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A Life Inspired: Tales of Peace Corps Service

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  170 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Twenty-eight first-person stories, recount the unique experience of being a Peace Corps Volunteer. Compelling, inspiring, sometimes funny, often poignant, these stories represent the breadth of Peace Corps work, the countries it serves, and its Volunteer diversity. Together, the stories reflect the adventure, the cross-cultural exchange, the personal growth, and the deep f ...more
Paperback, 181 pages
Published December 31st 2005 by Peace Corps (U.S.)
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River Town by Peter HesslerMonique and the Mango Rains by Kris HollowayNine Hills to Nambonkaha by Sarah ErdmanDear Exile by Hilary LiftinLiving Poor by Moritz Thomsen
Best Peace Corps Books
39th out of 58 books — 52 voters
Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris HollowayLittle Princes by Conor GrennanNine Hills to Nambonkaha by Sarah ErdmanThe Unheard by Josh SwillerFirst Comes Love, then Comes Malaria by Eve Brown-Waite
Volunteers - Memoirs
37th out of 51 books — 8 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 372)
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May 02, 2012 SaraJane rated it liked it
Nice quick read and makes me want to travel!

Page 42:
"Extreme highs, extreme lows, dozens of them packed into each day. Always, among the saddest moments, a reminder of the joys that fill this world. I feel blessed for the ability to take it all in." Kelly Daniel

Page 56:
"I travel because I like to explore, I explore because I like to learn, I learn because I like to understand." Patrick Burns

Page 70:
"Babies get born, children grow up, marriages take place, people die. People fight, love each othe
Dec 29, 2015 Annie rated it liked it
I bought this book because I am strongly considering joining the Peace Corps after I graduate (give or take a few years where I maybe work off some of my college debt and get some valuable experience in the medical field). I think this sounds like a life-changing experience that would be very good for me, but I need to do more reading and thinking about the kind of person I want to be someday. And that, of course, is the reason I got this book.

The stories themselves were good, but very brief. Th
Jen Pierce
Jan 30, 2014 Jen Pierce rated it really liked it
I liked it. There are a couple duds, but it is a fast read with each story only a few pages long. I nearly joined the Peace Corp myself, after nursing school. Had the application filled out. Reading these stories made me wonder what I missed, who I'd be now. I don't regret the decision to marry instead (obviously!), but it was a little bitter sweet to read these adventures.
I don't have much by way of a review for this (mixed bag, as one might expect) -- but a bit of a surprise to get most of the way through a book and realise that you know one of the contributors!
Ricky Kresslein
Jan 05, 2016 Ricky Kresslein rated it really liked it
Excellent compilation of essays that accurately explain the excitement, trials, depressions, anxieties, amazement, wonder, and joy that Peace Corps service is.
Jamie Howerton
Jun 10, 2014 Jamie Howerton rated it it was ok
Some of the stories were heartwarming, but overall they were kind of boring and the authors didn't seem very humble.
Beth Dillon
Feb 09, 2013 Beth Dillon rated it liked it
A quick and easy read. I liked the format - a compilation of stories from Peace Corps volunteers throughout the world. The diversity of their stories was fun and although most of them mentioned the "lows" associated with service, not many of them really dwelled on it (a possible negative of the book - not a totally realistic depiction?). As someone who is waiting for even the smallest bit of news from the placement office, I felt like this book helped satisfy my need for knowledge and reinforce ...more
Dec 06, 2011 Christopher rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography-memoir
A very good book on the life and experiences of Peace Corps members. Really it is a collection of stories from a wide spectrum of former Peace Corps members. The book, which is printed by the government, is meant as a recruiting tool for the Peace Corps, so all of the stories show the rewards of service and down-play the difficulties. Despite this, some of the stories are written very well and you hope to see them expanded into books. Others are just okay. Overall, though, a fine book on the lif ...more
This is a selection of short essays written by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. It was produced by Peace Corps to use as a recruiting tool but the stories are interesting and entertaining. I especially loved the story, "Women Can Learn Things, Too" written by Amber B. Davis-Collins who served in Honduras from 2002 to 2004. As an RPCV (Philippines-'70-'74) I love reading what other volunteers did during their time as volunteers.
Mar 11, 2008 David rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: dumb college kids
Shelves: peace-corps
Honestly, not as horrible as I thought it would be. As a source of inspiration for people to join it is as poor and sacharine as you would expect. The Peace Corps is all about sustainable development, but this book offers little of that and more about how volunteers felt warm and fuzzy about relationships they made with locals.

I did enjoy the passages that had a descriptive value, like a travel journal.
Faythe Swanson
Feb 14, 2012 Faythe Swanson rated it really liked it
I've been curious about the Peace Corps for several yrs., & this book gave me an idea as to what it's like. I loved how inspiring it was, & it also had some funny moments, too! I admire those who volunteer (don't think I could do it!). This book makes me want to do something meaningful with my life & to make a difference somehow.
Sep 07, 2011 Dale rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely a good book to pick up if you are planning on applying for the Peace Corps. It is clearly a bit of propaganda recruiting material and some of the authors are certainly better than others, but it gives you a good idea of the conditions and accomplishments that can be achieved as a volunteer.
Apr 29, 2009 Ashlie rated it really liked it
This book is getting me excited and ready for my peace corps adventure! Some stories seemed a little phony (some PVC's getting a little 'writing happy' and making a story out of fact). But either way the stories are all inspiring. I hope my service is as great as theirs!
Jul 23, 2007 Illyria rated it it was amazing
Well, I should probably write a review about this one! This is a short collection of essays from various Peace Corps volunteers. I finished it in a day and it helped solidify my decision to serve. I like the title, a life inspired has a nice ring to it.
Amber Blatt
Jan 09, 2011 Amber Blatt rated it it was amazing
I was excited about joining the Peace Corps and this book brings out some of the best and worst things that have happened to volunteers. All of the stories end with the volunteer happy they served, so it just makes me feel a little less stressed!
Ryan Philbrick
Jan 07, 2013 Ryan Philbrick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hmmmm
These stories are simply amazing. Makes me question what I am doing with my life. Read this book again, portsmouth library 361.6 L722.
Michal Wigal
Basically a propaganda book for Peace Corps. I enjoyed the stories, though. I just hope I get to go.
Aug 04, 2011 Alyssa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
This book made me want to leave with thePeace Corps's awesome!
May 19, 2013 Lillian rated it liked it
A quick and inspiring read
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