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Oakland's Chinatown Images of America: Oakland’s Chinatown is a new photo history book written by William Wong (Philippines 1964–68) author of Yellow Journalist: Dispatches from Asian America. The book contains 216 amazing photos and images that show Oakland, California’s Chinese life over 100 years.
     Oakland’s Chinatown has a history every bit as compelling as its more famous neighbor across San Francisco Bay. Chinese have been a presence in Oakland since the 1850s, bringing with them a rich and complex tradition that survived legalized discrimination that lingered until the 1950s. Once confined to a small area of downtown where restaurants stir-fried, laundries steamed, and vegetable stands crowded the sidewalks, Chinese gradually moved out into every area of Oakland, and the stands evolved into corner groceries that cemented entire neighborhoods. Chinese helped Oakland grow into a modern business and cultural center and have gained prominence in every aspect of the city’s commerce, politics, and arts. Author William Wong was born and grew up in Oakland’s Chinatown. He went on to a distinguished career in journalism. Although important images emanate from public collections including the Oakland Museum of California and the Oakland Public Library, most of the priceless historic photos in this volume are drawn from the private collections of dozens of families and Chinatown-based organizations. If you want further information on this email Willian at: bill@yellowjournalist.com. The website for the publisher is www.arcadiapublishing.com.

The Mystery of Max Schmitt

The Mystery of Max Schmitt: Poems on the Life and Work of Thomas Eakins by Philip Dacey (Nigeria 1964–66) is the winner of the 2003 Turning Point Poetry Prize. Turning Point is a poetry publisher dedicated to the art of story in poetry. Philip constructs both a fascinating narrative of Eakins’ world and a searching meditation on the relationships between art and life, between teachers and students, and the quest to live a fully-engaged existence.
     Philip is the author of seven previous full-length books of poems, the latest The Deathbed Playboy (Eastern Washington U. Press, 1999), and numerous chapbooks. His awards include three Pushcart Prizes, a Discovery Award from the New York YM-YWHA’s Poetry Center, many fellowships (Fulbright to Yugoslavia, Woodrow Wilson to Stanford, National Endowment for the Arts, Minnesota State Arts Board, Bush Foundation, Loft-McKnight), and prizes for individual poems from Yankee, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, Kansas Quarterly, Cumberland Poetry Review, Nebraska Review, and others. Co-editor with David Jauss of Strong Measures: Contemporary American Poetry in Traditional Forms (Harper & Row, 1986), Dacey has presented his poetry — which appears in over one hundred anthologies — in more than half of the fifty states and served as Distinguished Poet in Residence, Wichita State U. (1985); Distinguished Visiting Writer, U. of Idaho (1999); and Eddice B. Barber Visiting Writer, Minnesota State U. at Mankato (2003).
     A native of St. Louis, Missouri, and the father of three grown children, he moved at the end of 2004 from Minnesota, where he taught for many years at the state university in Marshall, to Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Barbara Kerley Kelly (Nepal 1981–83) writing as Barbara Kerley has published Walt Whitman: Words for America, a children’s books for ages 7 to 10. In a glowing review in The New York Times Special Children’s Book Section on Sunday, November 14, reviewer Abby McGanney Nolan writes, “Kerley’s account starts with a youthful Whitman and extends to his ‘Good Gray Poet’ years, but much of it is devoted to his experience during the Civil War. Nearly every day for two and a half years, Whitman lived in Washington as the volunteer companion, comforter and sometime nurse to a steady stream of sick and wounded Union soldiers . . . . Kerley conveys the great good Whitman did as well as the poetry this service inspired.” Summing up, McGanney notes, “Kerley does do a nice job of capturing — in few words — Whitman’s expansive view of himself, of America and of poetry. As she describes part of his technique, ‘He read the poems aloud, shaping their rhythm until he heard in them the roll of ocean waves.’”
Author and cross culture authority Craig Storti (Morocco 1970–72) was interviewed by the Associated Press on Saturday October 30th in an article on reverse culture shook that effects college students coming back on campus after studying overseas. Storti, author of The Art of Coming Home, A Guide for Returning Expatriates, was quoted as saying, “People actually resist fitting back into their home countries, because it symbolizes going back to ‘who I was.’ They’re so different, and they don’t want to endanger their new self, to compromise this richer person they’ve become.”
John Krauskopf (Iran 1965–67) has had an article called “Countdown to Amtrak” accepted for a future issue of TRAINS Magazine. The author recounts how his passionate pursuit of an eccentric hobby imperils his chance for true love.
Uncommon Journeys: Peace Corps Adventures Across Cultures has just been published by Worldwise Schools of the Peace Corps. This is a terrific book suitable for anyone but aimed at students from the 6th to the 12 grades. Uncommon Journeys offers 11 essays by returned Peace Corps Volunteers, providing readers an insider’s grasp of what it’s like to serve as a Volunteer, including the challenges, the rewards, the humor, and, most importantly, the lessons about life in other cultures. Each selection is accompanied by lessons. The stories reach from Eastern Europe to Africa, from Central America to Asia. Roger B. Hirschland (Sierra Leone 1966–67) was the editor of this book, the second in a series.
     Journeys is the fourth book of the Worldwise Schools books that were the idea of Betsy Shays (Fiji 1968–70) who came to the Peace Corps during Mark Gearnan’s administration. Shays, a former teacher, developed the first books using essays published in our newsletter and on this site. The new edition goes beyond the essays we have published and includes sections from many of the books published about the Peace Corps. If you want a free copy contact the Peace Corps which is offering copies free (e-mail wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov, and put “Journeys” in the subject field). The book can also be downloaded free from www.peacecorps.gov/wws/guides/journeys/.
A new book of travel literature is coming in March, 2005. It is entitled Writing the Journey: Essays, Stories, and Poems on Travel and was edited by David Espey (Morocco (1962–64). Published by Pearson/Longman this book is a collection of some of the best travel writing, from Francis Bacon’s “Of Travel” to Annie Dillard’s “Sojourner,” and is thematically organized (if one were to use it in teaching) and also includes a list of films, websites, and documentaries on travel, as well as, author biographies and suggested reading. The collection focuses on travel writing in a variety of ways: motives for travel, modes and places, social and moral issues in travel, race and gender issues, travel and personal growth, and travel versus the yearning to be home.
     Everyone is here from Jack Kerouac to Jack London and Robert Louis Stevenson and also four RPCV writers: Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65), Susan Rich (Niger 1984–86), Peter Chilson (Niger 1985–87), and Mike Tidwell (Zaire 1985–87).
Angry Wind: Through Muslim Black Africa by Truck, Bus, Boat, and Camel is the next book from Jeffrey Tayler (Morocco 1988–90; PC Staff/Poland 1992, Uzbekistan 1992–93) — due out in February, 2005.
     Following 9/11, Tayler realized that there was a reason weightier than exoticism for learning more about the Sahel. Mainly, it could become a haven for terrorists, much like Afghanistan. The Sahel is larger than Afghanistan, with many more inaccessible places to hide, and with vast areas barely governed. In 2002, Tayler crossed the Sahel from Chad to Senegal, traveling by whatever means available. For the first time in 17 years of travel to Islamic countries, he experienced a breakdown of traditional Muslim hospitality, resulting from a newly intense hatred of the United States. However, partly because he spoke the region’s three main languages — French, Arabic, and English — Tayler was able to slip through when all looked grim. The result of his travel is Angry Wind.
     Currently, Jeff is in the south of France working on his next book that is about the trip he made this summer down the Lena River in Siberia.
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