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American Taboo: A Murder in the Peace Corps by Philip Weiss
American Taboo tells the story of the 1975 murder of Deborah Gardner, a 23-year-old Peace Corps volunteer on the island of Tonga. While on Tonga, she was threatened and stalked by another volunteer, Dennis Priven, who was obsessed with her. Peace Corps officials ignored her complaints and requests for a transfer. Priven then murdered her and confessed to the crime. Concerned more with protecting the Peace Corps than serving justice, the American government paid for his defense and helps convince a Tongan court that he was innocent by reason of insanity and that he would be institutionalized once he is returned to the US. Once released by the Tongans, the government released Priven from the Peace Corps and into the general public, without mentioning the murder in his record. Philip Weiss' documents the shameful behavior of the US government in a book that has received mostly positive reviews. The San Francisco Chronicle says, "Above all, readers will find American Taboo an important and absorbing story. On the whole, this is a book thick with energy and polished with good journalism and a writer's touch."