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História, História: Two Years in the Cape Verde Islands

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  33 ratings  ·  18 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
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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 4 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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
Allison (The Book Wheel)
From The Book Wheel:

História História is a short memoir by Eleanor Stanford who, along with her husband, spent two years serving the Peace Corps in the Cape Verde Islands. Twenty-two and newly married, the Stanfords went looking for adventure in a place where the men were expected to be unfaithful, the women had children very young, and drinking water came from the river. An honest memoir, História História gives the reader a glimpse into the hardships that Peace Corps volunteers endure, as well
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
"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
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
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
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
An interesting look how immersion into a culture can change you, and your outlook towards life.
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
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.
This was beautifully written and very interesting. I loved it.
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Eleanor Stanford is the author of a poetry collection, 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, Child Magazine, and oth ...more
More about Eleanor Stanford...
The Book of Sleep

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