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If You Turn to Look Back combines memoir with political, social, and economic investigations of what it means to be an American and a citizen of the world. American influence is ubiquitous in South America, and If You Turn to Look Back explores these relationships in a personal context. For Tom Hazuka was once part of that influence, from 1978-1980 as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Chile, first in the capital of Santiago, then in the far northern city of Arica, near the Peruvian border.


In a chain of events springing from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in 2003 Hazuka returned to Chile to examine changes in the country, the people and himself. He left Chile at twenty-four and returned at forty-seven. Every human knows what it's like to wonder where time goes, and to reflect on what has been gained and lost over the years.

One variable that has not changed for Hazuka is that he is an American. In South America, like it or not he is a representative in developing nations of the richest and most powerful country on the planet. The intricacies of that relationship and the dynamics it creates are the focus of If You Turn to Look Back.

If You Turn to Look Back

  • Tom Hazuka was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Chile from 1978-1980, during the Pinochet dictatorship which began with a violent military overthrow of the elected government on September 11, 1973. On the day after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Tom received an email from a Chilean friend with "We Are in Pain" in the subject line, and in a flash knew it was time to return to Chile. If You Turn to Look Back chronicles that return, and the changes in the author and the world he once knew. By examining the particular details of his personal experiences, he draws universal conclusions that connect to all of us.

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