American Taboo: A Murder in the Peace Corps (P.S.) by Philip Weiss

By Philip Weiss

In 1975, a brand new staff of Peace Corps volunteers landed at the island country of Tonga. between them was once Deborah Gardner -- a stunning twenty-three-year-old who, within the following yr, will be stabbed twenty-two instances and left for lifeless inside of her hut. one other volunteer grew to become himself in to the Tongan police, and lots of of the opposite americans have been definite he had dedicated the crime. yet due to the kingdom division, he lower back domestic a unfastened guy. even if 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 proof of this gruesome case with the fervor of an avenging angel" (Chicago Tribune), exposing a gripping story of affection, violence, and clashing beliefs. With bravura reporting and bright, 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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Francis was dating Vickie Redpath, a short, blunt-speaking volunteer from Pennsylvania who A M E R I C A N TA B O O 35 had worn a stylish short dress to the swearing-in when just about every other woman had on long dresses, and together they put down pa¯langis who were trying to be fakatonga. Dave and Kay Johnson never seemed to have left southern California and though Paul and Laura Boucher were committed to international service, they kept a sophisticated household of the sort they had probably had back in Connecticut.

I’ve been trying to be seen more often with other guys,” she wrote to a girlfriend. “That will probably give me the name of fokisi (prostitute) because in their culture a girl is so highly chaperoned & then only seen with her husband that any girl seen with a lot of guys can be doing only one thing. ” Judy was taking care of hers. A slender blonde adventurer who’d grown up in a conservative Ohio family, she had ditched her homestay, feeling it was a government scam, to move in with the Peace Corps doctor.

They stole away to beaches, and carved their initials in a coconut tree with his knife. She wore her yellow bikini and her T-shirt from the Ram, the beer bar she’d worked at to get through college, and whipped up fruit A M E R I C A N TA B O O 25 salad with her Swiss Army knife. She bragged on his Mafia connections to her girlfriends back home while Vic said she was the most natural person he’d ever gone out with. When the eight weeks of training were done and they headed off to their swearing-in, she stopped at the mirror in the front room of Sela’s and squeezed a zit.

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