Adventures in Service with Peace Corps in Niger. By James R. Bullington (BookSurge, 2007, 215 pp. $16.99; available on Amazon.com.)
The author of this informative collection of well-organized and clearly written essays treats of two subjects not widely addressed or even thought about in these days of so much focus on terrorism and Middle East wars and rumors of wars. The country of Niger--not Nigeria, its neighbor to the south--has a peripheral link with the war in Iraq, in that it was the site of supposed efforts by Saddam Hussein to obtain WMD materials just prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2002. Otherwise little noticed by the rest of the world since it gained its independence from France in 1960, Niger (which holds the distinction of being perhaps the worldIs poorest country) very briefly had headline attention around the world.
The other story line in this collection of articles by Ambassador Jim Bullington concerns an organization, AmericaIs Peace Corps, that President Kennedy created by Executive Order back in 1961. While by no means as little known to Americans as the nation of Niger, the Peace Corps nonetheless in recent years has received relatively little publicity and attention in the United States, as well as abroad. Nothing finer than this compendium could be found to inform the reading public about the life of Peace Corps Volunteers and their accomplishments in sub-Saharan
Africa--in Niger to be precise. About 2,800 Americans, mostly young people, have served there over the years with the Peace Corps. More than 400 of these Volunteers took up their duties in the country under the leadership of Ambassador Bullington during his tenure in Niamey as Peace Corps Director.
The authorIs articles address the topics of both Niger and the Peace Corps in Niger. He provides a stream of graphic descriptions of the country and accounts of the life and activities of American Volunteers in Niger. Beginning in 2000 and continuing well into 2006, as Peace Corps/Niger country director--and a retired career Foreign Service ambassador--he forwarded these descriptive, highly informative messages that this journal, American Diplomacy, published online under the heading Letters From Niger.The collection in Adventures in Service totals more than twenty lengthy letters, with many illustrations, covering topics ranging from a to z: from Agadez to Zinder, from agriculture to zoology. The author includes a brief account of the country's two uranium...