Here is the story of Greg Mortenson, a mountain climber who in 1993 was unable to complete his ascent of the Himalayan Mountain K2. He was rescued and nursed back to health by residents of a remote mountain village in Pakistan. Emotionally moved by the selfless actions of these people, Mortenson decides to dedicate his energies to building schools for the region’s children, especially the girls who at this time had no educational opportunities whatsoever. Although the region was rife with Taliban and could be dangerous for Americans, Mortenson stood by his promise. He travelled back and forth between the United States and Pakistan and Afghanistan for the next few years, coordinating funds and overseeing an increasing number of projects. These included construction of schools, bridges and other structures, and the development of small businesses by residents, especially women. The text is filled with descriptions of the people Mortenson worked with, village elders and residents and students in Asia and the donors/supporters from the United States and across the world. A collection of photos complement the narrative. This is a heartwarming story, only slightly marred by recent reports that Mortenson may have exaggerated and/or modified parts of his story.
Greg Mortenson is currently the director of the Central Asia Institute. A resident of Montana, he spends several months of the year in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
David Oliver Relin is a contributing editor for Parade magazine and Skiing magazine. He has won more than forty national awards for his work as a writer and editor.