The inspiring account of one man’s campaign to build schools in the remote mountains of Pakistan. After an unsuccessful mountain climbing attempt, an exhausted Greg Mortenson is taken in by the people of a poor Pakistani village and nursed back to health. Inspired by their kindness and moved by their poverty, Mortenson promises to return and build them a school. When he gets back to the US, he finds that fundraising is a difficult and frustrating process for an inexperienced, one-man mission. While living in his car and saving every possible penny from his wages as a nurse, Mortenson is finally able to find a donor willing to take a chance. He returns to Pakistan and begins his incredible work.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
This is truly an amazing story and the reader cannot fail to be fascinated by the determination and accomplishments of the protagonist. However, the story (by journalist David Olivery Relin) is told in a somewhat dry style which tends to bog down in detail and background history. Mortenson was far ahead of his time in emphasizing the benefits of educating women, and in recognizing that the seeds of religious extremism and terrorism are easily planted where access to education has been limited. We were very interested in his early experiences with the Taliban, and his treatment by Americans after 9/11. We speculated that Mortenson might not be an easy person to be friends with, and felt that his wife and children also deserved to be recognized for the sacrifices they continue to make for his dream.