American Taboo: A Murder in the Peace Corps



American Taboo: A Murder in the Peace Corps TABOO N Tongan Tabu 1 A Prohibition Against Touching, Saying, Or Doing Something For Fear Of Immediate Harm From A Supernatural Force.In 1975, Thirty Three Peace Corps Volunteers Landed In The Island Nation Of Tonga It Was An Exotic Place Men Wearing Grass Skirts, Coconut Thatched Huts, Pigs Wandering The Crushed Coral Streets Governed By Strange And Exacting Rules Of Conduct The Idealistic Young Americans Called It Never Never Land, As If It Existed In A World Apart From The One They Knew And The Things That Happened There Would Be Undone When They Went Home.Among Them Was A Beautiful Twenty Three Year Old Woman Who, Like So Many Volunteers Before Her, Was In Search Of Adventure Sensuous And Free Spirited, Deborah Gardner Would Become An Object Of Desire, Even Obsession, In The Small Expatriate Community On The Night Of October 14, 1976, She Was Found Dying Inside Her Hut, Stabbed Twenty Two Times.Hours Later, Another Volunteer Turned Himself In To The Tongan Police, And Many Of The Other Americans Were Sure He Had Committed The Crime But With The Aid Of The State Department, He Returned To New York A Free Man, Flown Home At The Peace Corps S Expense Deb Gardner S Death And The Outlandish Aftermath Took On Legendary Proportions In Tonga In The United States, Government Officials Made Sure The Story Was Suppressed.Now Philip Weiss Unravels The Truth About What Happened In Tonga Than A Quarter Century Ago With Bravura Reporting And Vivid, Novelistic Prose, Weiss Transforms A Polynesian Legend Into A Singular Artifact Of American History And A Profoundly Moving Human Story.

10 thoughts on “American Taboo: A Murder in the Peace Corps

  1. says:

    I have some ambivalent feelings about how to rate this book In some ways three stars is a little bit generous I thought the writing was surprisingly poor for someone who is apparently a contributing editor to high profile publications Many of his sentences were poorly constructed, as were entire paragraphs, which really distracted and detracted from the story Also, he unfortunately used that horrible technique of reconstruction which made the story have the cheap feel of a made for TV reenactment of unsolved mysteries and the like Overall the writing felt sloppy yet earnest, like a high school student who shows some promise in writing yet overdoes his attempts at writing a compelling and dramatic narrative.Despite those problems, the story did evoke a strong visceral reaction in me Mostly it made me feel sad and distressed But most importantly, i thought the author achieved his goal in exposing the U.S government s role in the outcome of this case He successfully explained the Peace Corps mission and its emphasis on personal responsibility on the part of volunteers and he successfully illustrated the political and foreign relations issues that dictated the bureaucracy s handling of the case, rather than its own guidelines This was the part of the story that was so fascinating to me whose int...

  2. says:

    An upsetting book for any Tonga PCV It took me back to a lot of places I passed every day and even to a lot of people who are still living in Tonga The book itself could do with an aggressive edit It would be better with perhaps 150 pages culled.

  3. says:

    This book is poorly written and I would only recommend it to someone who is somehow affiliate with the Peace Corps America doesn t exist when you re here Tonga doesn t exist when you re back, the older volunteers had told them In no time they would pick up their lives Their friends would lose interest in their stories, and the Kingdom would be as foreign as a hot shower was now Then one day they d open a drawer to discover something they had brought h...

  4. says:

    An excellent read about a dreadful crime within the Peace Corps and the way it resolved or didn t The author explains how the case never really made the news, and how it was swept under the rug by the officials involve...

  5. says:

    This is the true story of an American Peace Corps volunteer in Tonga who was murdered by a fellow corpsman, who never served a day in jail in the USA for his vicious crime I was drawn to it because of my Peace Corps service, and due to the grea...

  6. says:

    Not a Who Done It as much as a How d He Get Away With It.

  7. says:

    This is a haunting investigation into a young woman s murder Deb Gardener, enthusiastic and outdoorsy, loved life She sought to share her dynamic spirit through her work in the Peace Corps She was assigned to the South Pacific island kingdom of Tonga It s a lot tougher than most people would think to be a Peace Corps volunteer to a small and culturally different village far from home...

  8. says:

    I chose this book because it was set in Tonga, but was very surprised to see a personal connection to the murdered woman Like my husband and I, she was a 1975 graduate of Washington State University There were about 2000 grads that year, about 16000 students at that time Our paths never crossed, as best as we can tell from the photos in this book and our yearbooks We had different majors and lived in dorms instead of a Greek house Her high school was near my husband s It was disturbing to think...

  9. says:

    Excellent investigative journalism, attempting to bring light and closure to a decades old murder in the Peace Corps in Tonga US government cover up and duplicity let a murderer go free Gives another perspective from the official US government point of view.

  10. says:

    This was a very interesting book that looked into a murder that almost no one knew about The author did an amazing job of researching the why and how The idea that this was glossed over by so many is just amazing.

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