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História, História: Two Years in the Cape Verde Islands

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  49 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Twenty-two and newly married, Eleanor Stanford and her husband join the Peace Corps and find themselves on the West African islands of Cape Verde. In this beautifully alien place, as she teaches her students and struggles to come to terms with the island's fascinating yet frustrating culture, Eleanor watches everything she knows about relationships get flipped upside-down ...more
ebook, 83 pages
Published March 11th 2013 by CCLaP Publishing (first published March 9th 2013)
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Jason Pettus
FTC DISCLOSURE: I am the publisher of this book.

(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this review, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

APOLOGIA: A deliberately all-positive critical essay, usually written in an effort to get others to believe in a specific thing the author believes

Why I Signed 'Historia, Historia' -- An Apologia.

I've read and reviewed 150 books a year, every single year, si
I will refrain from rating this since I am connected to it!

That said, if you're into non-fiction, travelogue, women's issues, journalism, memoir, cultural differences.... you've gotta pick this one up!
Rebecca Scaglione
Mar 07, 2013 Rebecca Scaglione rated it really liked it
Recommended to Rebecca by: Lori
When Lori, the marketing director at CCLaP Publishing and book blogger at TNBBC asked me if I wanted to review História, História: Two Years in the Cape Verde Islands by Eleanor Stanford, it was really easy to say yes.

Historia, Historia is about Eleanor’s experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cape Verde. I have a personal connection to this story because one of my cousins was in the Peace Corps in Peru (where he stayed and met his amazing wife), and one of his sisters is in the Peace Corps ri
Kevin Haworth
Mar 14, 2013 Kevin Haworth rated it it was amazing
Not too long ago, in my capacity as a university press editor, I was presented with a manuscript by a woman who had spent a year in Indonesia in the 1960s. She spoke only English, and didn’t meet many Indonesians. She didn’t follow Indonesian politics, then or since. She had a number of personal problems with her then-husband but didn’t want to write about that, to protect her now-quite-adult children. She was taken aback that I doubted readers would be drawn to her book. “But it was a year of ...more
I originally published this review at

História,História is a memoir in essay form, sort of like David Sedaris's books (although not similar in writing style)--the essays are separate but also form a whole work when put together, rather than being fragmented. Eleanor Stanford tells the story of her time volunteering in the Peace Corps, during which she was stationed in Cape Verde, islands off the coast of Africa that were settled by the Portuguese. She talks about the lang
Mar 13, 2013 Heather rated it liked it
História, História is a short memoir of Eleanor’s time in Cape Verde and how it affected her and her marriage. At only 83 pages, it feels more like a long essay than a book, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting to read. Eleanor is good at writing succinctly about the history of Cape Verde and her experiences there as a Peace Corps volunteer. She describes her difficulties with the language(s), the parts of Cape Verde culture and social norm that she couldn’t get used to, her eating diso ...more
Anthony Stancomb
Apr 06, 2016 Anthony Stancomb rated it it was ok
The book describes the author’s attempts to fit in and enjoy herself during the time she spent teaching on the distant island of Cape Verde under the auspices of the Peace Corps.
It’s a very American view of the world, but interesting nonetheless, and it affords the reader a limited insight into life on the island. Most of all, however, the book shows the struggle the author has in adapting to a different way of life.
There is also an interesting sub-plot of the author’s battle with her eating dis
Jan 29, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel-the-world
Ellie and her husband join the Peace Corps in 1998 and are stationed in Cape Verde. What I liked about this book is the history that is included in this slim book. Ellie beautifully describes the islands.
Feb 26, 2013 Emily rated it it was amazing
Eleanor Stanford's writing is beautifully lyrical and utterly honest. We get a glimpse inside of her private struggles with an eating disorder, painted against the dusty backdrop of Cape Verde. She immersed me so deeply in the language and culture that it left me with an even deeper wanderlust to travel and a definite desire to eventually find my own way to that chain of islands just off the west coast of Africa. I was blessed with the opportunity to help edit this book (and had it not been such ...more
Mar 02, 2013 Jennifer rated it liked it
História, História is a small book that leaves a big impression.

Stanford's writing is graceful and rhythmic. The sentences reeled me in to her time on Cape Verde. Her descriptions of the place, the food, and the people made me want to explore it for myself.

Eleanor and her husband are doing good work through the Peace Corp. Sadly, giving time to such a worthwhile cause doesn't make your own problems go away. Eleanor is dealing with a crumbling marriage and a burgeoning eating disorder.

I felt a
Dorothee Lang
Apr 02, 2013 Dorothee Lang rated it it was amazing
"História, História" is a fascinating and honest read - honest to the point of painful. At the same time, it's a poetic book, with tales of Cape Verde woven into the narrative, together with the characteristics of the islands: the wind, the seasons, the rhythm of life there. I definitely would recommend it, especially if you are interested in life in other cultures, and also in language.

(this is from a longer blog post that also includes a detour to the Canary Islands: http://virtual-notes.blogs
Wendy Coulter
Mar 22, 2013 Wendy Coulter rated it it was amazing
Fabulous. Read the free download but plan on purchasing a cloth-bound copy. Stanford's language is exquisite, piercing, and utterly intimate. The stories related are wonderful, but I'd read this again and again simply for the language.
Melanie Page
Sep 14, 2013 Melanie Page rated it really liked it
Free e-book (donation recommended)
Recommended for those who enjoy: memoir and stories about: the Peace Corps, eating disorder, relationships, Africa, loneliness, finding yourself, losing yourself, and being in transition

In the recent increase in published memoirs, none in the travel genre stand out quite like Eleanor Stanford’s História, História: Two Years in the Cape Verde Islands. Stanford discusses learning a new language, Kriolu, which is the “bastardized” version of Portuguese; bulimia; ma
I completed reading this book several weeks/months ago and for some strange reason never marked it!

I kept looking at the line that said X% finished and thought, "I need to fix that".

Perhaps I was swept up in the Cape Verde Islands approach to life that Eleanor Stanford so richly conveys in her book. The writers culture shock as a Peace Corps volunteer shapes this tale in a different way. While a personal memoir, it also at times becomes a dreamscape of self destructiveness and a journey to hope
Apr 08, 2013 Andy rated it liked it
I must start by saying this book did not do much for me. I knew nothing about this book going in (except for the giveaway in the title) and was hoping for a story of someone finding themselves or being part of a big adventure. The main character, Eleanor, goes through many struggles during her two years in Cape Verde, none more than her eating disorder. With that being said, she was not a likable character in the least. She never seemed to take advantage of the positives of being in another cult ...more
May 31, 2015 Alice rated it really liked it
A quick read that chronicles the author's almost two years in Cape Verde in the Peace Corps - she and her husband joined for adventure, but she discovered she was not cut out for a life away from family, friends, and everything familiar. Her marriage and life almost didn't survive. She describes the country very well, both it's physical and cultural dimensions, and her descent into anorexia.
May 11, 2014 Jon rated it really liked it
An interesting look how immersion into a culture can change you, and your outlook towards life.
Sep 09, 2014 Chuck rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Chuck by: Ed Lynsky
A lovely sensitive book written by a young lady that travels to the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of North Africa with her husband as Peace Corp volunteers. It provides vivid insight to the culture, history and geography of the islands. More interesting, however, is how it gives reflections of the authors own feelings in trying to deal with Bolemia, culture shock, a shaky marriage and the idealism of youth. Without regurgitating the book, no pun intended, this experience gives the author much ...more
Apr 13, 2013 Jane rated it it was amazing
A slim volume, this book is rich--with beautifully haunting descriptions, poignant self-reflection, and interesting (surprising to me) details about the history of these islands and the culture and mores of their people. You can tell that the author of this prose memoir is a poet who took time crafting each sentence. As a reader, I was glad to spend time reading each sentence.
Apr 01, 2013 Tori rated it it was amazing
This was beautifully written and very interesting. I loved it.
Maureen Ellsworth
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Eleanor Stanford is the author of two poetry collections, Bartram's Garden and The Book of Sleep (Carnegie Mellon University Press) and a memoir, História, História: Two Years in the Cape Verde Islands (forthcoming from Chicago Center for Literature and Photography). Her poems and essays have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, The Harvard Review, The Georgia Review, The Massachusetts Review, Brain, ...more
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