By Philip Weiss
In 1975, a brand new workforce of Peace Corps volunteers landed at the island state of Tonga. between them used to be Deborah Gardner -- a gorgeous twenty-three-year-old who, within the following 12 months, will be stabbed twenty-two instances and left for lifeless inside of her hut. one other volunteer became himself in to the Tongan police, and plenty of of the opposite american citizens have been certain he had dedicated the crime. yet via the nation division, he again domestic a loose guy. even supposing the tale was once saved quiet within the usa, Deb Gardner's loss of life and the outlandish aftermath took on mythical proportions in Tonga. Now journalist Philip Weiss "shines sunlight at the evidence of this grotesque case with the fervor of an avenging angel" (Chicago Tribune), exposing a gripping story of affection, violence, and clashing beliefs. With bravura reporting and brilliant, novelistic prose, Weiss transforms a Polynesian legend right into a singular artifact of yankee background and a profoundly relocating human tale.
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Extra info for American Taboo: A Murder in the Peace Corps (P.S.)
She said she was trying to teach them to think independently, and then they reacted like she’d said something sacrilegious. “They don’t even want to have any initiative or independence of their own,” she said, and though she tried to get them to think about having control over their lives instead of being slave labor, all they seemed to want to do was get married and have babies. Emile taught art at Tonga High. At heart, he was a California bohemian. He moved easily in the Tongan demimonde. The fakaleitis who hung out across from the International Dateline Hotel did a cross-dressing fashion show for him, and he took their pictures.
Still, Emile and Dennis noticed her slender body and delicate coloring, and murmured about how she’d look with those glasses off and the hair away from her face. Suva was a real city. The Bird Lady found a red-vented bulbul’s nest, Tom went to an ashram, Emile and Dennis went down to the Indian shops. Emile looked at camera equipment he couldn’t afford, and Dennis staggered him by figuring the exchange rate instantly before purchasing a fancy Australian dive knife with a six-inch-long serrated blade and a black handle and a shiny steel bulb at the handle’s base for banging the airtank to get other divers’ attention.
A half-dozen rhododendrons. A 44 P h i l i p We i s s pretty gray-haired woman in a blue velour tracksuit opened the door but held the storm open on the chain. She looked to be about 65. Her hands were fine, like her daughter’s. “I’m researching a book about the Peace Corps—” Alice stood back as though I had pushed her, then opened the door for me, let me in. I came into a room carpeted in powder blue with couches along two walls, and Deb’s senior-year portrait from Washington State on a sideboard.
American Taboo: A Murder in the Peace Corps (P.S.) by Philip Weiss