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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Story and Adventure: together with the dog that didn't bark!, 19 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: Stones into Schools (Kindle Edition)
This is really good story. It is a story that no one knows, on average. No one hears that good things are happening in Afghanistan. No one knows that villages and other communities are able to tell the Taliban to leave them alone and get away with it.

A colleague recommended this book to me at a conference. I had just presented a paper on the work I did in Kabul in setting up a TVET college there and this colleague mentioned Greg Mortenson's book to me. I bought the book and read it and was essentially proud of the work that Mortenson and his colleagues have done.

Trials, tribulations, death and near death. Impossible feats of endurance. Getting lorries to go where they didn't even know there were lorries. This is a fascinating tale of how to overcome adversity in all its forms.

I take my hat off to Mortenson for having the vision and the courage to do what he has done: dozens of schools, particularly girls' schools, carved out of the rocks of Afghan society. All done by going out on the stump and raising the money: no begging bowl but a promise that the money will be well spent. A promise that bribes will never be paid. A promise that a school will be built here, there, everywhere.

One significant feature of the book is sometimes what it doesn't say rather than what it does say! Having worked in Afghanistan I know how intractable their civil servants can be. I know the pressure that people face to favour X over Y. I know the threats of violence that are meted out at a minute's notice and against almost anyone at any time. There are pressures from ordinary people that can have government ministers quaking and changing their policies. Then there is the corruption. The stalling of projects. The threats of arrest and imprisonment. Mortenson wants to continue to work in that environment so he cannot discuss many of these issues although he does address some of them.

Nevertheless, the major achievement is that this book shows that out of the strong came forth sweetness. There are girls and women in Afghanistan now who are making their mark because of the opportunities afforded them by Mortenson's work and this is fantastic.

Read the book and learn to switch off the violence obsessed news reports.
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Location: Halifax West Yorkshire

Top Reviewer Ranking: 21,198