By Philip Weiss
In 1975, a brand new team of Peace Corps volunteers landed at the island country 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 occasions and left for lifeless inside of her hut. one other volunteer became himself in to the Tongan police, and plenty of of the opposite americans have been certain he had dedicated the crime. yet via the nation division, he again domestic a loose guy. even if the tale was once stored quiet within the usa, Deb Gardner's dying and the outlandish aftermath took on mythical proportions in Tonga. Now journalist Philip Weiss "shines sunlight at the evidence 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 brilliant, novelistic prose, Weiss transforms a Polynesian legend right into a singular artifact of yank historical past and a profoundly relocating human tale.
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Extra resources for American Taboo: A Murder in the Peace Corps (P.S.)
Some are innies and some are outies,” Emile said. The transvestites were called fakaleitis. A few of them were quite beautiful and could fool you. Emile advised the volunteers to study their hands. The real girls were called fokisis. That was Tongan transliteration for foxes, the name given to the women by the American soldiers during the war. A volunteer only had to give a fokisi a little something and she would climb on to his handlebars. A tall blond volunteer from Sonoma County who was determined not to be the Ugly American had shifted uncomfortably in his chair.
But Mimi was sickly, and became debilitated, even as the boy grew chunky and strong. Other boys called him “the Ox,” though he always had a sweetness. When the older boys tormented the younger boys, Dennis did it but his heart wasn’t in it. But watch out when he lost his temper. Ray Fruchter came down the base path in punchball and stepped on Dennis’s foot by accident, and Dennis screamed and chased him around the lot, and everyone moved out of the way. It was like Den- A M E R I C A N TA B O O 53 nis was going to kill Ray, till Ray clocked him, that was the only thing to do with him then.
Garden Court was a tidy subdivision, a dozen beige structures in a boxy troop going down a wide curl of asphalt. Alice Gardner was long gone from 2822. All four units looked empty, a FOR SALE sign hung off the carport. One unit had collection notices for a man called Trevor Lyons stuffed inside the storm door and every available crack. Alice had probably remarried. At the Seattle Public Library a woman at the genealogy desk wearing a bunch of silver New Age jewelry told me that divorcees in their forties almost always did.
American Taboo: A Murder in the Peace Corps (P.S.) by Philip Weiss