easy, captivating storyteller's voice, Brown takes us on an eye-opening journey into the heart of Africa and the soul of Washington, DC, two worlds often very much at odds, to the detriment of those too poor and too irrelevant to secure the attention ...
In an easy, captivating storyteller's voice, Brown takes us on an eye-opening journey into the heart of Africa and the soul of Washington, DC, two worlds often very much at odds, to the detriment of those too poor and too irrelevant to secure the attention they deserve, either in their home countries or in the U.S.
Set in the East African nation of Uganda, a country lush with natural beauty but ravaged by poverty and corruption, Larry Brown's account of the challenges overseeing the work and safety of 165 Peace Corps Volunteers and dealing with unsympathetic DC headquarters reveals challenges and frustrations as well as joys and successes. These raw, unapologetic insights into the real world of the Peace Corps today reveal that in fact, these peasants, as so many others like them throughout the world, do come last.
Posted May 27, 2012
An excellent description of PC in-country administration, volunteer experiences, and the unfortunate trending of Peace Corps bureaucracy in Washington. Brown explains why the ideals of Kennedy's Peace Corps are still sufficiently present to attract college graduates. However, the description of secretive, self-serving aspects of this federal agency show us that it is not unique in character.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 21, 2011
Peasants Come Last is one of those rare finds, a "book of the year" on virtually anyone's list. The true story of Dr. Larry Brown, a seasoned development expert and former Harvard professor, this new little prize takes readers into the villages of rural Uganda where we see the grinding lives people lead but also the spectacular work done by Peace Corps Volunteers. If you ever hankered to see inside Africa first-hand, this is the next best thing. If you ever wondered what westerners do in African countries to try to make a difference, this is your chance. Earl Shorris, Contributing Editor at Harper's, puts Brown's work up with the likes of Carl Sagan and Stephen J. Gould, other scholars who brought the real world to a level of public understanding: "Brown gives us a candid look at what it means to try to do good in a harsh world. We are taken to the make-shift huts of refugees driven from their homes by the insane barbarism of the Lord's Resistance Army. We stand with Brown where Livingstone once stood, at Murchison Falls overlooking the powerful Nile filled with hippos and crocodiles. But of all the obstacles faced by Brown, none is as nonsensical as the tone-deaf dealings of Peace Corps Washington. We see how the needs of peasants come last." The endorsements and reviews of Peasants Come Last are piling up. and for good reason. It is one of those rare books that is purposeful, sobering and thrilling, all at the same time.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 8, 2011
Part travelogue and part program analysis, this very memoir reflects a respect and affection for Peace Corps volunteers and the villagers of Uganda. But it is also a portrait of change at the Peace Corps as a result of 9/11 and the bureaucratization of an agency that started out putting people first -- both those in-country, and those coming there to improve the prospects in some small way for the poorest of the poor. One suspects the relevance of this highly readable book reaches far beyond the Peace Corps.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.