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 appealing twenty-three-year-old who, within the following 12 months, will be stabbed twenty-two instances and left for useless inside of her hut.
Another volunteer grew to become himself in to the Tongan police, and plenty of of the opposite americans have been convinced he had dedicated the crime. yet through the country division, he back domestic a loose guy. even if the tale was once stored 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 yank background and a profoundly relocating human tale.
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Extra info for American Taboo: A Murder in the Peace Corps
Some attribution of voices to a sniper rested on common-sense ideas of what kinds of thing a sniper would be likely to say and nonsnipers unlikely to say. Prior to Essex’s death, gunfire was reported as coming from more than one direction at a time, more frequently than one person was thought capable of firing, and from different kinds of firearms. “Gunfire seemed to be going off all over, the reports echoing off the nearby higher buildings” (S-I, 1/15/73, byline John Kifner, New York Times). Certainly some of the gunfire could be attributed to police shooting at the sniper(s)-Hernon describes undisciplined police gunfire (1978: 136) and police “shooting wildly” (1978: 187).
Others are subject to common-sense rules including the general rule of “acting like a person” (specifically, acting like one person). Throughout initial reports, common-sense claims are made about what one person (sniper or not) is capable of accomplishing. If more is done than one person can do, it follows that there must be at least a second person. Thus, “Many are still wondering how one sniper could account for so many fires, six deaths, innumerable woundings and injuries” (S-I, 1/9/73, byline Angus Lind).
Professor Kenneth Lieberman urged me forward, imagining what such a book would look like (even to back cover reviews). Two anonymous readers also gave helpful suggestions. I had the opportunity to present portions of this material at the meetings of the Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences (Boston, MA 2003) and as a keynote address at the meetings of the International Human Science Research Conference (St. Catharines, Ontario, 2004) organized by Professor Maureen Connolly. Lieutenant Stephen Carrabino of the Somerville, MA Police Department reviewed materials in light of my goal of fairly and sympathetically presenting the police involved in the event and provided help in clarifying some aspects of the police report.