Reflections on the Passing of a Fellow Travel Writer & the 200th Anniversary of the Monroe Doctrine, The Million Mile Walker Dispatch, May 2023 Issue


Dear Friends and Colleagues from Around the World,

Today I’ll start with a special homage to a fellow freelance and travel writer recently passed on.  Culture Watch will focus on the 200th anniversary of the Monroe Doctrine and its impact on our relations with our neighbors to the south and our own Native American neighbors.  My Writing and Reviews include reflections on the demise of my favorite literary journal and my latest book review about my hometown of Evergreen, Colorado, and The Will To See, by a French philosopher.  I’ll also share the classic scene with Ernest Hemmingway in Midnight in Paris. What Others Are Saying and Voices in Action will include a memorable quote from Rev. Lawson.  The Calendar will highlight my participation in the PEN America hosted Freedom of the Press Day event.

Tom Miller spent years writing about the Americas, Africa, and Spain. His many books have been uniformly praised, and as a freelance writer for more than fifty years, he has been, as he puts it, “successfully unemployed.”

Our paths crossed after I read an article in the Peace Corps Worldwide blog on February 18, 2018, entitled, “Tom Miller seeks writer for Moritz Thomsen book (Ecuador).” I took up the mantle and worked with Miller (until his passing in December 2022) on my forthcoming book, Moritz Thomsen: The Great American Writer You Might Not Have Heard Of.

Miller walked me through the five boxes of materials on Thomsen at the Special Collections of the University of Arizona and coached my writing. Over the years, I’ve read and reviewed many of his books, including his memoir, Where Was I?  All of which are in my website’s “Library.”

One shared challenge we faced was finding a publisher for the Moritz Thomsen book and Tom’s memoir, Where Was I? A Travel Writer’s Memoir. His struggle with Parkinson’s was front and center, “My writing has been stalled by a medical condition, a situation that has given me pause to reflect on my career and its first-person nature….” Here’s the rest of my homage to this impressive travel writer and mentor.

Culture Watch

 As our country continues to struggle with what to do with the immigrants knocking at our door, this seemed a good time to reflect on the importance of the 200th Anniversary of the Monroe Doctrine, which explains why so many countries in the Western Hemisphere are still dysfunctional and unable to support the majority of the citizens.

A recent podcast of “Democracy Now!” reminds us that it has been 200 years since the Monroe Doctrine, the foreign policy directive from President James Monroe, effectively declared all of Latin America a U.S. sphere of influence. For the past two centuries, the Monroe Doctrine has been repeatedly used to justify scores of invasions, interventions, and CIA regime changes in the Americas. The 1954 CIA-supported coup in Guatemala is central to my writing. Juan Gonzalez, Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin, and The Red Nation’s Nick Estes discuss the Monroe Doctrine’s long and brutal legacy within U.S. imperialism.

Senator Bernie Sanders laid out the timely nature of the anniversary:

Mr. President Vladimir Putin may be a liar and a demagogue. Still, it is hypocritical for the United States to insist that we, as a nation, do not accept the principle of spheres of influence… And under this doctrine, the United States has undermined and overthrown at least a dozen countries throughout Latin America, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Nick Estes summed up the implications of this doctrine on Native Americans in our own country, “Coincidentally, in 1823, the year that the Monroe Doctrine was enunciated, you also had Chief Justice John Marshall, who declared that the United States had inherited the Doctrine of Discovery or the discovery principle from previous colonizing powers”. Both doctrines were based on an assumption of the inferiority of non-white populations. Here are some details.

The Monroe Doctrine, Revisited: How 200 Years of U.S. Policy Have Helped to Destabilize the Americas | Democracy Now!

My Writing, Interviews, and Reviews

For two bonus book reviews, click twice on the Million Mile Walker Poster at the top for my column in the June/July editions of the Arizona Authors Association newsletter, Authors Digest.

As a contributing member of the Revue magazine Team for the last five years, I’m saddened to report that this will be the last issue after 31 years of stellar stories and photographs of Guatemala. Terry & John Biskovich have a rich legacy. For my part, I’ll take my 19 essays as the basis for my forthcoming book, The Guatemala Reader: What You Might Not Know And Why You Should Care. This is a foray into Central American topography and history—more than a travel narrative, profiling Guatemalan artists and advocates struggling for better lives and a more inclusive, just society. Here are some of my favorite essays over the last five years:

I’ve seen Bernard-Henri Lévy on PBS, Amanpour, and Democracy Now over the last few months, and my middle daughter, who studied in France, gifted me this book. I soon learned that the author is a renowned public intellectual/philosopher who has reported on human rights abuses worldwide for over 50 years.

This book follows the intrepid Lévy into eight international hotspots—Nigeria; Syrian and Iraqi Kurdistan; Ukraine; Somalia; Bangladesh; Lesbos, Greece; Libya; and Afghanistan—that have escaped global attention or active response.

Lévy’s book was not my most effortless read, but this intrepid philosopher and writer revealed some of the most troubled parts of the world.

I consider Evergreen, Colorado, my “hometown,” although I’ve lived in many other places. I noticed that the author of this book, John Steinle, was the administrator of the Hiwan Homestead Museum, where my mother, Marion, was the head of the Busy Bee Quilters.

I highlight some of the more iconic sights of this foothills community and some reflections and stories of my own. This book is part of a collection of local history books featuring millions of vintage images: I found some 284 books on their website about Colorado, including Conifer. So check them out to see if your hometown is represented!

Theatrical Release Poster

Enjoy this clip of the scene from Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris when Gill meets Hemingway in a bar in Paris—a favorite scene by more than just this writer. A must-see in my book.

What Others Are Saying

Hi Mark,

Thank you so much for your very kind words. Working with you has been a pleasure, and your work has added a lot to the magazine.

Best of luck with publishing the essays – we would be happy and honored to help with the introduction if you want…


We will stay in touch and wish you all the best in your next endeavors.

Take care,

John and Terry Biskovich, Editors of Revue, Guatemala’s English language


Thanks, Mark.

I enjoyed the essay.

Someone might write a book about you, your travels, and your writing someday.

Paul Hickey, Friend, Fellow Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Guatemala, and a Fisheries Expert. Referring to my homage to Tom Miller.

Voices in Action

“We must learn to work and struggle, not for simply what we see in front of us. We must work that we might be citizens of a country that has not yet appeared. Rev. James M. Lawson Jr.

Ignorance is not bliss; it’s stupid. Banning books shows you don’t trust your kids to think, and you don’t trust yourself to … talk to them. ― Anna Quindlen


A Celebration of World Press Freedom Day!

My daughter, Nicolle, and I attended the event at Changing Hands Bookstore hosted by PEN America, highlighting reps from the print and radio. Harrowing stories included how many of them are threatened and harassed, especially after some politicians say they’re “enemies of the people,” when a free press is a bulwark of any viable democracy honor of the World.


You can find my 75 book reviews and 28 articles, plus several videos, on my website, including a reduced price for my new book if you read it and pass it along to your local library “Follow” me on Twitter—at and Facebook at for the latest international affairs and literature. And, as always, if you’ve read “Different Latitudes: My Life in the Peace Corps and Beyond,” rate it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and GoodReads, or if you don’t have it, please consider purchasing it or, better still, purchase my latest book, My Saddest Pleasures: 50 Years on the Road


Mark D. Walker


Posted in All, Book Reviews: Latin America, Book Reviews: Non-fiction, Book Reviews: Travel, Million Mile Walker Newsletter and tagged , , , , , , .