Anatoli Boukreev, Above the Clouds, Griffin: When Anatoli Boukreev died on the slopes of Annapurna on Christmas day, 1997, the world lost one of the greatest adventurers of our time.
In Above the Clouds, both the man and his incredible climbs on Mt. McKinley, K2, Makalu, Manaslu, and Everest-including his diary entries on the infamous 1996 disaster, written shortly after his return-are immortalized. There also are minute technical details about the skill of mountain climbing, as well as personal reflections on what life means to someone who risks it every day. Fully illustrated with gorgeous color photos, Above the Clouds is a unique and breathtaking look at the world from its most remote peaks.
Mukhamet Shayakhmetov, The Silent Steppe, Stacey International: The Silent Steppe is an enthralling story of a family living through one of the most traumatic periods of Soviet history, as seen through the eyes of a young boy growing up in a family of Kazakh nomads. It encompasses the horrors of political persecution and famine in the 1930s, and culminates in the author’s first hand account of the Battle of Stalingrad and his long trek home through freezing winter conditions after being wounded and discharged from the Red Army.
Mukhamet Shayakhmetov, A Kazakh Teacher’s Story, Stacey International: This book begins where The Silent Steppe left off. It is early 1945, and the author, Mukhamet, still recuperating from serious war injuries, has travelled thousands of kilometres back to his home village in the eastern Kazakhstan steppe.
As he encounters scenes of desperate poverty, he quickly realises the immense sacrifices made by local people, and particularly women, while the able-bodied men were away fighting. Mukhamet endeavours to pick up the pieces of his pre-war life, working hard to support his extended family, marrying, continuing his education, and eventually embarking on a life in teaching dedicated to giving young people the best education possible.
Through his insightful portraits of local party bosses, district officials and bureaucrats, and tales of the vicissitudes of daily life, a broader, more personal picture emerges of life under Stalin, and of his pervading shadow decades on. The author’s moral integrity, stoicism and profound respect for the struggles of the common people stand out in this memoir of a life of self-effacing dedication.