Expeditionary Diplomacy

The otherwise respectable American Diplomacy, which publishes 'Foreign Service Despatches and Periodic Reports on U.S. Foreign Policy,' included my review  of of Ambassador James R. Bullington's Foreign Service Memoir, The Road Less Traveled, in the latest lineup. The memoir recounts a career that started in expeditionary diplomacy for the State Department during the U.S. military … Continue reading Expeditionary Diplomacy

D. W. Hitman

Warning: the reading police, disguised as the media, have infiltrated the State Department. Based on a stroll through the Harry Truman building cafeteria, one journalist for The Atlantic pretends to understand our present condition: “As the staffer and I walked among the tables and chairs, people with badges chatted over coffee; one was reading his Kindle.” Forgive me for … Continue reading D. W. Hitman

From Blogs to Books

I surprised a colleague yesterday with the news that his book would be published today. Ironically the title of the work is Answer Coming Soon. The author, Dan Whitman, believes his books should be left behind on commercial airlines for the next passenger to come along and read. That humble disposition toward his work is exactly what makes his … Continue reading From Blogs to Books

Avery Dick Disappoints

I had high hopes for the Avery Dick series. Diplomatic Security (DS) Agents have some of the most colorful stories in the Foreign Service trade. They walk like cops. They talk like cops. They’re security professionals steeped the gritty detail of protective service. Their beat is peculiar: sniff out bombs and throw up barricades; investigate … Continue reading Avery Dick Disappoints

Short Fiction–Swimming

Peace Corps Worldwide carried the following review of Karl Luntta's Swimming from SUNY press. One thing is certain for foreigners at work in much of Africa: the proverbs can be as colorful as they are vague, utilitarian as they are vexing. The truth can emerge—or remain obscured—with a single phrase. Truth, in these proverbs, lies in the … Continue reading Short Fiction–Swimming

Dundee International Book Prize

Two weeks until the February 15th deadline for submitting your manuscript to this year's Dundee International Book Prize. Curious about what floats their boat? Read last year's shortlisted works: My manuscript Sea Never Dry, thick with crooked cops, fetish priests, Internet fraudsters, and orphans turning a buck off a West African e-waste dump, made last year's cut. Read the excerpt below. Now, … Continue reading Dundee International Book Prize

Peace Corps Retrospective

A compilation of posts recalling my Peace Corps service in Malawi (1996-1998). Crossing Paths with Paul Theroux in Malawi I’ve always felt a strong connection Paul Theroux, due largely to our shared legacy as Peace Corps Volunteers in Malawi. When I expressed reluctance about taking an assignment teaching English there in the 90s, the recruiter suggested I read My Secret … Continue reading Peace Corps Retrospective

Crossing Paths with Paul Theroux in Malawi

I’ve always felt a strong connection to Paul Theroux, due largely to our shared legacy as Peace Corps Volunteers in Malawi. When I expressed reluctance about taking an assignment teaching English there in the '90s, the recruiter suggested I read My Secret History, part of which was inspired by Theroux’s experience as an English teacher in Malawi in … Continue reading Crossing Paths with Paul Theroux in Malawi

CURRY PATTA, JUNGLE OATS, AND PEACE CORPS

My wife keeps a curry plant to flavor her beautiful Indian cooking. Our boys have taken to snapping off the greenest leaves and eating them raw. Their chewing fills the air with a sharp, fresh scent. Yesterday, the plant was brought indoors—frost—to spend the night on our low kitchen table. When the boys found it … Continue reading CURRY PATTA, JUNGLE OATS, AND PEACE CORPS

CURRY PATTA, JUNGLE OATS, AND PEACE CORPS

My wife keeps a curry plant to flavor her beautiful Indian cooking. Our boys have taken to snapping off the greenest leaves and eating them raw. Their chewing fills the air with a sharp, fresh scent. Yesterday, the plant was brought indoors—frost—to spend the night on our low kitchen table. When the boys found it … Continue reading CURRY PATTA, JUNGLE OATS, AND PEACE CORPS