What? A real estate “free” post? We are (after-all) versatile agents, filled with thoughts and ideas, vim and vigor, passion and nuance. The review below is written from guru of all things non-fiction: Dennis Pearce.
First, let me say that I don’t read much fiction. I think life is wild, wacky, weird, and wonderful enough that I really don’t have a strong need to search out alternate worlds, or explore fantasy dimensions. This book reinforces my belief in the surreal nature of reality, while simultaneously awakening a desire to leave a more meaningful mark on our world.
Opening in the mountains of Pakistan, the story begins with Greg becoming lost during his descent from a failed attempt on K2, in the Karakorams. After his resuscitation by a local tribe whose village he happened to stumble into, more dead than alive, Greg resolves to repay their kindness by building a school for their children. In spite of his own impoverished state, he returns to the US to begin gathering the funds to fulfill his promise, and is launched onto a path that eventually blossoms into a lifelong vocation.
The soul of the story lies in the connections that are made between our culture and the world’s ancient cultures, and how much we can learn- and have ignored. Through his efforts, Greg has become one of the few positive links we have to the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan- a region of the world that has become a focus of attention since it has become the suspected hiding place of Osama Bin Laden. Some of the characters in this story were Mujahideen fighters against the Soviet army, and were armed by our own CIA, with weapons that are now being used against us.
The secular education that Greg’s efforts have provided to over 55 villages in the region are a slender cord connecting a misunderstood corner of the world to our own- a vital bulwark against the numerous vacuous Bin laden & Saudi funded madrassas that have brainwashed an army of illiterate young men to commit mindless acts of violence. This is truly a testament to the power of education. It makes one wonder how different our current landscape could have been if we’d been putting our secret funds into teachers and books rather than tanks and bombs.
Greg Mortenson has lived a life that I sometimes must confess a longing for- one of undeterred, unflinching dedication to a single ideal. My own wanderlust nature tends to lead me down a variety of paths, never choosing that one sublime devotional mentality that some fortunate souls seem to trip onto. And Greg Mortenson is a prime example of the Charitable savant nature. His story provides hope for the futures of many cultures- our own included.
Greg will be in Seattle September 23-27 for a series of speaking and book signing engagements. For times and locations, click HERE.