The Saddest Pleasure

saddest.jpgBorn in 1915 to great wealth in Seattle, Moritz Thomsen died miserably poor in the tropics, of cholera, in 1991. He served as a bombardier in WWII, farmed in California, and at age 44 gave it all up to join the recently-formed Peace Corps. His book about that experience, Living Poor, is ranked as one of the best Peace Corps memoirs ever written. When his service was over, he chose to remain. He started a farm with an Ecuadorian friend, but that too ended in defeat. By then Thomsen was 63, and his health was already in decline.