New Book Challenges Peace Corps at 50th Anniversary - Agency Blocks Distribution

Sep 20, 2011, 11:13 ET from Dr. J. Larry Brown

NEW YORK, Sept. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Dr. J. Larry Brown, a veteran of the Peace Corps between 1966-2009, is in Washington, D.C. to meet with Peace Corps officials and members of Congress to discuss reforms. Brown's just released book, Peasants Come Last: A Memoir of the Peace Corps at Fifty, challenges that the agency's leadership has lost its passion and mission. This book is timely as many Peace Corps' former volunteers are gathering in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the half-century mark of John F. Kennedy's cherished New Frontier dream.

"Probably few people love the Peace Corps more than I do," Brown recently explained, "but loving it means supporting it and being honest about its weaknesses." His new book chronicles how much the agency has changed since the days of President John F. Kennedy and Director Sargent Shriver. Brown writes that Peace Corps leadership today is "uncreative, unimaginative and often ineffective."

In 2009, Brown served as Peace Corps Country Director in Uganda, an experience that provided the setting for Peasants Come Last. He also served as an early Peace Corps Volunteer in India from 1966-68, and as Assistant Director of Peace Corps Washington from 1977-78 under President Jimmy Carter. Brown lauds the extraordinary service of the 200,000 volunteers who have served. "But the good that volunteers do frequently is despite Washington, not because of it," Brown charges. "The headquarters bureaucracy has become unimaginative, unmoving, and unkind to peasants around the world."

Brown is no newcomer to the development field. A Harvard University faculty member for many years, he also directed the National Center on Hunger and Poverty, and served as chairman of Oxfam America.  Brown's previous books include Building a Real Ownership Society and Living Hungry in America. He has testified many times at Congressional hearings on public policy issues, and appeared on top television and radio news programs, such as CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, ABC World News, Nightline, Good Morning America, The Today Show, MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour, Frontline, CNN News, BBC Radio News and National Public Radio.

Brown will attend the Library of Congress Presents Peace Corps Authors Luncheon on Sept. 22nd at noon to 3:00 pm.  He will also be available at the National Peace Corps Association at 10:00 am to 11:00 am on Sept. 23rd.

For information or to schedule interviews, contact Susan Rosenthal at (917)-617-0546 or

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