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However Tall the Mountain: A Dream, Eight Girls, and a Journey Home Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 25, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 235 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 1 edition (August 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401322492
  • ASIN: B002U0KOOK
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,009,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A group of Afghan girls are introduced to soccer American-style in this subtly composed, eye-opening tale of cultural clash and transformation. The author—the director of the Afghan Youth Sports Exchange whose own family emigrated from Kabul to Connecticut when the Soviet-backed coup took over the country in 1978—first sponsored eight Afghan girls to come to America to play soccer for six weeks in 2004. Having been grouped informally as a team only recently back in Afghanistan, where girls were rarely encouraged to play sports, the girls spent six weeks at soccer camps in America—in Washington, D.C.; Connecticut; and Cleveland—playing soccer publicly for the first time. Ayub's account explores the diverse stories of the eight girls, who had lived through the recent nightmare era of the Taliban and in some cases were prohibited from attending school; excited and a little frightened by the attention they garnered in America, the eight girls ranging from 10 to 16 then had to return to their humble, war-town families with the hope they could use their newfound leadership skills to teach others. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


In 2006 I was at home watching the ESPY Awards when two young women from Afghanistan were honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. I was moved to tears and knew immediately that these brave women needed to tell their stories. By facing extraordinary obstacles and even life-threatening danger--just by playing a sport that we take for granted--they came together to play soccer and in the process they have brought about change in a country where a woman's very identity has been brutally stripped away." -- Gretchen Young

Customer Reviews

The story is very heartwarming.
Awista Ayub's However Tall the Mountain, is the story of eight young girls and their stories of life in Afghanistan.
Karen in Mommyland
Their stories were heart-breaking but we didn't get enough detail to feel involved.
Dr. Cathy Goodwin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on November 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This review is difficult to write. I really want to like this book. I really like the story behind the book. However, the book is not well-written. Some of the book is written in the present-tense, and other parts in the past-tense. The timeline is hard to discern, and what should have been the climax was the very first story in the book. There wasn't a clear narrative, unfortunately. Also, the writing was very amateur. Overall, the book deserves a much better editor, perhaps even a ghost writer to assist in tying all the disparate pieces together into a cohesive story. A professional writer could have made characters of these girls, engaging the reader. I have just read the book and I can hardly imagine what each girl looks like or tell you the difference between one and another. That is how the stories began to blend together.

The stories about the girls on the team jump all over the place. First, the story of the girls playing in America is told. Then, for each girl on the team, the stories of their lives before, during and after the American trip is told. The author's own reminisces are interspersed. Finally, the book ends with some of the author's interviews with sportspeople of Afghanistan who have had an influence on women's sports. I was confused by the constant jumping in time, from 2005 back to 2004 to 2006. It was unclear to me what the intention of the book was - it was neither clearly a true story told in narrative form, or a non-fiction book told in topical chapter form.

I didn't want to give it a bad review because the story it tells _is_ really interesting if you can get past these flaws. No, I wasn't glued to the book but it WAS inspirational to read about the advancements in women's sports and how it is changing these young girls.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Erin Satie VINE VOICE on August 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This sweet memoir of a girl's soccer team in Afghanistan manages to touch on many of the tougher issues facing citizens, and women in particular, in Afghanistan. The tone is light as the narrator describes a small set of teenage girls learning to pass, dribble, and cooperate on the playing field; but there are harsher moments, too, which the narrator incorporates without unnecessary drama. Soccer is considered a boy's sport in Afghanistan, so the formation of a team - and eventually a league - was frequently controversial.

Part of the story is about the intensive, six-week long training camp organized for the team of novice players in the US. The narrator describes their impressions of America and their increasing self-confidence on the field. They don't win many games, but they gain skills and expertise that make them the finest female soccer players in Afghanistan by the time they return home.

Spliced in with the narrator's account of the training camp are the stories of individual girls in the year following their trip. Most of these personal accounts are bittersweet - one of the girls goes into a severe depression because she misses the excitement and variety of her trip, and has a hard time pulling out of it. One girl betrays the others, and joins another team - her new coach wants her to invite all the girls who trained in America, but she doesn't. She wants the glory for herself. One faces extreme disapproval from her family, who don't have a problem with a girl playing soccer so much as they refuse her the right to her own pleasures, goals, or accomplishments - the head of the family, her older brother, tells her, "It is enough that you are going to school...That's all for you.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Connie G Scammell TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but after reading the previous two reviews I was expecting a story filled with horror, drama and hardship. This was, afterall, a story about girls playing soccer in Afghanistan.

The horror was there in the background whenever the Taliban was mentioned, but unlike the previous reviewers, the hardship in this story was not the Taliban, but Afghan society and their views of women or girls playing soccer. In Afghanistan girls and women play basketball or volleyball, not soccer. That's strictly a boys' and man's sport. The author and several supporters tried hard to recruit interested girls and supportive parents. (Most girls came from privileged backgrounds) Many pages were spent describing the heartache and frustration of getting a team organized, breaking glass ceilings, and finding sponsors.

Another hardship was training young teen girls who all their lives knew nothing but war, indiscriminate killings and discriminations. Tempers flew, patience was tried and broken. Getting war-torn girls to get together and get along was another battle to overcome. (Once their confidence was solidified, the team aura went better)

Most of the story describes training in either Afghanistan or the USA, organzing an official team and playing a great finale that ends with a happy end. But somehow it all just seems flat, and at times boring to the point that I wanted to put the book down because the climax of the plot wasn't developing. I almost gave this review three stars if it weren't for the overall subject, a subject that by itself should draw intereste, sympathy and passion.

But somehow, that just wasn't there in this well-intended book.
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