(Gatekeepers to the West)

Joyce Hall Williams
Infinity Publishing.com, Haverford Pennsylvania, 2001
ISBN 0-7414-0276-9

Arriving in Romania only a year after the Revolution of 1989, the American privatization team found a people cut off from the world, frozen in the aftermath of World War II.

Were Romanians truly turncoats in both of the twentieth century's world wars? Did they choose to go Communist, or were they a trophy of war?

Who were their Daco-Roman ancestors, and did they disappear during the Slav-Turanic invasions? Is America the "new" Roman Empire? How have Romanians kept their church doors open? Do they extend religious freedom to others?

Combining information gleaned from centuries of oral history with conversations with those who successfully staged the Revolution of 1989, A VOLUNTEER IN ROMANIA presents the "other side" of the story.

Joyce Hall Williams traveled with a team of experts whose mission it was to introduce private enterprise to the Romanians, who had been long secluded behind the "Iron Curtain".

A former reporter, Williams majored in both sociology and English while in college. She has lived, taught, and written about several countries in Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. She lives with her husband, Lew, in Florence, Alabama.


Joyce Hall Williams is a native of Tennessee and a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a major in sociology. She also holds a degree from the University of North Alabama. She has had 18 years teaching experience in Florida, Asia and Africa. She has also taught English and sociology at Faulkner University, Florence campus, and at the Northwest Alabama State Junior College, now Shoals Community College.

She has been published by the "Knoxville News Sentinel," "Nashville Tennessean," "Southern Agriculturist," Standard Publishing Company, "Baby Talk," and in the 1989 0. Henry Anthology of Short Stories.

In 1996, she read an excerpt from remarks made by United States Ambassador to Romania, David Funderburk, which affirmed that the western world does indeed owe a debt of gratitude to the people of Romania for serving as a buffer zone to protect civilized Europe from barbarians. He also confirmed the Romanian belief that they are direct descendants of the ancient Roman Empire and that, through all the years of occupation, they have remained faithful to the Romanian Orthodox Church. With this encouragement, she continued in her project to tell the story of Romania in an informal, first-hand writing style, for it is the American people, only, who can effectively welcome Romanians into the free world.