War of Hearts and Minds: An American Memoir
In August of 1971, the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture, sponsoring agency for International Voluntary Services in South Vietnam, decided that IVS volunteers were not sufficiently technically oriented. This decision, made fifteen years after IVS volunteers had first arrived in South Vietnam, forced their removal from that country. Also in August of 1971, Peace Corps Thailand Group 38, a civil engineering group slated to work in the most communist sensitive and most poverty stricken areas of Thailand for Thailand's Community Development Department, arrived to become the first Peace Corps Thailand group to be trained entirely in country.
Author James Jouppi, a member of this group, documents in Part 1 of his memoir the struggle involved in working within the Thai system, his decision to terminate ahead of schedule three months into his third Peace Corps year, and the first five months of his post Peace Corps readjustment period. Augmented with maps, photography, and letters, War of Hearts and Minds shares events both large and small and offers a compelling look into both the culture of the Nixon era Peace Corps and that of staunchly anti-communist Thailand as it fought a shadow war adjoining the one raging right across the Mekong River.