A Journal of the first Peace Corps project
- Guatemala One
Personal journal of a volunteer from the first Peace Corps project in Guatemala in 1963.
On a cold January day in 1960, John Fitzgerald Kennedy took the oath of office to become our 35th President. In his inaugural address he spoke of “A New Frontier which included space exploration and a reaching out to the rest of the world in new ways. Probably the most memorable line of his speech was, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
There were many of us who looked for a way to fulfill that challenge. He gave us an option when on March 1st of 1961 he formed the Peace Corps under the direction of Sargent Shriver.READ MORE
In November of 1962, I was invited to begin training for the first Peace Corps project to the Central American country of Guatemala. We flew to New York City for some orientation, then to Puerto Rico, where we spent twenty-six days of physical training, evaluation and selection. Obviously being in the mountains of Puerto Rico, we also became very familiar with tropical climate, mold, mildew, heat, bugs and other assorted unfamiliarity’s. Home for a Christmas break, then to University training for two and a half months at New Mexico State College.
What follows is the exact reproduction of what I wrote in a journal of feelings, opinions, and all that went on. The majority of the names of my fellow volunteers have been changed to protect the innocent. . .or guilty. The names of all our coworkers, contacts and officials in-country have been left pretty much alone.
It is my hope that you, the reader, will gain some insight into how some of the young people in the early sixties felt about life and all of its varied opportunities and obstacles.
I would love to be able to say that we made a huge difference in the world by what we accomplished. It is far more likely that we were changed significantly by our involvement, more than those people we were sent to serve.
This journal was not originally written for anyone to read other than myself, at some future date to remember and reminisce. I ask the reader to remember that a journal is just words. The emotions and feelings are there in some instances, but mostly not. As I was encouraged by fellow writers to make this public, I hesitated in letting my personal prejudices and peccadilloes out of the box, so to speak. At this age, it doesn’t really matter. It was a long time ago and I’m certainly not the same person. I beg forgiveness of anyone who reads this and is offended. That is not my intent.
At the end of each month’s journal entries, I have endeavored to make some reflections from this distant vantage point, explain some things and perhaps clarify some points of confusion.COLLAPSE
E. Hoberg on Amazon wrote:
George Gurney has written a staggeringly beautiful book on what it feels like, what the consequences are and above all, what society must do to help these countries. He has opened my eyes to what life is like for Peace Corp volunteers. He is a natural storyteller and a deeply profound thinker who not only brings Guatemala to life for us but also offers a kind of eye opening introduction to the thoughts and feeling of a young man in a strange and somewhat scary situation. You will learn more of our history as peacekeepers and be entertained as well.
Sherry on Amazon wrote:
After reading this book, it gave me pause to reflect upon my misconception of the Peace Corps. As a young teen during this time period, I was led to believe Peace Corps Volunteers were 'draft dodgers', spoiled college kids looking for adventure and hippies looking to 'find themselves'. WRONG! I got great insight as to the preparation, education and hard work it took to survive in an undeveloped country, the cultural differences, the 'old' ways versus the 'new' ways. I am ashamed to admit my ignorance and greatly admire the dedication and self-sacrificing of these wonderful young people. George did a fantastic job of bringing the reader along for the ride. A great writer and a great read!
Brad Gore on Amazon wrote:
George has a knack for bringing us along on his journey. You won't want to put "Guatemala One" down. His time capsule of his journey in the Peace Corps awakens the senses with his adept deliverance of his pursuits and trial. Lay back and see this land from the comfort of your living room. By Sheron Donahue author of The Rascal in All of Us: A Journey into an Impish Child's Life
Bob White on Amazon wrote:
What a delightful read to look back in time at rural Guatemala through the eyes of George Gurney, as he engaged the local Guatemaltecos as part of the first batch of U.S. Peace Corps volunteers to serve there. I truly found it fascinating to ride along on the many adventures shared by George in a time before much political upheaval, better roads and of course, computers! You will find this unique journal compilation a nice escape into what it was like to go altruistically into what many Americans must have considered the great unknown.
Since I was unable to be part of the Peace Corps in 1963, it was extremely interesting to read a daily journal of someone who was sent on the first Peace Corps mission to Guatemala. I felt like I was walking with him. A great read.
Four short stories from the pen of George Gurney
A milquetoast bookseller finds himself embroiled in murder and smuggling, a veteran snipe takes revenge on an uncaring society,a 1930's booze smuggler matches wits with a cocky detective, and two police detectives track a strange serial killer.
Bob White on Amazon wrote:
I always get excited when a new George L. Gurney novel is coming out. But I ask myself, "Can he do it again and pull off another fascinating story?" I also ask myself, "What will he write now, another cookbook, a mystery or a spy novel?” No matter what George produces I know it will be well written and leave me wanting more "...and four to go." does not disappoint.
Carla on Amazon wrote:
I had the privilege of reading these stories while they were being created. Each one, masterfully crafted with a twist at the end. You read one and then, like your favorite treat, you must have another..
darlene on Amazon wrote:
I really enjoyed reading this book. I have an extremely busy schedule and dont have time for reading, but this book was perfect for picking up during my lunch breaks or occasionally when my boss isn't looking xD I have already given it out for friends to read.
The short stories sweep you along with gratifying sink-into-your-deck-chair ease. An enjoyable read!!!
and other stories
Size: 5.00 x 8.00 in
A collection of spiritual and inspirational stories and poems.
Bernadette Crepeau on Amazon wrote:
Last night, I sat down to read a few poems from a book called The Water Jar and while it wasn’t at all what I expected, I have to admit, I couldn’t put it down. The first story reminded me of one of the Letters written by Paul, in the New Testament. The scholarly, well-researched writing mimics the tone and voice of characters that once lived in ancient Jerusalem and Bethany. Eleazar is a young man who carries water in a large jug. He grows up to be a monk, but first there are important lessons to learn from Yeshua the Nazarene.
All the stories seem to have a faith-based connection weaving through the words, as well as a good deal of research. In Brave New World, the author delves into technology, touching on important issues related to the future of war.
My favorite story, called Knights before Christmas, brings together two pilots, during WWI; one British, and the other German. While shot and hanging in a precarious situation, they both communicate and reflect on the meaning of Christmas. I especially loved the quote from his grandmother that Leftenant Brian Goode recalled, about snow covering evil at Christmas, to keep Christ from being offended. I don’t want to ruin the plot by giving more away, but it’s an enjoyable read.
Interspersed with these incredible tales are a few poems. My favorite one is titled, Elsinore Oak, and as my eyes moved down the page, I could almost imagine those vaqueros, driving the cattle through the stifling hot valley. A place that today...could use a hefty Water Jar.
In writing, The Water Jar, George clearly brings home the horror and senselessness of war. Although I believe as Lewis Carroll once said, “Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality,” and prefer to read and write fiction as far from reality as possible. I find myself picking up “The Water Jar” by George L. Gurney, reading one of his soul-wrenching short stories and when I am finished, saying a prayer for world peace, hope you find yourself doing the same.
Size: 5.06 x 7.81 in
Eleven-year-old Monte Eddington discovers a handcuffed body floating face down in San Francisco Bay. Homicide detective Alan Wang and Rebecca Quinn confront blind leads, racial tensions and possible mob connections that yield more questions than answers.
Stakes escalate when Wang's girlfriend, crime beat reporter Evelyn Lien-ting is threatened. Sinister implications from Wang's old nemesis lead to a catastrophic conclusion. Who survives?
Carol L Headley on Amazon wrote:
I like George Gurney's writing style. I also connected with the main character, Alan Wang.
Charlene T. on Amazon wrote:
Can't wait for #3
Lynne M. Spreen on Amazon wrote:
I loved it. I felt I got to know the characters introduced in the first novel, Counterfeit Conspiracy, on an even more personal level. Sinister Intentions had some twists and surprises which made you want to keep turning the page. The author gave us more than one plot to follow, like putting together a jigsaw puzzle and tied them together nicely in the end, yet still leaving us wanting more. Can't wait for the next sequel in this trilogy!
I like the idea of a cerebral police officer who has a Buddhist approach to his life and work. George Gurney has invented a winner with his Detective Wang series.
Size: 5.06 x 7.81 in
In book 4 of the Alan Wang Detective Series, homicide detectives Alan Wang and Rebecca Quinn deal with difficult clues and strange circumstances in solving murders, attending the trial of a long time nemesis, and handling personal crises that threaten their well being and ability to work.
- An Accidental Fox
An Accidental Fox is number 5 in the Alan Wang Detective Mystery Series. Although Detective Alan Wang is in this story, the main focus is on his temporary partner from Book 3 (Heroin, Lobsters & Pandas). Dexter Kimani, a transplanted African policeman is working homicide in Miami.
He finds a strange murder case quickly becomes something much more sinister and dangerous, the more he seeks a solution. A long distance chase of the Hounds and Fox ensues, with Kimani's life in the balance and a significant disaster to the world banking system, if he fails.
Best in the series
Size: 5.06 x 7.81 in
Drug smuggling, blackmail, murder and human trafficking. Detective Alan Wang is working the sweltering streets of Miami with a temporary partner.
Interdepartmental bias and cultural differences bring tension and distrust he's not familiar with. From Miami to San Francisco to Hong Kong and Southeast China, unpleasantness infested with malevolent intentions fill every aspect of the detective's proceedings.
alan on Amazon wrote:
Fast moving. Authors knowledge of the surrounding areas adds to the story. Number 3 in the series let’s you learn more about the characters.
Bernadette Crepeau on Amazon wrote:
Gurney propels his protagonists Lt. Alan Wang and newspaper columnist Evelyn Lien-ting, Wang's fiancee, across the continent and across the world, with me following on their heels flipping pages all the way. Well-crafted dialog reveals other characters as clearly as if I am sitting next to them. Gurney sparks gunfire, corruption, romance, and suspense on a world-wide scale while keeping lovers, Wang and Lien-ting apart. More please.
Another win for George L. Gurney! I am an avid fan of action-packed mysteries and Lt. Wang never fails. Human trafficking, drugs, and murder, all presented with common sense, authentic dialog, equals a book that is hard to put down.
Size: 5.01 x 7.80 in
This book is the first in the series of Detective Alan Wang Mysteries. Alan Wang is an eighteen-year-old football player, the largest on the team as they play the final game of the year against their greatest rival. A tragedy at the end of the game sets the stage for a life-long relationship between Wang and his best friend, Bobby Lee Weaver.
The story jumps to the anniversary of Wang's fifteenth year as a homicide cop for the San Francisco Police Department. During his annual vacation in Arizona, he helps a friend solve a horse rustling operation.
Back in the city, he is joined by his new partner, a fiery Irish lass, Rebecca Quinn. They are quickly embroiled in a series of murders, kidnappings and counterfeiting which introduces the big detective to his nemesis for some time to come.
Charlene T. on Amazon wrote:
Detective Alan Wang seems like a cross between an innocent Forrest Gump and a clever, young Charlie Chan on steroids with a husky Samoan-strand thrown in for good measure. Don’t get caught between Wang and a hearty breakfast, it could get ugly. Not your usual homicide detective. Likable characters and well-written prose make this a fun read.
Karen Ray on Amazon wrote:
I loved it! Characters are described in great detail so you feel a connection with them. They are introduced to the story as it unfolds so the flow is not lost. The author brought you right into the drama and made you connect with the adventure Detective Alan Wang was on, while keeping the suspense just out of reach....a real page-turner. Can't wait for the sequel!
I fully enjoyed reading both the Alan Wang Mysteries to date, and I am looking forward to #3. They are well written and I enjoyed meeting each new character as they came along. I look forward to the next book in the series!!