Born in Santa Monica in 1947, Reilly Ridgell’s early life was defined by his father’s Air Force career. Moving every year or so, he spent time in California, Maine, Guam, Delaware, Illinois, and Colorado. Ridgell earned a Bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA in 1969.He moved on to UC Santa Barbara for graduate school as he earned a master’s degree, again in political science, in 1970.

His master’s degree proved to be useless in finding a job in the Los Angeles of 1970. After a year of alternating unemployment with minimum wage jobs, he fulfilled a long standing dream of his and joined the Peace Corps.

After training on the Big Island of Hawaii, Ridgell was sent to what was then called the Truk District of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. Stationed on Puluwat, an atoll 180 miles west of the main island of Truk (Chuuk), he taught English and trained local teachers. During his second year he traveled around among four islands, often by sailing canoe, training brand new teachers. After Peace Corps, Ridgell took a contract with the local government and stayed in Chuuk for two more years, moving to Guam, where he’d gone to second and third grade, in 1975.

On Guam he taught high school and worked part time as a disc jockey at a progressive rock station. By 1980 he had joined the faculty of Guam Community College as an assistant professor. He is currently a dean at the College.

Noticing the dearth of material on the Pacific Islands, he wrote a textbook, PACIFIC NATIONS AND TERRITORIES, covering the islands of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia. Published by the College, it was a great success, filling a need long ignored need. Bess Press in Hawaii picked it up for a second, third, and fourth edition. The book has been in print since 1983. An elementary version, PACIFIC NEIGHBORS, is now in its second edition.

In 1991, the University of Guam published his short story anthology "Bending to the Trade Winds, Stories of the Peace Corps Experience in Micronesia." It is available through Amazon.

In the 1980s he began work on a novel set in Micronesia. Written as an adult adventure/chase story the plot centers on a former Peace Corps volunteer who kills a mob figure in revenge for the killing of his wife and brother, then runs to the islands of Micronesia to elude hit men sent by his victim’s father. He didn’t find a publisher, Blue Ocean Books, until 2010. The novel, GREEN PEARL ODYSSEY, is available through Amazon and other book selling sites.

His current novel, published by Savant Books and Publications is THE ISLA VISTA CRUCIBLE. Writing it gave him the opportunity to wallow in nostalgia and see if he could recapture the spirit of his experiences at University of California at Santa Barbara in 1969-1970.

Reilly Ridgell
Author of THE ISLA VISTA CRUCIBLE (Savant 2012)