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Book details
  • SubGenre:Personal Memoirs
  • Language:English
  • Pages:492
  • eBook ISBN:9798350933727
  • Paperback ISBN:9798350933710

Classes of Travel

Things I Learned and Taught Along the Way

by Edward August Schack

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"Classes of Travel" recounts lessons learned and taught in dozens of trips around the globe by a man of contradictions teaching English to university students, Thai high school students and teachers as a Peace Corps Volunteer, Saudi military personnel, refugees from Southeast Asia and others, serving on the front lines of the so-called "war on drugs" as a U.S. Customs Inspector, training border law enforcement officers in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Former Soviet Union and serving as a diplomat in Washington, D.C., Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, war-torn Afghanistan and Croatia.
The memoir begins with Schack in semi-retirement working as a receptionist at the U.S. Department of State controlling access to the department headquarters during which he interacts with foreign diplomats and people of note. Schack then takes the reader back to his beginnings in the Detroit, Michigan area where he struggles in school but finds escape in theatrical and musical performances and early experimentation with recreational drugs. He is one of the last of the pre-lottery inductees into the Army and after training is assigned as a chaplain's assistant stateside during the height of the war in Vietnam. The G.I. Bill facilitates his undergraduate studies at the university where he excels and receives appointments as a graduate assistant and teaching fellow. Degrees in hand, the author is deployed with the Peace Corps to Thailand where he spends a year teaching English at a secondary school in Chiang Rai and then a second year training teachers in the four predominantly Muslim provinces in the far south of the country. After leisurely travel home through Burma, Nepal, India, Rome and London, the author moves to Washington State to teach English to newly arrived Indochinese refugees and to work for the state government. He next takes a job teaching English and basic electronics to Saudi military personnel at a military base in Taif, Saudi Arabia. The author accepts an offer of a graduate assistantship and fellowships to study International Affairs at Ohio University and The University of Michigan during which time he meets his future wife. He moves to Washington, DC to live with her and takes a job as Santa Claus at a downtown department store where he has some humorous experiences described in the memoir. He follows this mythical gig with a job as an English as a Second Language Department head and teacher at a business college while applying for federal government positions. He is hired as a Customs Inspector in San Francisco where he eventually becomes a member of the contraband enforcement team where his great success in interdicting drug smugglers led to his assignment as an international training team leader training border law enforcement personnel all around the world. His memoir describes in detail his work and other adventures in far flung parts of the world. He followed those years with some time working on bilateral issues with the governments of Mexico and Canada before leaving Customs to join his wife on her foreign service officer assignment in Thailand. The author describes his family's time there where he also starts his work with the State Department. He returns to counternarcotics work overseeing law enforcement foreign assistance to the Former Soviet Union and then is assigned to the embassy in Armenia to manage law enforcement assistance in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. This is followed by a frustrating assignment working on development of the National Police in war-torn Afghanistan. The author returns to the U.S. and to Customs under the Department of Homeland Security to develop training before transitioning back to the State Department for work at the embassy in Croatia. The memoir describes his life there and a few years later when he returns to the Balkans. The author completed his government career as an inspector for the State Department Inspector General.
About the author
Ed Schack started life in inner city Detroit, Michigan where most of his ancestors migrated to from Europe and he grew up there and in the neighboring working class suburbs where he and his mates engaged in petty crime and suffered through public school facing likely induction into the military during the war in Vietnam. After his days in the stateside Army, Schack successfully navigated his way through undergraduate and graduate work at Eastern Michigan University and deployment to the Peace Corps in Thailand as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language which induced his lifelong lust for travel. After teaching newly arrived Indochinese Refugees in Washington State, he spent some time in Taif, Saudi Arabia in Saudi military base classrooms before returning to academia for additional graduate work at Ohio University and The University of Michigan. Following an ex-wife and daughter and future wife to Washington, DC, he landed gigs as a department store Santa Claus with some humorous consequences and as a business college English as a Second Language department head and teacher before joining the U.S. Federal Government as a Customs Inspector in San Francisco. His success on the front lines of the drug war there led to his return to classrooms as a training team leader providing counternarcotics training to border law enforcement officers around the world. In his memoir he details his work and adventures in countries off the beaten track and his meetings with somewhat famous and infamous figures. He moves on to other work for Customs including bilateral engagement with the governments of Mexico and Canada before leaving the agency to accompany his foreign service officer spouse on her assignment to the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok. Schack joined the State Department there and was soon back in the world of counternarcotics first in DC overseeing law enforcement foreign assistance in the countries of the Former Soviet Union and then on the ground in Armenia as the narcotics affairs officer managing the assistance programs in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Then it was on to war torn Afghanistan and frustrating work trying to support the development of the Afghan National Police to prepare them to keep the peace we hoped to achieve there. Schack returned for some years to a new Customs under the Department of Homeland Security to help develop training programs before deploying again with the State Department for work as a management officer at the embassy in Croatia. He ended his formal government career as an inspector for the State Department Inspector General. In semi-retirement, Schack works occasionally controlling access to State Department headquarters between international travel opportunities including a recent 15-month stay in Belgrade, Serbia, where his wife worked at the embassy and they travelled extensively around the Balkans and other parts of Europe which he describes in the latter part of his memoir.