Bibliography – Memoirs

Addleton, Jonathan S. (2002). Some Far and Distant Place. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.

ISBN: 978-0820318585

Released for the first time in paperback, this memoir by Ambassador Jonathan Addleton offers a unique perspective on the Muslim-Christian interaction that has come to center stage in today’s world.

Born in Muree, a small hill station in Pakistan overlooking Kashmir, of Baptist missionary parents from rural Georgia, the author grew up at the intersection of different religions, races, classes and cultures. His vivid portrayal of his experiences coming of age in the 1960s in a faraway land provide many insights into the wonder of a child’s world, into both Christianity and Islam, and into the broader cultural ethos of Pakistan as well.

Addleton, Jonathan S. (2016). The Dust of Kandahar: A Diplomat among Warriors in Afghanistan. Naval Institute Press.

After serving as senior civilian representative to southern Afghanistan in wartorn Kandahar from 2012 to 2014, Jonathan Addleton was forever changed by both the intense violence and rich cultural interaction he experienced there. In The Dust of Kandahar he recounts and reflects on this experience. This moving account—which includes his experience of surviving a Taliban bomb that killed two of his Foreign Service colleagues—is a courageous testament to the work of the men and women of the Foreign Service. Addleton tells about his life in Afghanistan, attending the Purple Heart ceremonies for soldiers, conversing with Afghan citizens and living behind barbed wire fences. Even after returning home, Addleton says, he never quite left Afghanistan behind, and his memoir explains why. An emotionally stirring and dramatic read, this memoir will put into perspective the work of the Foreign Service on the ground in dangerous environments.

Jonathan S. Addleton, a career USAID FSO, was U.S. ambassador to Mongolia from 2009 to 2012 and USAID country director there from 2001 to 2004. He received the Polar Star, Mongolia’s highest honor for foreign civilians, in 2012 for his work in strengthening ties between the United States and Mongolia. Amb. Addleton was until 2017 USAID/India Mission Director and has previously served as USAID mission director in India, Pakistan, Cambodia, Mongolia and Central Asia. He is the 2014 recipient of AFSA’s Christian A. Herter Award for Constructive Dissent by a Senior Foreign Service Officer.

Anderson, Pamela Joy (2014). You are the Needle and I am the Thread. Westbow Press.

ISBN:978-1-4908-3914 (softcover) and 978-1-4908-3913-4 (e-book).

Part memoir, part faith journey – the stories in You Are the Needle and I Am the Thread span 25 years of a Foreign Service family’s life as they live and work in Pakistan, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, as well as Washington, D.C. They detail the joys and challenges of raising children overseas, the fears preceding the outbreak of The Gulf War and evacuation, and the frustration of separation when Pamela’s husband is sent to Afghanistan.  The book chronicles Pamela and her husband’s journey as they seek to follow God’s will, from their early decision to join USAID to retirement and beyond. The stories, many of which were published in The Foreign Service Journal, recount the serendipity of life in the developing world.  Walk in the footsteps of Moses, Alexander the Great, and Genghis Khan; explore bazaars, like the Khan el Khalili in Cairo, trail tigers in the Sundarbans in Bangladesh; and stumble over cultural pitfalls while interacting with the locals and conducting business where life is anything but normal.  Discover, like Pamela, that home is where the United States Government sends you.

Pamela Anderson followed her Foreign Service husband to four Islamic countries, where she taught English writing skills overseas. She studied six languages and focused on intercultural communication-both instrumental to her cultural adjustment as a Christian in the Islamic world. Currently retired, Pamela and her husband live in Lacey, Washington.

Atwood, Mary. (2011). I Drank My Tea: Family Adventures in Kyrgyzstan. Charleston, SC: CreateSpace.

ISBN: 978-1453885772

(USAID Spouse) Mary and Tracy Atwood moved with their three teenage children to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in the fall of 1999. This memoir describes the joys and challenges of expatriate family life in Kyrgyzstan. Formal education had to continue in some way, and new languages had to be learned. A few hardships had to be endured, but they were largely overshadowed by the opportunity to know people of two different cultures. Go with the family as they are guests in various Kyrgyz and Russian homes. Sleep in a yurt. Eat and drink the specialties of the area. Learn about life in beautiful, exotic, remote Central Asia, Mary Atwood married into the Foreign Service in 1981 and has since lived with her husband, Tracy, in Sanaa, Yemen (1981-1986), Bamako, Mali (1987-1991), Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (1999-1003), and Harare, Zimbabwe (2003-2005). The mother of three, her professional background is in Waldorf education. Now retired to Falls Village, Connecticut, she reads, writes, and looks forward to more travel adventures. This is her first book.

Bassford, Hank (2023) Ordinary Man, Extraordinary Journey. Self-published.

ISBN 979-8-9878936-0-9.

This memoir provides a personal glimpse of Hank Bassford’s adventures as a Peace Corps volunteer in India followed by a 26 year career as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S, Agency for International Development, and highlights the challenges as well as the personal satisfaction international development can bring. Through a series of vignettes, whether humorous, educational, sad, or tragic, he illustrates the successes, failures, dangers and the excitement of life abroad. Not discounting the difficulties of raising a family in politically unstable countries where civil unrest is prevalent, he underscores the enormous benefits of living and working in different socio/economic settings. He writes “While my memoir embraces the ordinary of who I am as a human being, I believe that something intrinsic enabled me to meet new challenges, explore new horizons and take risks that others would not entertain. This passion for purposeful living is what I believe has transformed my life journey from ordinary to extraordinary. Ordinary is life by default, extraordinary is life by design. “The book is currently available on Amazon, both as a paperback for $16.99 and as an e-book on Kindle. If you subscribe to kindle, you can download a digital copy for $6.99, and if you subscribe to kindle unlimited, you can download the book for free. All royalties from the sale of this book will be used to support “Strength in Peers”, which is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization founded in 2015 by Mr. Bassford’s youngest daughter, Nicky Fadley, and serving northwestern Virginia.

Hank Bassford, a retired Career Minister, was mission director in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Egypt and was the Regional Coordinator of Baghdad for 5 months after the U.S. led 2003 invasion of Iraq. He and his wife Ceci are presently cruising the river and canal systems of France, Holland and Ireland.

Bingham, Jonathan Brewster (1953). Shirt-Sleeve Diplomacy: Point 4 in Action. John Day Co.

A “forthright book” about a new type of diplomacy where foreign service officers work directly with farmers and entrepreneurs in development countries. Mr. Bingham focuses a good deal on agriculture programs as part of Point 4. The book was reviewed very positively.

From 1951 to 1953 during the Truman administration Mr. Bingham was deputy administrator of the Technical Cooperation Administration.  He wrote a book about that experience, “Shirt-Sleeve Diplomacy: Point 4 in Action.” He later was U.S. representative to ECOSOC and then was elected to the House of Representatives for 9 terms representing a New York district from 1965-83. A reform democrat, he was a staunch supporter of congressional reform, foreign aid and similar programs and an equally strong critic of nuclear power and right-wing dictatorships,

Bleidner, James O. (2002). Point Four: Memories of a Foreign Service Officer. Eustis, FL: Power of One.

ISBN: 978-0972670623

James Bleidner joined the Foreign Service in 1956, after duty with an Air Force fighter squadron during World War II and several years managing a modern dairy farm for ARAMCO in Saudi Arabia. Bleidner, an agricultural scientist, recounts his experiences working to bring to fruition the “Point Four” vision of making the benefits of American science and industrial progress available to underdeveloped countries. His narrative takes us from an assignment with the then-International Cooperation Administration developing a livestock-raising and meat producing complex in the Bolivian highlands, to a tour as acting chief of the Agriculture and Rural Development Division of USAID in Colombia, and on to Chile, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Sudan, and finally retirement in Florida. Insights into South American politics, traditions and problems of development are interspersed with family anecdotes and postretirement adventures. The other half of this story can be found in Alligators On My Roof (Vantage Books, 2002), a memoir by Mr. Bleidner’s late wife Marjory.  To purchase this book, contact the author by e-mail:, or at 708 Leah Jean Lane, Winter Haven FL 33884-3198.

Bleidner, Marjery W. (2002). Alligators on My Roof: An Autobiography. New York, NY: Vantage Press.

ISBN: 978-0533138906

(USAID Spouse) “This is my wife’s autobiography. It is a memoir of a woman who wants to tell her children and grandchildren what the years of the Great Depression and World War II were like for those of us who lived through these times. The story appeals to a wider audience interested in unusual family lives. The joys and problems of living in the various cultures of Saudi Arabia and most of the countries of South and Central America should be interesting for many readers. The story provides insights into the personal side of our country’s program of assistance to developing countries.” James Bleidner review for Amazon.

Bourquein, Rae 2021.Our Foreign Service Adventure Would Be a Good Movie.

Independently published.

ISBN-13. 979-8727110966.  E-book available.

This memoir, written with “wry wit”, starts by stating that such a life is “not possible anymore” as the author travels from the 1960s to the 1980s with her USAID officer spouse, Bob Bourquein to Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kenya, Sudan and the Philippines. It is full of details about Foreign Service life all those decades ago including adopting children. It provides the “human side of foreign service life – excitement, joy, fear, and enthusiasm to live and adjust to different cultures.

Rae Bouquein’s husband, Bob Bourquein, served with USAID, the GAO and the World Bank in Tokyo, Lahore, Dhaka, Jakarta, Nairobi, Khartoum and with IRRI in Los Banos, Philippines. Rae taught elementary school and held other interesting jobs overseas. They now live in Lakeland, Florida.

Brems, Susan K and Fred G. (2024). Another Brazil Heard From: Voices and Insights from the Brazilian Countryside.

Olympia Publishers (London). ISBN: 978-1-78830-237-1.  Available from:  Amazon and publisher

In this captivating contemporary account, Susan and Fred Brems offer insightful perspective into a little-known enclave of Northeast Brazil in the state of Ceará. Through a series of letters penned over the 17 months they spent in the back country during 1989 and 1990, they describe their work and life, Susan as a researcher on fertility and health among rural women and Fred as a high-school teacher and mentor.

The intimate and anecdotal letters shine a comprehensive light on the socioeconomic and political landscape of Brazil in the early 1990s; the everyday lives and struggles of the people who lived and worked there; and the Brems couple’s own experiences as residents of such a community. The stark differences between Northeast Brazilian and American cultures are illustrated with deference, humor and more than a touch of self-reflection, a read both fascinating and educational. Reviews are very positive, especially regarding the reality of the use of patronage in poor regions.

Susan Brems had a 25-year career as a Foreign Service Officer with USAID, 10 years as a health officer and 15 years in senior management. She served as Mission Director or Deputy Mission Director in five countries (including Lima. La Paz, Managua and Manila) and as DAA in the Bureau for Global Health. Fred Brems accompanied Susan on her foreign service career. He has a B.S from Georgetown University and a M.A. from the University of Maryland.

Brems, Fred C. with Fred G. Brems. (Jan. 1, 2024) Knights of Freedom: With the Hell on Wheels Armored Division in World War II, A Story in Photos. 


Stackpole Books. ISBN 0811773760

In 1941, six months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the author’s father—also named Fred Brems—was drafted into the U.S. Army and served as a tanker with the 2nd Armored Division, eventually rising to command a platoon and then a company of Sherman tanks. One of the most renowned units in American military history, the 2nd served in North Africa, Sicily, and Europe and fought in celebrated engagements including Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge, and the Rhine campaign. Brems photographed it all. Through over 600 photos, many never before published, supplemented by firsthand accounts from Brems, Knights of Freedom follows the 2nd Armored through some of the toughest fighting of World War II. It is a visual feast depicting American tank combat as it has never been seen before. Along the way, he took more than 600 photos, and when he returned home after the war, he shared the stories behind the photos with his son.

The younger Fred Brems became a student of military history who never forgot his father’s stories or photos. He embarked on a project to digitally scan and enlarge the photos, and eventually decided to compile the digitized photos, as well as his dad’s stories, into a book. Students of World War II military history and fans of old photography will find a new and personal look at the era within the book’s pages.  Fred G. Brems is the spouse of retired USAID FSO Susan Brems. He and his spouse served in Lima, La Paz, Managua, and Manila. He has an M.A. from the University of Maryland and a B.S. from Georgetown University.

Brown, Clifford (2021) Dilettante: Tales from how a Small Town Boy Became a Diplomat Managing U.S. Foreign Assistance.

Dorrance Publishing Co. ISIN: B097SRCT4T. 

This book is a memoir of a small-town American kid who worked on farms, tugboats, railroads, ran away to sea, finally finished college, went to law school, became a partner in a Beverly Hills law firm and then gave up a lucrative career to join USAID. It is filled with American country and laborer philosophy, served with a health dose of juvenility and plain old fun. Clifford Brown says he wrote this mainly for his kids, and he has never really promoted it. It is his own story that eventually led to the Senior Foreign Service and Mission Director positions. He chose the title “Dilettante” because, after he moved into management, USAID allowed him to think primarily about whatever topic he wanted to think about: He felt like a dabbler in 100’s of different fields, like taxation, primary education, health, water systems, cacao growing, legislative processes, criminal law systems, disaster preparedness, and corruption.

Clifford Brown served with USAID for 27 years in eleven countries after being a partner in the law firm of Ervin, Cohen & Jessup. Fluent in Spanish, Russian and French, he was later one of the founders of My Friends Place, the first licensed shelter for homeless teenagers in Southeastern Washington State- which has a 100%, Four-Star rating from Charity Navigator.

Bruce, David Kirkpatrick Este. (1939). Revolution to Reconstruction. Doubleday, Doran & Co.


Bruce’s only book, it is a history of the first 16 U.S. presidents.  David Bruce was an American diplomat, intelligence officer and politician. He served as Ambassador to France, the Republic of Germany, and the United Kingdom, the only American to be all three. During World War II, he headed the Europe branch of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which was based in London and coordinated espionage activities behind enemy lines for the United States Armed Forces branches

After leaving the OSS at the end of World War Two, and before entering the diplomatic field, in 1948-1949 David Bruce was with the Economic Cooperation Administration which administered the Marshall Plan. He was chief of the ECA mission in France in 1948. “Perhaps his greatest achievement was the role he played in the post-World War II years when he was variously described as an “apostle” or “a zealot” in the European unity movement, a close ally of France’s Jean Monnet.” (WPost Obituary).

Buchanan, Thompson. (2011). Mossy Memoir of a Rolling Stone. Washington, DC: New Academia Publishing.

ISBN: 978-0983689942

“Russian cab drivers, Tsarist palaces, Kremlin leaders, Foggy Bottom and the African jungle—they are all here in Tom Buchanan’s witty and fast-paced memoir of a fascinating life in the Foreign Service,” says retired Ambassador Edward Hurwitz. In Mossy Memoir of a Rolling Stone, Russia expert and Foreign Service officer Thomas Buchanan reflects on his career in the Soviet Union and Africa and his childhood, education and service in World War II with charming style. His service in Moscow coincided with the Cuban Missile Crisis and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. During the latter incident, he witnessed the amazement of Russians that such an egregious act could occur in the land of the free. He offers insightful commentary on cultural differences while highlighting somber truths about the disastrous Soviet tourism failures and the crises in the agricultural and most other economic sectors. His memoir, which is a volume in the ADST Memoirs and Occasional Papers series, is at once informative and enthralling as readers get a glimpse of one man’s part of U.S. foreign policy history. Thomas Buchanan joined the State Department in 1948 as an intelligence specialist on the Soviet Union and entered the Foreign Service seven years later. He has served overseas in Paris, Moscow, Bujumbura, Libreville, Oslo and Leningrad. Since his 1981 retirement, he has periodically worked for State and USAID.

Carter, Theodore B. (Ted), 2021. On the Front Lines of America’s Foreign Assistance:  From Seoul to Cairo;  The Caribbean to the Khyber — A Memoir of the Cold War Adventures of a Foreign Service Lawyer.  Palmetto Publishing, Charleston, S.C.

ISBN:  not currently available

Ted Carter says this is a “career chronicle”, not an autobiography, and describes what the foreign service life was like and what his family went through from the point of view of a regional legal advisor. These were the years of the Cold War when USAID was assisting developing countries all over the globe to sustain and build their economies. Carter served in some of USAID’s largest missions  – Korea, Cairo (2 tours), Pakistan, and the Caribbean during the Caribbean Basin Initiative and Grenada years as well as in the Washington General Counsel Office. His retirement in 1993 almost exactly coincided with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Ted Carter grew up in New England, fascinated with travel. He joined the USAID General Counsel office in 1965 and served with USAID for 30 years. He now lives in Reston, Virginia with his wife Ginny and is fortunate to have their children and seven grandchildren living close by. He has carried out several  post-Foreign Service consultancies, including extended assignment to Moscow, Cairo, Mozambique, Botswana and the West Bank. In 2001 he returned to USAID direct hire status to serve as special legal consultant for the Afghan Emergency Program after the 9-11 attacks.

Dammann, Nancy. (2003). My 17 Years With USAID: the Good and the Bad. Plantation, FL: Llumina Press.

ISBN: 978-1932047905

Nancy Dammann spent 17 years with USAID as a Communications Media Advisor in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. In her efforts to improve agriculture and health habits, she learned much about human need and human suffering.

Dammarell, Anne. (2014). A Conversation with Anne Dammarell. Bloomington, IN: Xlibris.

ISBN: 978-1499048766

On April 18, 1963, a truck loaded with 2,000 pounds of military-grade explosives drove into the front door of Embassy Beirut, killing 63 people, among them 17 Americans. The nascent Iranian-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah had begun its campaign against the United States, as USAID FSO Anne Dammarell would later recount in a paper for her master’s degree at Georgetown University. In this volume in the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training’s Diplomatic Oral History Series, Dammarell talks about her life, her family and her experience in the Foreign Service, including her survival of the first suicide attack on an American embassy. Anne Dammarell joined the U.S. Agency for International Development, in 1965 serving in Lebanon, Sri Lanka and Washington, D.C., among other postings during a 23-year diplomatic career. After retiring in 1988, Dammarell taught English at the Coptic Catholic Seminar in Cairo for three years, and then in Washington, D.C., at the Sitar Center for the Arts and at the Sacred Heart School. She received her M.A. from Georgetown University in Middle East studies. More recently, she and her sister, Elizabeth, have been teaching Buddhist monks for three months a year at Wat Worachanyawat in Bangkok.

Dillard, Michael. 2021. Accidental Success: Accidental Millionaire Retirement. Self Published.


Dillard calls himself an “accidental diplomat” after enlisting in the U.S. Army translated into his practice of “falling forward” from several jobs before landing on his feet with USAID. This motivational guidebook includes recommendations for developing a Vision Plan and guidance for building lifelong financial stability.

Michael Dillard is a trainer and financial controller with USAID’s Africa Bureau. From humble beginnings, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, and has served with USAID in the Dominican Republic, Zambia, Afghanistan, the DRC and South Africa. He is also the author of Build Generational Wealth: Retire Early (2022) and Achieve Your Goals (2021).

Ehlers, Joseph Henry (1966), Far Horizons: The Travel Diary of an Engineer. Carleton press.

No information available about the book.

Chief inspector for Modjeski & Angier, Pittsburgh, 1919;professor structural engineering, Pei Yang U., China, 1920-1924;construction engineer, Asia Development Company on diversion of Yellow River, 1923;United States trade commissioner on earthquake reconstruction and technical development of Japan, 1926-1930;acting commercial attache American embassy, Tokyo, 1929;technical director, National Conference on Construction, Washington, 1931-1933;assistant to deputy administrator, Federal Emergency Administration Public Works, Washington, 1933-1938;chief consultant engineering division, Federal Works Agency (War Public Works Program), 1942-1946; construction engineering, attorney, Washington, 1946-1988;executive director, National Conference on Public Works, 1955-1956;sanitary engineering director, United States Public Health Service Reserve Corps retired, United States Public Health Service Reserve Corps. Assistant commissioner technical services Urban Renewal Administration, Washington, 1955-1958. Housing coordinator International Cooperation Administration, Yemen, 1960-1961. Consultant United Nations, 1962-1963. Technical adviser Government of Iraq Ministry Works at Baghdad.

Evans, Gordon and Barbara Evans. (2005). Bed & Breakfast Journey — A Lifetime of Goodbyes. Traverse City, MI: Village Press, Inc.

ISBN: 978-0977197903

Barbara and Gordon Evans explain the philosophy, process and technique of opening and running this type of small enterprise, and relate their career experiences to all six B&B rooms and the library.

Gordon Evans joined ICA and served 5 years in Pakistan in 1958  He later served in Ghana, Nigeria, India, was Liaison to the United Nations and Sahel program deputy director before his final assignment in Abidjan (1978082) as Regional Office Director.

Fenley, John M. (2003). Living with Multiple Sclerosis: A Caregiver’s Story. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, Inc. ISBN: 978-0595283835

The author’s early training in life coincided with the Great Depression, from the late 1920s into the first years of the 1940s. Moving frequently to earn a living, becoming a Mr. Fix-it for his family, and forced to be financially independent, he credits this experience with preparing him for his later professional work as an agricultural scientist with the U.S. Foreign Service as well as for his unofficial labor as the primary caregiver for the last 44 years of his wife Eileen’s life as a multiple sclerosis patient. This book is full of insights and inspiration for every full-time caregiver.

Fenley, John M. (2005). My Highway of Life Had Many Detours: Worldwide Adventures. Bloomington, IN: Xlibris.

ISBN: 978-1413490077

This memoir is a collection of 84 stories depicting episodes and experiences in a life lived in many parts of the U.S. and around the world. Full of lively detail, the stories often provide humorous insight into life and diplomacy; the stories on ants encountered in Africa and one titled “Is a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich a Cross-cultural Affair?” are exemplary. Not simply an exercise in recollection, however, the author has written to set the record straight for his own conscience. Accordingly, each story is accompanied by a reflective afterthought. The book is well-organized, with the stories grouped in four parts: youth, Nevada, Africa and in-between.

Flumo, J. Marsilius. (2021) A Son’s Promise:  A Memoir of Perseverance from Liberia to America.


Bitterroot Mountain Publishing. ISBN: 9781940025537.


Marsilius Flumo’s memoir is a tribute to his mother, whom he credits with pushing him to a successful future even though it required numerous sacrifices on her part. Flumo writes of his upbringing in rural Liberia and of the tragedies that marked the lives of his parents and grandparents, including the murder of his grandfather at the hands of vengeful villagers.

The book offers a view into tribal relationships, beliefs, and conflicts. Flumo’s mother finds a way to send him to a private Catholic school to pursue his education, changing his trajectory for the better. From there he goes to the University of Liberia, where he experiences discrimination because of his status as an indigenous “country boy.” Flumo eventually finds work with USAID in Monrovia, escapes Liberia during the civil war in 1990, and ultimately becomes a U.S. citizen.  In return, his mother asked her young son to write of her agony and quest for children. This deeply moving memoir of hope, love, and overcoming is the fulfillment of Marsilius’s promise to his mother.

J. Marsilius Flumo teaches at John R. Rogers High School in Spokane, Washington. He worked with USAID in Monrovia (perhaps as an FSN) from 1989 to 1990. He has a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Gonzaga University.

Garms, David J (2015). With the Dragon’s Children. FriesenPress. Vancouver, Canada. 978-1-4602-0927-1.

With the Dragon’s Children is a second edition non-fiction account of David Garms’s assignment as a Vietcong amnesty (Chieu Hoi) adviser in Go Cong province in Vietnam’s Delta region. This second edition draws heavily on recently declassified material. During 1967 – 1968 the author was assigned to a U.S. Military, Intelligence and Civil Operations Advisory Team in Go Cong. The author advised the Chief Hoi Provincial Chief on developing propaganda messages for the Vietcong, facilitating their return, their “re-education,” vocational training and resettlement. The book describes the overall operations of the Chieu Hoi program and why some Vietnamese joined the Vietcong, why they decided to “return”, and their goals and aspirations for the future. The author learned to speak fluent Vietnamese and got to know more than 1,000 returnees. The book offers a reliable retrospective on the war and understanding and appreciating Vietnam’s legends, rich culture, traditions and history. With the Dragon’s Children provides insight into a time and place that was far too often overlooked, misunderstood and clichéd. With the Dragon’s Children is the only book written about the U.S. supported amnesty (Chieu Hoi) program for the Vietcong.

David Garms served in India with the Peace Corps and with USAID in Vietnam, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Malawi, Sri Lanka, Washington D.C. and Italy. He currently lives in the Shenendoah Valley and is an amateur civil war historian.

Goodwin, Hope Gander (2018). Tales of Travel, Love and Survival in the Foreign Service. Page Publishing.


Hope Goodwin was a farm girl in the Midwest determined to become a missionary nun, when Joe, her future husband, swept her off her feet. He convinced her that she could still carry out God’s work as a married woman. They had planned to finish college and join the Peace Corp, but before long, Hope was pregnant. By the time Joe completed his degree and they were assigned to Africa working for the US Agency for International Development. It was the beginning of some forty-six years of globe-trotting. Sometime in those early year, Hope had caught the bug. It’s this insatiable desire to see the world Despite the many hardships, aggravation, and danger, she carried on, raising six children, earning her college degree and job sharing with her husband as they worked to improve the lives of people in developing countries around the world. This book is a heart-warming tale of one woman’s journey, which still hasn’t ended.Living and working in twenty developing countries is no small challenge, especially when six children are involved in every move and transition. As Tales of Travel, Love, and Survival in the Foreign Service reveals, Hope Gander Goodwin proved to be up to the task during forty-five years of being an inspiration and active partner to her husband, Joe, whose foreign service career included the United States Agency for International Development, university contracts, and private sector positions in economic development. Tours of duty were in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Central and South America. The Goodwin family endured many sacrifices and experienced dangerous situations. On the other hand, the benefits derived far outweigh the negative side of life abroad. Helping those in need to help themselves is a gift and a blessing. While attempting to sincerely make a difference in the world, their accomplishments far exceed disappointments. These parents are most proud of their legacy in producing compassionate, productive, broad-minded world citizens. Diplomacy, endless love, strength, and survival prevail in this inspiring autobiography.

Hacker, Michael. (2016). Far Away Places. Book Arts.

ISBN: 978-0-9973792-0-4.

The impetus for this autobiography by retired USAID Senior Foreign Service Officer Michael Hacker began in 2006 when the diplomat-turned-history teacher was on his daily three mile run. The thought occurred to him that he didn’t know how his late parents had met, what their political beliefs were, and how they coped to provide for him and his siblings during the last years of the Great Depression and during World War II. Thus began his quest to uncover the story of his ancestors and to write his own life’s story.  Hacker’s extensive research in pursuit of his family history, and his realization that he didn’t want his three grandchildren to face the same lack of knowledge about his life and career, culminated in this thorough, well-documented, limited edition volume. Blending key domestic and international historical events with the author’s life, the book’s narrative is supplemented with an eight-page index and a sixteen-page center section of photographs and documents from Hacker’s life and work. Far Away Places was printed and bound by the Book Arts Conservatory in Washington, D.C. The initial print run of 100 was reserved for family members, colleagues, and select libraries. An e-book version is expected in early 2017.

Michael Hacker was born in Springfield, Missouri, in 1938. He served in the U.S. Navy aboard destroyers in the Seventh Fleet from 1956 to 1959, and later served two years with the Peace Corps in Bolivia from 1962 to 1964. The lion’s share of Hacker’s book details his years with the Navy, the Peace Corps, and USAID. Hacker joined the Foreign Service in 1967 and served two tours each in Vietnam, the Philippines, Ecuador, Panama, and one in Bolivia—25 years after his Peace Corps Service in the same country. A noteworthy comment on this assignment is that Hacker, David Greenlee (the DCM), and the Ambassador, Robert Gelbard, all had served in Bolivia as Peace Corps Volunteers. In addition to his overseas postings, Hacker served one tour in AID/W in the mid-1970s as Special Assistant to the AA/LAC, and another tour fifteen years later detailed to the U.S. Senate and U.S. House as a Congressional Fellow. Hacker retired in 1997 after 30 years of government service. His FSI-certified foreign languages are Spanish and Vietnamese. He and his wife, Patricia, reside in Coconut Grove, Florida.

Henn , Carl William, My Two Centuries in Africa: How a Funny-Looking Kid from Indiana Wound Up on an Endless African Adventure (2022).

Kindle eBooks. ASIN#B09QDS1N9J.

My Two Centuries in Africa is a humorous new kind of book about Africa. It’s a travel book, a memoir, and an exposé. It’s got adventure, and a peek into the daily lives of a billion people. It’s an emotional roller-coaster of excitement, danger, love, loss, and salvation. It’s an effort to debunk racist nonsense perpetrated by White authors over the past 300 years. Curious about foreign aid, espionage, and Western interference? This book exposes the madness.
Are you a misfit, like me? This ls about how one of your own went to Africa – and found himself. It’s a story of a funny-looking kid from Indiana who spent two centuries in Africa, and survived.

Carl William Henn is a global health professional, with 40 years of experience in Africa. He has focused primarily on the HIV/AIDS epidemic and malaria. He first joined USAID in 1999 and served in Harare, Zimbabwe as a Population, Health and Nutrition Officer.. His next USAID posting was in Zambia from 2004-2009, working on PEPFAR programs as a senior HIV/AIDS Advisor. He was hired as a PSC, but after two years at post, was offered and accepted, a conversion to Foreign Service Limited (FSL) status. His final USAID post was Burundi in 2018-19 as HIV Team Lead (an institutional contractor).

Mr. Henn has worked all over Africa, starting in North Africa (Morocco) in the 1980s as a Peace Corps volunteer in Marrakesh. Mr. Henn next worked in West Africa (Burkina Faso) in the 1990s with Catholic Relief Services, and later with Save the Children, Plan International, and with RTI, based in Kenya, managing malaria prevention in 12 countries.

Hickson, Joanne L. (2005). War Whispers in the Wind. Self Published.

War Whispers in the Wind is a heartfelt and wistful memoir of Joann LaMorder Hickson’s life overseas as a Foreign Service spouse and mother of three sons. Written in the form of short and simple vignettes, this book uses colorful language, metaphorical descriptions and dreamlike illustrations to remind readers of the beautiful yet transitory nature of the Foreign Service life. Despite the childlike narrative form, the author introduces the realities of political strife through the pervading refrain, “war whispers in the wind.” Anyone who has experienced any of the 20 countries Hickson has resided in will surely appreciate her artistry. The book can be ordered by contacting the author directly, either by e-mail at or by phone at (352) 382-3188.

Huddleston, Vicky (2018). Our Woman in Havana: A Diplomat’s Chronicle of America’s Long Struggle with Castro’s Cuba. The Overlook Press.

ISBN 13: 978-1-4683-1579-0

Our Woman in Havana chronicles the past several decades of US-Cuba relations from the bird’s-eye view of State Department veteran and longtime Cuba hand Vicki Huddleston, our top diplomat in Havana under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush.

After the US embassy in Havana was closed in 1961, relations between the two countries broke off. A thaw came in 1977, with the opening of a de facto embassy in Havana, the US Interests Section, where Huddleston would later serve. In her compelling memoir of a diplomat at work, she tells gripping stories of face-to-face encounters with Fidel Castro and the initiatives she undertook, like the transistor radios she furnished to ordinary Cubans. With inside accounts of many dramatic episodes, like the tumultuous Elián González custody battle, Huddleston also evokes the charm of the island country, and her warm affection for the Cuban people.

Uniquely qualified to explain the inner workings of US-Cuba relations, Huddleston examines the Obama administration’s diplomatic opening of 2014, the mysterious “sonic” brain and hearing injuries suffered by US and Canadian diplomats who were serving in Havana, and the rescinding of the diplomatic opening under the Trump administration.

Huddleston recounts missed opportunities for détente, and the myths, misconceptions, and lies that have long pervaded US-Cuba relations. With Raúl Castro scheduled to step down in 2018, she also peers into the future, when for the first time in more than six decades no one named Castro will be Cuba’s leader.

Our Woman in Havana is essential reading for everyone interested in Cuba, including the thousands of Americans visiting the island every year, observers who study the stormy relationship with our near neighbor, and policymakers navigating the nuances and challenges of the US-Cuba relationship.

Amb. Vicki Huddleston is the wife of former USAID public administration specialist, Robert (Bob) Huddleston.  Ambassador Huddleston is a retired career Senior Foreign Service Officer whose last assignment was as U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from June 2009 through December 2011. Before that she was Chargé d’Affaires ad interim to Ethiopia, United States Ambassador to Mali, Principal Officer of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and U.S. Ambassador to Madagascar. She was Chief of United States Interests Section in Havana from 1999–2002 and was earlier the Deputy and then the Coordinator of the Office of Cuban Affairs. Prior to joining the Department of Defense, she was a visiting scholar at Brookings Institution. She was Chief of Party for a USAID-funded capacity building project in Haiti from 2013-2015.

Ambassador Huddleston was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow on the staff of Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). She began her overseas career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru. She also worked for the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) in Peru and Brazil, where she met her husband, Bob Huddleston, a USAID/Brazil officer. Additional assignments as a career Foreign Service Officer include economic and consular officer in Sierra Leone, economic officer in Mali, Office of Mexican Affairs, and the Bureau of International Organization Affairs. Huddleston earned a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a BA from the University of Colorado. She has received U.S. Department of State awards, including a Distinguished Honor Award and a Presidential Meritorious Service Award. In 2008, she was a member of the Obama-Biden Transition Team for the U.S. Department of State. She is the co-author of “Learning to Salsa: New Steps in U.S.-Cuba Relations,” and opinion pieces in The New York TimesThe Miami Herald, and The Washington Post. She is a former commentator for NBC-Universal. She currently speaks and provides commentary on Cuba and Africa. Huddleston is currently a Consultant to the Transnational Strategy Group, within their Cuba Business Advisory Practice Group.[

Huddleston, Vicki and Carlos Pascual (2010). Learning to Salsa:  New Steps in U.S Cuba Relations.  Brookings Institution Press.

As longtime U.S. diplomats Vicki Huddleston and Carlos Pascual make painfully clear in their introduction, the United States is long overdue in rethinking its policy toward Cuba. This is a propitious time for such an undertaking—the combination of change within Cuba and in the Cuban American community creates the most significant opening for a reassessment of U.S. policy since Fidel Castro took control in 1959. To that end, Huddleston and Pascual convened opinion leaders in the Cuban American community, leading scholars, and international diplomats from diverse backgrounds and political orientations to seek common ground on U.S. policy toward Cuba. This pithy yet authoritative analysis is the result.

In the quest for ideas that would support the emergence of a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Cuba—one in which the Cuban people shape their political and economic future—the authors conducted a series of simulations to identify the critical factors that the U.S. government should consider as it reformulates its Cuba policies. The advisers’ wide-ranging expertise was applied to a series of hypothetical scenarios in which participants tested how different U.S. policy responses would affect a political transition in Cuba.

By modeling and analyzing the decisionmaking processes of the various strategic actors and stakeholders, the simulations identified factors that might influence the success or failure of specific policy options. They then projected how key actors such as the Cuban hierarchy, civil society, and the international and Cuban American communities might act and react to internal and external events that would logically be expected to occur in the near future.

The lessons drawn from these simulations led to the unanimous conclusion that the United States should adopt a proactive policy of critical and constructive engagement toward Cuba.

Co-author Carlos Pascual, Carlos Pascual (born 1959) is a Cuban-American diplomat and the former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico and Ukraine. Pascual worked for USAID from 1983 to 1995 in Sudan, South Africa (nb – see Foreign Service Oral History of Timothy Bork) and Mozambique, and as Deputy Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia. From July 1998 to January 2000, Pascual served as Special Assistant to the President and NSC Senior Director for RussiaUkraine and Eurasia, and from 1995 to 1998 as Director for the same region, from October 2000 until May 2003, as the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine.

He was then named Assistance Coordinator for Europe and Eurasia. In 2004, he was named Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization at the US Department of State.

Selected by President Barack Obama as ambassador to Mexico, he was confirmed by the United States Senate on August 7, 2009. He presented his credentials to the Mexican government on August 9, 2009 and personally to President Felipe Calderón on October 21, 2009. Pascual submitted his resignation as Ambassador to Mexico on March 19, 2011 in part due to tensions with Calderón. Tensions with President Calderón arose as a result of the WikiLeaks release of diplomatic cables in which Pascual criticized the Mexican military’s ability or willingness to fight the Mexican drug cartels. Pascual is considered to be the first casualty of the Wikileaks affair.

Pascual was appointed the State Department’s Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs in May 2011. In 2015, Pascual worked as Vice President and Director of the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution where he presided over the creation of the Brookings Doha Center and the Brookings-Tsinghua Center.

Johnson, Edgar A. J. (1971). American Imperialism in the Image of Peer Gynt: Memoirs of a Professor-Bureaucrat. Univ. of Minnesota Press.

This is the life story of an economic historian whose distinguished career has included nine years of service as a United States government official in various capacities, both military and civilian, around the world. It is a revealing and often disturbing account, evoking in the author’s mind, as he reflects on his own experiences and those of other American emissaries abroad, the image of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, who wandered over the earth thinking he was doing good, only to find when he returned home that both his virtues and his sins were so insignificant that his soul was scheduled by the buttonmolder to be cast into limbo in the form of a little lead button.

Professor Johnson’s book is much more than an autobiography. From the vantage point of his experiences and observations he provides a critical evaluation of American efforts abroad. He discusses cultural factors that have shaped American preconceptions and attitudes over the last half century and attempts to explain why a generation of presumably well-equipped Americans has been singularly incapable of materializing the hopes and aspirations of both the American people and the world community.

Prof. Johnson was a professor of economics who also served in several government positions. He was economics adviser too the E.C.A. mission to Greece, 1951-1952 deputy chief of the M.S.A. Mission to Yugoslavia 1952-1955 and served with the Agency for International Development in India from 1966 to 1967.

Kessler, Earl (1991). Letters from Alfonso: Learning to Listen. Terra Nova Books. Santa Fe, NM.

ISBN # 978-1-938288-22-7.

A first-hand account of a Colombian village’s birth and growth.  Although the setting is the personal story of a development professional and his community counterpart in a poor village in Colombia, it transcends their relationship and provides a guide for us all. Their story brings life to development and shows the power in the building of a long-lasting friendship that grew out of mutual respect and understanding.

Earl Kessler has worked in housing, urban development and financial support programs in Ecuador, Thailand and India and has been involved in disaster relief and preparedness in Guatemala, Haiti and Southeast Asia. As of 2015 he is an independent consultant. He worked for USAID’s Office of Housing from 1983-2000.

Kilgour, Mary C. (2003). Creative Recollection of a Foreign Service Life. Self Published.

ASIN: B0006S7WK2

This volume is a compilation of previously published short stories and reflections. The nine finely wrought pieces convey the humor, irony, injustice and fortitude in characters and situations the author encountered in the Philippines, Pakistan, Latin America and Bangladesh during a long career in USAID and, before that, as a Peace Corps Volunteer. The book can be ordered directly from the author at 4442 SW 85th Way, Gainesville FL 32608.

Kilgour, Mary C. (2005). Me May Mary. Washington, DC: Child Welfare League of America Press.

ISBN: 978-1587600180

This is the story of a young woman who, despite heavy odds, refuses to fail. With the help of a loving brother and a few caring adults, she negotiates her passage from a chaotic, impoverished and abusive childhood with violent, alcoholic parents, through unsuccessful foster homes and, finally, a home for girls, to a successful adulthood with college degrees, a stint in the Peace Corps and a 29-year career as a Foreign Service officer.

Mary Cameron Kilgour wrote this autobiographical memoir for young people and adults struggling with the impact of a chaotic or violent past, people like the children for whom she now advocates as a volunteer guardian ad litem. There is no trace of self-pity in this story. It is written simply and straightforwardly, with humor and grace, and a keen ear for dialogue. But what it conveys so poignantly is that hope and potential can indeed triumph over the past.

Landor, Regina. (2013). Forever Traveling Home. Charleston, SC: CreateSpace.

ISBN: 978-1481140300

(USAID spouse) Regina Landor invites the reader to join her in an adventure that moves from Eastern Europe to the United States, and back again. As the story progresses, Landor becomes stronger and better equipped to find a balance between all the stressors in her life. The road any Foreign Service family traverses can be rocky, but Landor has overcome every challenge.

As a Peace Corps alumna and the wife of a USAID FSO, Landor has had her share of overseas experiences. Opening up about her personal struggles and the difficulties of coping with family and children during travels, Landor shares her ups and downs in a reflective manner.

The concept of “home”—discovering what that term actually means and finding it—is an underlying theme that resonates especially strongly with Foreign Service families.

Lewin, Howard. (2015). Sunsets, Bulldozers, And Elephants: Twelve Years in Laos, The Stories I Never Told. Self-published.


Howard Lewin’s book is a down-to-earth record of his 12 years in Laos, Lewin recaptures the Lao countryside, the people (both Lao and American), the complex political situation during that tumultuous time. Chock full of amazing anecdotes, about unusual animals (a python about 26 feet long), various exotic food and drink; but most importantly the nature of village life, and people’s attitudes toward development. In that respect, the book is a great guide about the roles which development workers should play in places like this. Whether the reader knew Laos in those days, or he/she wants to work in rural development anywhere, this should be required reading. Lewin’s style is highly personal, but he ventures into the ironies of American policy in Southeast Asia during those days, with often-sophisticated insights.

In 1963 Howard Lewin, with a MS in History, decided to join the International Voluntary Service (IVS) and was assigned to Laos as adviser to help in the rural development and civil construction work in the country. After his volunteer service ended, he was hired by USAID to help implement the Village Cluster Program with the aim to gain the support of the people of Laos in order to avoid their support to the communist movement in the rural area. Lewin served in Laos until 1975. Since that time, he has been owner of Custom Wood Design in California.

Lezin, Arthur S. (1997). From Afghanistan to Zaire: Reflections on a Foreign Service Life. Charleston, SC: CreateSpace.

ISBN: 978-1482785982

Afghanistan to Zaire describes a way of life many American families would find bizarre, to say the least. Starting in Pakistan and continuing on to China, Zaire, and Belarus, the most memorable experiences of this foreign service family are recalled in text and pictures. The family adventures include a trek to the border of Afghanistan, a visit to the isolated mountain region of Hunza, a brief but intense trip to China when tourists were a rarity, and the pleasures and pitfalls of diplomatic life in Zaire before its civil war. Finally, there is a description of the reaction of the citizens of Belarus to the first U.S. assistance following the breakup of the Soviet Union. While the experiences run the gamut from risky to rewarding, the family’s spirit of adventure, sense of humor, and wonder at their homes away from home shine through.

Art Lezin was a USAID FSO who served in Guatemala, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, Pakistan, Zaire, Mauritania and Haiti. He now lives, with his wife, Alice, in the Cascade Mountains of Central Oregon.

Lippe, Michael and Dung T. Le, MD. (2011). Pancreatic Cancer: A Patient and His Doctor Balance Hope and Truth. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

ISBN: 978-1421400624

This rare doctor-patient collaboration chronicles the unusual story of a man who defies all expectations in his fight against pancreatic cancer. Diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer on his birthday in 2007, Michael Lippe’s chances of surviving until his book was published were 2 percent. He defied these odds and others, as he tells in this account of his personal journey. From the medical professional’s viewpoint, Dung T. Le gives an in-depth view of pancreatic cancer and treatment options. Her reasoned explanations help clarify medical jargon and dispel intimidating preconceptions about chemotherapy. Though it concerns the darkest of clouds, this joint creation is somehow uplifting in its reminder of life’s many silver linings. Michael Lippe has chosen to give back to research after his death and, while he continues his fight, to inspire others with a message that is important at any stage of life: how to live.

Michael J. Lippe, a former USAID FSO, retired after 20 years of service focused on local government issues, shelter for the poor and corruption. This book is the product of an e-mail he sent to his doctor, asking if she would like to co-author the project. Dung T. Le is an oncologist at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Lucke, Amb. (ret.) Lewis (2020). From Timbuktu to Duck and Cover: Improbable Tales of a Career in Foreign Service.

Open Books. ISBN-13 978-1948598330.

While spending thirty years overseas in the US Foreign Service, and living in eleven countries and working in many more, Ambassador Lucke accumulated many stories that would never have happened “at home.” His work took him to Timbuktu (twice), to places in West Africa where kids ran away in fear at their first glimpse of a person with white skin, to the scary run up to Gulf War I in North Africa, to the jungles of Bolivia and Lake Titicaca in the Andes, the fall of Communism in the old Czechoslovakia, biblical sites of Jerusalem, the passing of King Hussein in Jordan, to interaction with a few US Presidents and many members of Congress. He was thrust into the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, deployed into the war zone of Iraq, and finally served as US Ambassador to the last absolute monarchy in Africa. His take on a thirty-year career abroad: “It was never boring.”

Ambassador Lucke (ret) served for 28 years overseas in the Foreign Service with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and two years with the US Department of State.  He was the first USAID Mission Director for Iraq where he directed a $4.0 billion reconstruction and economic development program, USAID’s largest program ever and the largest reconstruction effort funded by the United States since the Marshall Plan. He also led the US response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Ambassador Lucke was nominated by President George W. Bush and served as US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Swaziland (Eswatini). A career Senior Foreign Service Officer, he served overseas in ten countries: Mali, Senegal, Costa Rica, Tunisia, Bolivia, Jordan, Haiti, Brazil, Iraq and Swaziland. He was USAID Mission Director in Bolivia, Jordan, Brazil, Haiti and Iraq. Ambassador Lucke has received USAID’s two highest awards, the Administrator’s Distinguished Career Award and the Agency’s award for Heroism. He also received the Secretary of Defense’s Medal for Exceptional Public Service, DOD’s highest civilian award.  His first book was “Waiting for Rain: Life and Development in Mali, W. Africa (Christopher) published in 2000.”

Malley, Raymond. (2012). My Global Life: A Conversation With Raymond Malley. Bloomington, IN: Xlibris Corporation.

ISBN: 978-1479719884

Readers interested in foreign affairs and global business should be fascinated by this extended conversation with retired senior diplomat and business executive Raymond Malley, a new volume in the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training’s Diplomatic Oral History Series. Because he moved between the public and private sectors of economic foreign relations, Malley is able to provide compelling insights into the differences between these two sectors. In some ways, the book is also a history of the United States Agency for International Development. Malley joined the Development Loan Fund in 1961; later that year, the John F. Kennedy administration merged the DLF with another agency to form USAID. He worked overseas in South Korea, India, Pakistan and Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), and soon mastered the intricacies of different elements within USAID as he negotiated and managed foreign aid programs in key Asian and African countries. He also formulated and introduced policies amid political infighting in Washington and Paris.

Malley, Raymond. (2014). My Life and Thoughts: The Formative Years. Xlibris.

The first in a series, Raymond Malley’s memoir begins with the years leading up to his distinguished career as a U.S. diplomat with USAID. The first section of the book, “My Family Background,” contains Malley’s discovery of his family history and the travels of his ancestors from 16th-century France to the United States. In “Growing Up,” Malley details his struggles to achieve his dreams of higher education and pursuit of an international life of serious purpose and service. Finally, in “Higher Education and Military,” Malley begins his time at Boston University and the ROTC program. Seeking to expand his horizons, he attended graduate school at the Institute of Higher International Studies in Switzerland under the GI Bill and then the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. All these things paved the way for his eventual career in the Foreign Service.

Raymond Malley is a former FSO who spent 23 years in operational and management positions with USAID. After retiring in 1983, he undertook consulting assignments for the agency for the next 20 years.

Malley, Raymond (2018). Cold Waters: My Ship Adventures in the Arctic, Antarctica and North Atlantic. Xlibris.

ISBN: 9781543466539.

Persons interested in the cold ends of the earth will be fascinated with this book by Raymond Malley, a semiretired US senior diplomat and industrial executive. As a child, he became enchanted with Baffin Island and the Arctic. Later, he visited them and was so smitten that he then spent years exploring the Arctic, the North Atlantic, and Antarctica on ships—a Russian icebreaker, a German container ship, German and Norwegian cruise ships, and a French luxury cruise yacht, usually accompanied by his wife Josette. This book contains notes and reflections from his travels and adventures. Read about cold and icy waters, violent storms, icebergs, glaciers, mountains and valleys, and abandoned whaling stations. And read also about those who live there—humans, polar bears, walrus, penguins, whales, and others. His writing is crisp, frank, and revealing, and well worth a read.

Marks, Edward B (2005). Still Counting: Achievements and Follies of a Nonagenarian. University Press of America.

ISBN 0761829857.

“Still Counting chronicles a rich life of dedication to public service that is heartening, parts of it are hilarious and parts of it are moving and impressive.” “ A rich, detailed history filled with wonderful anecdotes”.

Edward Marks worked for USAID on four continents including Vietnam and Biafra-era Nigeria where he led USG refugee-relief activities during and after the conflict. In the late 30s, working for the National Refugee Service in New York, he aided those fleeing Nazism in Europe. During WW II he was a program officer for the War Relocation Authority, which cared for Japanese-Americans forced from their West Coast homes. He then joined the International Refugee Organization working in Geneva, Greece and Macedonia and then the U.S. Committee for Refugees. His last position for USAID was as liaison to American and international volunteer relief agencies. He was the primary organizer of the 1979 U.N. International Year of the Child led by UNICEF and was interim president of the U.S. Committee for UNICE IN 1985. Mr. Marks died in 2005.

Masbayi, Victor A. (2020). Growing up in a Fast-Changing Africa – My Story.

Amazon books. ISBA 979-864-331-2260.

The book is the story of a Kenyan growing up during a period that spanned political agitation for African independence, eventual independence and the challenges of the development process. The colonial period and the years of “independence” witnessed an Africa on the cusp of great changes. A great transition away from a traditional life style. The “color bar” and initialization of a western life style greatly impacted the lives of this generation. Tension arose between Christianity and the African cultural way of life leading to an uneasy co-existence and confusion between the new and the old. Great political and socio-economic changes occurred partly aided by international development assistance. In many situations, development assistance has itself been a cause of conflict the key question being “which part of the country is getting the cake and why”. What impact did all these have on my generation and how does it affect the future generation on the African continent? And to what extend does exposure to a cross-cultural career environment create momentum for social change?

Victor Ayieko Masbayi is a social scientist and global health development professional whose career spanned twenty-five years with the United Stated Agency for International Development (USAID). He was based in Kenya but also worked on a program supporting the East and Southern Africa Region. As a trained social scientist, he has observed different change scenarios across East and Southern Africa including that of his own country Kenya.  His work with development agencies such as the African Medical and Research Foundation- now AMREF Africa, University Research Company (URC/CHS) and twenty-five years with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) greatly shaped his view of the world.

His development work experience has influenced the way he discusses his personal story of growing up in Kenya at a time of transition from colonial governance and culture to independence and the struggle for the country to develop a national ethos after decades of divide and rule used by the colonial powers. The author uses his personal experience to draw out the social, political, economic and technological changes that occurred over time and how these have impacted life today and how they might shape the future of Kenya and Africa as a whole.

Mathia, Carol. (2023) Memoires from Overseas and Back.

Proteus Press. Ebook. ISBN 9798890770028.

After marrying her husband in 1970, Carol spent 23 years as a foreign service spouse traveling with him from country to country and finding her role, mostly as an educator, at most of their postings. She returned to the States in 1993 and continued her role as an educator in Indiana. Oftentimes while back home in the States, she would find herself telling an amusing anecdote regarding an experience during her time with Bob, her husband, and Michelle and Jennifer, their daughters, while they were overseas. She was often told, “You ought to write a book. You have so many interesting tales.” So, these memoirs are the result and were written entirely during the pandemic. The stories she tells are the way she recollects them. She uses the real names of most of the people mentioned in the book, but once in a while she found it prudent to change the names of some.
The main goal of the book was for her grandchildren to have a means of learning more about the life of their maternal grandparents and of their mothers. In that regard, the author has also done a Story Corps conversation with her younger daughter, Jennifer Markus. It is archived in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress under mby0039. She has also taken part in an oral history project for spouses of foreign service employees through the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training.  She hopes the reader enjoys the book as much as she enjoyed writing it.

Carol Mathia, raised in Indiana, spent 23 years as a Foreign Service spouse, working as an educator throughout. She, her husband, Bob Mathia, and two daughters were posted to Honduras, Panama (twice), Pakistan and the Dominican Republic. She returned to the U.S. in 1993 and continued to work as an educator in Indiana. Her oral history, part of an ADST special program for spouses, can be found at the ADST Oral History site.  (


Orr, Steven D.(2010). The Perennial Wanderer: An American in the World”. Publish America.

ISBN-10: 1403335737

“The Perennial Wanderer: An American in the World” is called a “dense farrago” by one reviewer, while another reviewer says: “How could one not admire the author’s ability to transport himself from one hectic, thrilling circumstance to another? For those of us old, we’ll remember blips of history as Orr journeys us through them. For those of us young, we will see history alive for the first time in this hold-nothing-back memoir. The Perennial Wanderer: An American in the World is a memoir that has not met its match.”

Steven D. Orr worked as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama, collaborating with USAID to achieve construction of a Vocational School in the city of Santiago.  From there he worked as a USAID employee in Viet Nam, where he was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart by the U.S. Army, and received the State Department Service Medal for saving the lives of USAID personnel under direct combat conditions.  After working in 42 countries Mr. Orr is now retired from his various responsibilities with the Department of State.  He is also the author of “The End of the Civil War in El Salvador: 1992,” and “Clan MacKinnon and Clan Orr.” He has a fourth book in progress at present.

Pena, Jose M. (2022)  In Pursuit for Improvements: A Memoir Based on a Forty-Year Foreign Services Officer’s Career with the U.S. Agency for International Development and as an International Financial Consultant.  Self-published.

Rich in technical analysis, here is a fascinating and educational book that emphasizes the author’s 38-plus-year career as a Foreign Service Officer with USAID and his international consulting work. It contains descriptions of most countries, insight into his work, and is a terrific education for everyone who reads the book. The first two chapters show his early life and the start of his professional career. The author presents a panoramic view of what USAID is all about and the types of work he carried out. Each subsequent chapter represents life and work in each country he lived in or did work for – Peru, Ecuador, Vietnam, Colombia, Panama, Washington, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Egypt, Latin America, Kenya, Zambia, Botswana, Rwanda, Peshawar, and Guatemala.

Jose Pena (a) came from a humble family; (b) was stationed in 6 countries with his family; (c) was stationed in four countries and traveled on TDY to 26 other countries by himself; (d) encountered dangerous situations in several countries; (e) made numerous reviews, evaluations, financial, special investigations and assessments; (f) received many awards and rose through the ranks to serve as the first Mexican American to be a Deputy Regional Inspector General (for Egypt and Latin America); (g) had exceptional ratings for most of his career; (h) took various dissenting positions with I.G. proposed faulty policies; (i) became the victim of a false accusation and malicious reprisal actions; (j) was a further victim of an I.G. Investigation which took three years to be resolved — in his favor; (k) was cleared of all charges and retired from USAID; (l) worked as an international financial consultant for two companies; (m) was the director of a health project in Guatemala and supervised the efforts of 50 professionals that he hired. His last consulting work was with the Office of Inspector General of the Organization of American States (OAS). He is now retired and, except for the death of three of his family and trying not to be affected by COVID-19, is enjoying his retirement writing articles and books and, on special occasions, giving some lectures.

Penoyar, William (2018). Surviving Dreamland: Escape from Terror. Mascot Books.

Uday Hussein was the ace of hearts in the US military’s deck of playing cards that was provided to the soldiers soon after the second war with Iraq began in 2003. Uday was known by everyone in Iraq as a murderous thug who learned his trade from his father, Saddam. His tyrannical career began with his first killing when he was in college, and his deadly ways continued remorselessly throughout his life.

This historical novel follows both the tragic events that preceded Operation Iraqi Freedom and the courageous life and times of Lara. Born in Mosul, Iraq, and raised in Michigan as an all-American girl, she became entrapped in the near-fatal grasp of Uday and his henchmen.

Surviving Dreamland is a thrilling story that captures the hard-boiled realities of living under a brutal authoritarian regime and the terror of being caught in a helpless situation when war looms and the bombs begin to fall. Lara’s triumphant survival and her tip to the US special operators succeeded in assuring the demise of two of the top three most-wanted killers during the early days of the Iraq war. Convincing in its accuracy of detail and thought provoking, Surviving Dreamland races through the frequently fatal dangers that the Iraqi people faced while living under Saddam Hussein and his Ba’athist regime. It is a story of survival and bravery, but also a story of tragedy and the resilience of the human spirit.


Penoyar, William. (2014). On the Road with a Foreign Service Officer. Self published.


Much has been written about U.S. diplomacy, the operation of U.S. embassies, the challenges and dangers faced by FSOs and their families. Yet despite all the work and hardship which the career entails, many people are still attracted to this life. Why? This memoir is William Penoyar’s answer to that question. As he says in the introduction: “I became an FSO with USAID for the opportunity to contribute to a better world and, to be honest, for the adventure. I embraced a hope that I could make a positive difference in the lives of many people. Finally, the portfolio of USAID projects in most countries: health, economic development, agriculture and food security, democracy building and environment ensured that I would not be bored.” Here he recounts the entertaining, unpredictable and sometimes dangerous adventures he’s had with USAID in Mozambique, Kosovo, Armenia and Iraq, as well as with the Hash House Harriers running-walking-social clubs, from 2009 to 2013, and urges colleagues associated with American embassies and USAID to “get out of the diplomatic bubble” and “experience life more.” William F. Penoyar retired from the Foreign Service after a 21-year career with USAID. Prior to the adventures related in this book, he undertook many short-term visits to Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. He also worked for five years in Ukraine and three years in Zambia, in addition to short-term stints in South Africa and Malawi.

Power, Samantha (2019) Education of an Idealist.  Dey Street Books.  

ISBN:   0062820699

Tracing her distinctly American journey from immigrant to war correspondent to presidential Cabinet official, Samantha Power’s acclaimed memoir is a unique blend of suspenseful storytelling, vivid character portraits, and shrewd political insight. After her critiques of US foreign policy caught the eye of Senator Barack Obama, he invited her to work with him on Capitol Hill and then on his presidential campaign. When Obama won the presidency, Power went from being an activist outsider to serving as his human rights adviser and, in 2013, becoming the youngest-ever US Ambassador to the United Nations. Power transports us from her childhood in Dublin to the streets of war-torn Bosnia to the White House Situation Room and the world of high-stakes diplomacy, offering a compelling and deeply honest look at navigating the halls of power while trying to put one’s ideals into practice. Along the way, she lays bare the searing battles and defining moments of her life, shows how she juggled the demands of a 24/7 national security job with raising two young children, and makes the case for how we each can advance the cause of human dignity. This is an unforgettable account of the power of idealism—and of one person’s fierce determination to make a difference.

Samantha Power was confirmed as Administrator of USAID in 2021. She has written several other books including the Pulitzer Prize winning “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide”; “Chasing the Flame: One Man’s Fight to Save the World” (2008);”The Unquiet American: Richard H Holbrook and the World”: co-authored with Derek Chollot (2012); and “Realizing Human Rights: Moving from Inspiration to Impact”. (2006) Co-edited with Graham Allison.

Putnam, Warren (2015). Put’s Tales. ISBN 151880830

Put’s Tales has 31 short chapters consisting of reminiscences of development professional Warren Putman starting with his military service aboard a captured German submarine in World War II and ending with a note to his daughter Diana when she graduated from the U.S. Army War College in 2008. After using his GI bill to spend a year at the Sorbonne and in Europe after college, Put worked in farm management in the U.S. until he joined USAID. His first post was in St. Lucia. Following that he spent some time in Korea then left to work as a contractor until he joined the Agency in 1979. Put was a development professional in the days when he would spend long periods of time out in the bush, sometimes joined by his family. He recounts some of these trips including a memorable trail drive on foot with Masaai herders for several days in northern Tanzania. Later tales recount his time as a consultant and visits to Diana in East Africa in the 1990’s.

Warren Putman joined USAID five months after the Agency was created with a first posting in St. Lucia in 1962. After that he worked briefly in Korea before leaving the Agency since he did not want to serve in Vietnam and leave his family behind. From then until 1979 he worked as a contractor for USAID in East and West Africa and ran an import-export business St. Lucia for a while. He rejoined USAID in 1979 and served in Somalia and Washington, D.C. prior to his retirement in 1986. Put had a degree in animal husbandry from Rutgers and primarily worked on agriculture and livestock projects throughout his career. After retirement he ran a farm in St. Lucia exporting tropical flowers and vegetables then built a home on a hardwood tree farm in West Virginia where he bred and sold Boykin Spaniels. He still lives there and continues to write more tales fro Volume Two (notes by his daughter, USAID officer Diana Putnam).

Rudel, Ludwig: (2014). Memoirs of an Agent for Change in International Development: My Flight Path into the 21st Century. Arlington, VA: Arlington Hall Press.

ISBN: 978-0965394949

Lu Rudel describes his unique experiences with US foreign economic aid programs during some of the most dramatic international events since World War II. These include Iran land reforms after the fall of Mosaddegh (1956-1960); Turkey after the military coup of 1960 to the start of the Cuba Missile crisis; changes in India after the death of Nehru, the Bihar famine leading to India’s “Green Revolution” in agriculture (1965-1970); and Pakistan following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1988. Rudel’s firsthand observations on Iran differ markedly from the description of events commonly espoused by some historians and journalists. He also provides a firsthand account of the political metamorphosis over the past half-century of the “Group of 77” nations as they attempted to employ the UN’s economic development agencies to press for a “New International Economic Order.” These experiences lead him to draw important lessons about the conduct and effectiveness of foreign aid. After retirement in 1980 he launched a second career, applying lessons learned from his work in international development to creation of a thousand-acre land development and resort in rural Appalachia. His experiences over the following thirty years as an entrepreneur track the relentless growth of government regulations and the disappearance of community support institutions such as local banks, now being replaced by mega-banks. Finally, he examines global trends of the past eighty years in four critical areas of change affecting our lives–population growth, science and technology, economic systems, and political structures–to draw some surprising conclusions and projections. Photos that accompany the text may be accessed through the web site:

After serving in the US Army during the Korean conflict, Lu Rudel joined USAID’s predecessor agency, the International Cooperation Agency in 1956, working primarily on Iranian Affairs, India and Turkey. He retired in 1980 but continued to perform consulting services for another 22 years for the U.S. Government, the World Bank and various UN Development agencies.

Rudel, Ludwig (2016) Agent for Change in International Development: My Flight Path into the 21st Century – Volume II. CreateSpace.

ISBN-13: 978-1518762192

This is the companion volume to Lu Rudel’s candid narrative of his professional life, Memoirs of an Agent for Change in International Development. The material in this volume focuses on his extensive travels, including seven revealing stories that describe his short-term assignments in China, Mozambique, Latvia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh undertaken after his retirement form the US Foreign Service for various UN organizations and the World Bank.  Also included are several highly personalized stories and original poems, describing his family’s growth, maturation and extensive travels in the Foreign Service. Rudel discusses his impressions of the national character of many aid recipient societies in which he became immersed, and offers insights into the contradictions and synergies that tend to emerge along the course of modern day interactions between aid donors and aid recipients.

Rugh, Andrea B. (2009). Simple Gestures: A Cultural Journey into the Middle East. Dulles, VA: Potomac Books, Inc.

ISBN: 978-1597974349.

(USAID Spouse) Although the Middle East often features prominently in the headlines of morning newspapers and nightly broadcasts across the United States, few Americans understand the region’s inhabitants. In Simple Gestures, Andrea Rugh chronicles her progression from puzzled foreigner to cultural guru. As mother, wife and, ultimately, anthropologist, Rugh explores the traditions of the eight Middle Eastern countries in which she lived, from Lebanon in 1964 to Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11. Rugh presents her remembrances chronologically, from her childhood exposure to foreign culture in her grandparents’ copies of National Geographic to her work at schools in Afghanistan in 2001. Along the way, she discovers the differences not only between American and Middle Eastern cultures, but also among the various countries themselves. Rugh narrates dozens of highly readable anecdotes about every aspect of life, from social visits to weddings to education. Rugh’s honest and respectful insights culminate in a chapter of conclusions, describing the overall lessons of her life in a region often misrepresented in the West.

Andrea Rugh accompanied her foreign service officer husband to several posts before gaining her doctorate in anthropology at American University. She has worked for Save the Children and Unicef and with the Middle East Institute.

Ruoff, E.G. (Jay)(1997) Making a Difference:  An American Family in Pakistan, France, Vietnam, Laos, Turkey and Mali.  Self Published.

ISBN:  Not currently available.

Jay Ruoff served as a Marine in North China in 1945-46. and with the Department of State and USAID in the posts cited in the book title and in USAID/W’s Africa Bureau as a last assignment. His wife and four daughters accompanied him. Mr. Ruoff died in 2021 after writing seven books and serving as mayor of his retirement home of Peninsula Ohio. They are: a) Death Throes of a Dynasty: Letters and Diaries of Charles and Bessie Ewing, Missionaries to China (1990); Kent State Press ISBN 0873384148); b) Walking the Walls: A U.S. Marine in North China 1945-46. (2001 Self Published); c) The People’s Emperor: Democracy and the Japanese Monarchy: 1945-1995. Harvard Univ. Asia Center (2001); d-f) three books on the Civil War all beginning with the title The Calamitous Conflict: d) An Attempt to Learn Why (2002 Self Published); e) The Neighbors: Great Britain, France, Mexico and Canada (2005) self published) and Guerrilla Warfare During the Civil War (2007).

Stacy, Roy.  A Delinquent’s Detour. 2020 Archway Publishing.

ISBN 1480891320.

Roy Stacy’s memoir is a very well written story of an improbable rise into the senior ranks of the Foreign Service. The chapters describing his work with USAID provide clear summaries of how USAID missions can achieve remarkable improvements in the lives of many of our host country’s citizens. It is an excellent primer for new foreign service officers.
Roy A. Stacy grew up Oahu, Hawaii. While washing the family car with his father on Dec. 7, 1941, he saw several hundred fighter aircraft approaching. In this memoir, he recalls growing up on the island, his move to California in 1949 and becoming a juvenile delinquent. To avoid going to jail, he enlisted in the Air Force. Serving his country ended up line gate rewind, erase and reprogram that he needed. Roy joined USAID serving in Somalia in 1966 and rose to Senior Foreign Service rank with USAID and the Department of State. Somalia was followed by 2 years at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, then an assignment to be the Regional Program Officer for Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland from 1971-73, followed by Regional Planning Officer in Ivory Coast’s REDSO office from 1976-78. This led to the start up position at the Club du Sahel in Paris at the OECD, then USAID Director in Zimbabwe 1981-86. Roy then transferred to the State Department where he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Africa from 1987-89. Following retirement, he worked full time at the World Bank and with FAO and WFP and later on FEWS NET on food security early warning systems from 1992-1999. He continued working part time until age 80k, leading evaluations, convened that retirement is a primary cause of old age.  Roy presently lives in France.

Stacy, Roy A. (2020). A Delinquent’s Detour.

Archway Publishers. Bloomington, IN. ISBN-9781-4804-9132-6; 9132-9.

Roy A. Stacy grew up on Oahu, one of eight Hawaiian Islands, a paradise on earth until Dec. 7, 1941, when he witnessed the horrors of war. As he finished washing the family car with his father, several hundred fighter aircraft came over the Pali Mountain on their way to the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor. For a four-year-old boy, the explosions were terribly impressive. In this memoir, he recalls growing up on the island, the years after the war, and the struggles his family endured – especially after moving to California in 1949.  Life in Southern California was not easy for a Hawaiian kid, and Stacy’s mother placed him in a religious boarding school where discipline was the norm. But he began running with the wrong crowd anyway, becoming a juvenile delinquent. To avoid going to jail, he enlisted in the military, joining the U.S. Air Force in 1955. Serving his country ended up being the rewind, erase, and reprogram opportunity that he needed – and he went on to serve in key positions with the United States Foreign Service and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Join the author as he looks back at going from being a delinquent to a statesman who traveled the world in this memoir.

Roy Stacy’s USAID career began in Somalia from 1966-69 followed by 2 years at the Fletcher School at Tufts University.  He was then assigned to be the Regional Program Officer for Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland from 1971-73, followed by Regional Planning Officer in Ivory Coast., 1976-78.

This led to the start up position at the Club du Sahel in Paris at the OECD, then USAID Director of Zimbabwe 81-86 and at State, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Africa 87-89. Following retirement Roy worked full time at the World Bank and with FAO and WFP and FEWS NET on food security early warning systems from 92-99.  He continued working part time until age 80, leading evaluations, convinced that retirement is a primary cause of old age. He now claims to be fully retired and is living in Brittany France.

Staples, Eugene. (2006). Old Gods, New Nations: A Memoir of War, Peace and Nation Building. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse.

ISBN: 978-0595376629

This highly readable memoir offers both a slice of recent history and a compelling look at the opportunities, the richness of experience and the unparalleled knowledge of the human condition that a Foreign Service career offers. Through this varied career, Staples describes the challenges and problems encountered in planning and managing information and cultural programs and overseas development work. He sets the context precisely, and insightful observations add depth. A penultimate chapter suggests how we might reorder current foreign policy priorities more effectively. Eugene “Rocky” Staples joined the Service in 1951 as an information officer after service as a Marine Corps fighter pilot in World War II, and was assigned to the newly created U.S. Information Agency. In 1958, he was press officer for then-Vice President Nixon’s controversial Latin American tour and, in the 1960s, cultural counselor in Moscow during the Kennedy-Khrushchev period. He then joined the Ford Foundation, and spent two decades helping manage its Asian development work, including on field assignments in Bangkok and New Delhi.

Staples returned to the Foreign Service in 1980 as USAID’s deputy assistant administrator for the Asia Bureau and then as director of the USAID mission in Islamabad. He retired in 1988, but returned to Washington yet again, in 1992, to help plan, launch and then serve as president of the Eurasia Foundation.

Stickney, Mary. (2001). Jungle Paths and Palace Treasures. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, Inc.

ISBN: 978-0595172757

When Mary Stickney’s agronomist husband was offered a Foreign Service position, they and their four children headed to India, at the beginning of that country’s “Green Revolution,” with great anticipation. They found the adventure of a lifetime, told here in lively, highly readable detail. There were moments of despair, moments of joy and moments of terror. They traveled thousands of miles throughout the heart of India, sometimes on tracks so impassable they had to park the jeep and walk through the jungle. As they encountered this often-baffling land, they learned from their experiences and from the many individuals they came to know and love. This book will appeal to a wide audience, both young and old, travel-buff and armchair globetrotter. But it is a special treat for India hands, as agricultural engineer Donald James Minehart notes in his foreword: “Mary Stickney has taken the time to explore India in a manner that many of us old India hands can only admire. … You may not understand India when you’ve read the book, but you will understand why she was transfixed by the country and its people.”

Stickney, Mary. (2004). River of Pearls. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, Inc.

ISBN: 978-0595308095

“The danger and romance of the lands comes alive in the book,” is what the Florida Times-Union said about Mary Stickney’s second book of memoirs, which is set in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam era. Accompanying her husband, a Foreign Service agricultural scientist who was working in a USAID pacification program in South Vietnam, the author and her children first settled in Bangkok and later moved to Manila, making periodic visits to Saigon and Danang. After returning to America, she found herself suddenly alone. A divorcee, she went back to college and shaped a new life and career for herself. Drawing on her journals, with a personal, colorful style, the author conveys the wonders, excitement, the sorrow and the surprising joys of exploring far corners of the globe with an open heart and mind. Mary Stickney lives and writes in Ponte Vedra, Fla.

Stepanek, Joe. (1979). Bangladesh – Equitable Growth. Oxford, UK: Pergamon Press.

ISBN: 978-0080233352

From the author: At a time in the 60s and 70s when a few experts believed that the new country could never feed itself, and fewer still recommended “triage,” USAID, under courageous leadership, convinced the government that it could in fact grow its own food. This meant of course that we all would not take the easy route of depending primarily on American food aid. Joe Stepanek was a USAID FSO Economist who served in Tanzania, Kenya, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Zambia. He presently lives in Colorado.

Stepanek, Joe. (1999). Wringing Success from Failure in Late-Developing Countries: Lessons From the Field. Westport, CT: Praeger.

ISBN: 978-0275965051

From the author: This is a collection of stories with a point from all my other country and USAID/W experiences. As I look at the chapters, I still believe the most important one is about the World Bank in Africa. Having been up close and personal with many Bank and IMF reps, I opened up one of their loans for detailed scrutiny. Not pretty! No one in Treasury or State wants to know.

Stepanek, Joe. (2010). Implicated in My Life – A Memoir Rooted in Poor-World Development. Chicago, IL: Johnson Publishing.

ISBN: 978-0615320045

From the author: This book is filled with development, aid and USAID stories and lessons. Part I is my life in Asia as a kid (my father worked for the UN, then with the Ford Foundation) with returns to Boulder. Part II is a career with USAID in five countries, with returns to Boulder. Part III is retirement in Boulder with lots of stories about mountain rescue, sister cities, travel, with more to come. Part IV is lessons learned, with more to come, in a forth coming, some day, 2nd edition.

Stepanek, Vanessa. (2000). Riding the Crosswinds. Chicago, IL: Johnson Publishing.

ISBN: 978-0967955902

(Daughter of USAID officer, Joe Stepanek) From the author’s father: “Riding the Crosswinds is about growing up in an AID family, or, What it is like to be dragged around the world by Daddy! Somewhat unexpectedly this book serves well to convince parents that they needn’t worry about raising their kids overseas.”

Sugrue, Bill. (2019).  It Ate One Hundred. Self-published.

ISBN:  13:978-1095547397

It Ate One Hundred is a series of stories that build on each other and that are drawn from Bill’s four and half years in in a small village on the floor of the Great Rift Valley in southern Ethiopia. The villagers, resettled from the cool mountainous region of north central Ethiopia, are the main characters along with the landscape itself, its flora and fauna.  Several encounters with snakes, lions that pass through the village at night, baboons and other wildlife figure prominently in the book as do the challenges life deals the resourceful and tenacious farmers who’s confidence in their ability to overcome adversity despite the forces arrayed against them is inspirational.  There is humor, tragedy, and drama here, also friendship, trust and honor which animates the book and makes it more than just a record of what happened.
(Background:  Bill Sugrue joined USAID in 1976 and was classified as a Rural Community Development Officer, largely because of his Peace Corps experience in Ethiopia.  Over time, as the Agency began to focus more explicitly on environmental issues and challenges, he moved with that evolution as it reflected his personal interests and passions, both with regard to biodiversity conservation and to the management of natural resources, with special concern for land tenure security for the rural poor, growing out of the tragic experiences of peasant farmers he knew in Ethiopia. He served in Haiti where he and Stacy Rhodes were responsible for a highly regarded Agroforestry project and in Peru where he managed the Latin American Bureau’s first significant environmental project, the Central Selva Resource Management Project, also known as the Palcazu Project.  This project was known for its first ever explicit attention to the rights of indigenous people with emphasis on their communal land tenure security.  After a sabbatical year at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School, he served as India Desk Officer (with John Pielemeier) before returning to environmental issues as the Director of the Environment and Natural Resource Management Office in the Central American USAID mission based in Guatemala. He finished his career serving for ten years as the Director of the AID/W Office of Environment and Natural Resource Management.  Bill now lives with his wife in Falls Church and with his 4 children scattered throughout the continent. )

Sullivan, M. H. (2010). The Sullivan Saga: Memories of an Overseas Childhood. Manchester, NH: Romagnoli Publications.

ISBN: 978-1891486135

(Daughter of ICA official) These are the exotic, funny and sometimes bittersweet family stories and photos of an overseas childhood told by the daughter of a State Department diplomat about her family’s travels and experiences living overseas from 1957 to 1972. She and her six brothers spent their childhoods in South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand and Ethiopia. Through her stories, the reader can begin to appreciate the adaptability of children to other cultures and the fortitude and courage of parents trying to raise their children to be good citizens of the world as well as good Americans.

Taylor, Robert J. (2013). Hardship Post. Parker, CO. Outskirts Press.

ISBN: 978-1478706922

In this memoir, Robert Taylor recounts the life-changing adventure he had while working for three years in Karachi, Pakistan. The Aga Khan, the wealthy and influential imam of the Ismaili Muslims, hired him to help build the world-class Aga Khan University Hospital. Taylor covers both the excitement and the challenges of serving overseas in a foreign culture, and in the process draws a rich portrait of Pakistan and its people. Robert Taylor has been an adviser to the World Bank, USAID, WHO and other international agencies in 30 developing countries. His memoir won first place in the 2012 Royal Palm Literary Awards Competition for unpublished memoirs. Originally from Minnesota, he now lives in Punta Gorda, Fla.

Thurston, Robert. (2010). Life’s Treks and Trails: My Journey from Vale to Kathmandu. Self Published. Available at

ISBN: Unknown.

Can you give our group a two-hour talk on US Foreign Assistance?” asked Bill Kemper, Program chairman of the Corvallis Academy for Life Long Learning. Having worked overseas within the Agency for International Development (AID) for nearly 25 years, plus several years in connection with the Peace Corps, I was happy to comply. Preparation for that presentation led me to jot down many personal observations and anecdotes. I’d been telling some of those stories for years. Once started, this exercise took on a life of its own, and before I knew it, I’d written this memoir.

Tobias, Randall. (2003). Put the Moose on the Table: Lessons in Leadership from a CEO’s Journey through Business and Life. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

ISBN: 978-0253342393

Former CEO of Eli Lllly, Randall Tobias wrote this book on leadership lessons learned with his son, Todd Tobias. In 2003 he served as the first US Global AIDS Coordinator, then from 2006-to 2007 was USAID Administrator and concurrently Director of US Foreign Assistance.

Tragen, Irving. (2019) Two Lifetimes as One: Ele and Me and the Foreign Service. BookPatch.

In this touching autobiography that covers decades of marriage and service, Irving Tragen tells the story of a diplomat who could not have carried out his difficult assignments without the support of his loving wife, the late Eleanor “Ele” Dodson. Irving, who suffered severe hearing loss form the aftermath of scarlet fever, recounts their odyssey from their first meeting and marriage in 1947 through a dozen assignments in the U.S. Foreign Service and the Organization of American States.  He worked in all 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries during a career that spanned nearly 60 years, with a focus on diplomacy, development and the fight against drug trafficking. In Two Lifetimes as One, Irving details those assignments, what he learned and how Ele made all the difference.

Irv Tragen served with USAID and the Department of State in El Salvador, Chile, Peru, and Venezuela from 1953-1963. He then served as USAID/Bolivia Director, 1965-1968, LAC country director for Argentina and Uruguay, 1968—1971, Vice President of the Inter-American Foundation, 1971-1971, Director Agency for International Development Mission, La Paz, Bolivia, 1965-1968. Country director Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay United States Department State, Washington, 1969-1971. Vice president Inter-American Foundation, Rosslyn, Virginia, 1971-1973, Director of the USAID Regional Mission in Guatemala, 1973-1975, USAID/Director Panama, 1975—1977. Deputy US Representative to the Organization of American States 1977-1980, Executive director of the Inter-American Economic and Social Council, 1980-1984, Executive secretary Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, 1984-1994, Principal advisor for Regional Central America Legal Development, San Jose, Costa Rica, 1995-1997. He then worked as a consultant on Drug Trafficking from 1999—2002. He lives in retirement in San Diego, where he remains engaged in building friendship and understanding between the United States and Latin America.

Weihe, Theodore. (2017). Transitions: American Values of Democracy and Free Enterprise in the Post Cold War World.

ISBN: 0692841121, 9780692841129.

This memoir that covers Ted Weihe’s years in USAID and working in 30 countries designing and evaluating people-to-people and cooperative projects.  It tells the untold story of USAID clandestine aid to the voter education, quick count and prevention of a Pinochet counter-coup in Chile.  It also includes the first CODEL by appropriators after Camp David Accords to freeze settlements.  There are plenty of chapters that might interest a USAID or development expert.  Its focus is on country transitions as the cold war began to fade.

Ted Weihe was a political appointee working in USAID’s office of legislative affairs from 1976 to 1980.  Administrator Peter McPherson then put Weihe in charge of coops as his special assistant until 1981.  After that, he formed and ran the US Overseas Cooperative Development Council for 23 years in which he promoted cooperatives in developing and transition countries.  He served on USAID ACFVA for 17 years through four administrations.

Williams, Aaron. (2022), A Life Unimagined: The Rewards of Mission-Driven Service in the Peace Corps and Beyond“.  International Division, University of Wisconsin – Madison Press. 

ISBN- 13:  978-1737404606

         Aaron Williams has devoted his life to public service and the betterment of others. His life story reveals fascinating glimpses into the complex interactions of international development and US foreign policy but also into the American myth of anyone becoming anything through the power of hard work, determination, and drive  The remarkable journey of this leader in international development, foreign policy, and global business began on Chicago’s South Side. He attended Catholic schools, participated in the Boys Club and Boy Scouts, and read science fiction books at the Chicago Public Library. A graduate of Chicago State University and the University of Wisconsin–Madison, he spent time as a public school teacher before serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic. Finding his Peace Corps time transformative, he turned his energies in this direction, joining the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and working on projects in Honduras, Haiti, and South America, among others. There, he eventually reached the rank of career minister in the Foreign Service. In 2009 he was appointed the director of the Peace Corps by President Barack Obama, serving in that role through 2012. In his memoir, Williams shares life lessons of how success often comes from failure; that a willingness to take risks is necessary to move forward; the importance of listening to your intuition when it comes to critical professional and life decisions; and how what you think you’re looking for may not be what you ultimately find to be the most important thing in your life.

         Aaron Williams joined USAID in 1978, where he spent 22 years as a foreign service officer.  He served in various senior management positions: Mission Director for the Eastern Caribbean Region; Deputy Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), acting Assistant Administrator for LAC; and as the head of the USAID Executive Secretariat. A career minister in the Senior Foreign Service, Williams retired from USAID in 2000, after serving as Mission Director to South Africa. In July 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Williams to be Director of the Peace Corps, as the 18th Peace Corps Director and only the fourth director to have also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Aaron is also one of the founding members of the USAID Alumni Association. He is also the co-author of TheYoung Black Leader’s Guide to a Successful Career in International Affairs.

Wind, Allan J. Alonzo (2020) Andean Adventures: An Unexpected Search for Meaning, Purpose and Discovery Across Three Countries.

A memoir of public health and community development service and spiritual discovery overseas in Peace Corps, nongovernmental organizations and USAID, sharing with self-deprecating humor experiences across the Andes and Latin America. For some, a provocative discussion and meditation on searching for meaning and purpose after college. A story of successes, failures, redemption, challenges, faith and perseverance.

Recently retired from USAID Senior Foreign Service. Over 35 years as a development practitioner and leader including 20 years with USAID as a career officer, with experience leading country and regional missions, offices and programs in Latin America, Africa and western Asia. Prior to USG service, dedicated over 15 years with non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, host governments, public international organizations.

Wisecarver, Steve (2019). What SAHEL Am I Doin’ Here? 30 Years of Misadventures in Africa.

ISBN 978-164438-265-3 and B07NNX9Q9N

What SAHEL Am I Doin’ Here? 30 Years of Misadventures in Africa is a collection of often harrowing and unusual stories, described in rich and colorful detail, reflecting the author’s experiences in Africa over several decades. In these pages the reader will encounter villagers transforming themselves into hyenas, a remote tribe in Mali whose knowledge of the universe was given to them by ancient space travelers, a horrific Al Qaeda terrorist attack, a close call with killer African bees, pygmies who communicate with the trees, a nefarious arms dealer’s private retreat, a host of scoundrels and grifters, and numerous misadventures. The book also gives a behind-the-scenes look at two vice-presidential visits (one with disastrous consequences) and chronicles the myriad pitfalls of hosting a congressional delegation. These are light-hearted tales that capture the bizarre and the exotic as well as the comic, even magical, nature of life on the Continent. It is the author’s tribute to the resilience, joy and spirit of the African people.

Steve Wisecarver completed undergraduate studies at the University of Oregon and the University of Poitiers, France, and holds a master’s degree from the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. He began his development career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal before joining the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as a career Foreign Service officer. He worked in USAID for 20 years, with postings in Senegal, Mali, Yemen, Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya. He last served as Regional Mission Director for East and Southern Africa in Nairobi, Kenya; as Director of the Office of East African Affairs in Washington, D.C., and ended his USAID career as Acting Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Management.  After retiring from USAID, he served as Peace Corps Country Director in Madagascar and Kenya. He has traveled and worked in more than 40 African countries.

Young, Frank J. 47 Aerogrammes: A Passage through India 1969-1970. (2022)

Page Publishing. ISBN10: 1662457464.

With Bangalore as the backdrop, 47 Aerogrammes charts Frank Young’s journey in a remarkable country that would shape this nineteen-year-old’s view of the world and change him in ways he could never have imagined. Landing in Calcutta in September 1969 with sixty-two other classmates from Callison College in Stockton, California, he quickly confronted the reality he would face over the next nine months: how does one break free from one’s comfort zone and adapt to a culture that bears little resemblance to your home 8700 miles away? In countless encounters with people and places as he crisscrossed the Indian subcontinent, his passage through India became his passage to adulthood. From the generosity of strangers in cities and villages, to unctuous bureaucrats, to an orthodox Brahmin family who demonstrated that parental love speaks the same language in any culture, his year in India transformed him in ways neither friends nor family back home would recognize. But his biggest revelation came four decades later upon landing in New Delhi as a foreign service officer on assignment in India for the US Agency for International Development: the transformation had never stopped. Through journals, letters and photographs taken a half century ago, this book takes the reader through Frank’s many adventures where at the end of the day, “In India, anything is possible

Frank Young retired from USAID in 2014 after thirty-three years of service. His overseas assignments included Philippines, India, Bangladesh (Deputy Director) and Ghana (Director). In Washington, he served in several bureaus including Deputy Assistant Administrator in both the Africa and Asia Bureaus and Acting Assistant Administrator for Asia. Before retiring, he was director of the Development Leadership Initiative and later taught at FSI. Frank was part of the committee that established UAA’s original charter. Today, he lives in Sarasota with his wife Pat (a retired Canadian foreign service officer), and is currently Board Chair of the Foreign Service Retirees Association of Florida.

Young, Gordon. (2011). Journey from Banna—An Autobiography. Bloomington, IN: Xlibris Corporation.

ISBN: 978-1456868543

Since birth, Gordon Young’s life has been full of adventure and unique experiences in Asia. He has spent more than 40 years in tiny jungle villages, as well as in the flourishing cities of Thailand, Laos, Burma, Vietnam and India. Recently, in retelling the story of an encounter with a snow leopard to his grandson, he was inspired to put his memory store in writing. Journey from Banna is the result: a narrative account of Gordon Young’s life journeys through the world, through time and toward enlightenment. Young recalls his abnormal birth in the remote area of Banna in China’s Yunnan province; a childhood spent roaming the mountain landscape with tools and tactics he learned through his family’s interaction with the Ku-lao Lahu tribe of mountain people; and the tumult and excitement of war in his young-adult life. Vivid descriptions of the landscapes, scenery, people and his own emotional growth bring this memoir alive.

Zeitz, Dr. Paul. (2018). Waging Justice: A Doctor’s Journey to Speak Truth and Be Bold. Balboa Press.

ISBN 978-1-9822-0542.                 .

Waging Justice is a memoir written In unflinching prose, Dr. Zeitz shares a lifetime of struggles and hard-won lessons as a doctor, activist, father, and son. His complex dance between healing others and healing himself ultimately transforms the inexplicable anger and disappointment he felt at the state of the world and his own past into full throttled, open-hearted, soul-satisfying action set on a global stage. Waging Justice is a personal story and also a universal one: a story of action, of courage, and of forgiveness; and a rallying cry to wage justice in our lives, speak the truth, be bold, and take action in the world today.

Dr. Paul Zeitz ( is a physician, epidemiologist, and an award-winning advocate for global justice and human rights. He is the founder of Build A Movement 2020, he serves as the senior policy advisor with the Foundation for Climate Restoration. Dr. Zeitz worked at the U.S. Department of State from 2014–2017 as the Director of the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development. He led the Global AIDS Alliance from 2000–2011. Dr. Zeitz received his doctorate in osteopathic medicine from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine & his MPH in public health & preventive medicine residency at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.