In 1990, sixty-five-year-old activist and grandmother Barbara Bick traveled with a women’s delegation to Afghanistan for what she thought would be her last great adventure. Instead, Bick forged deep friendships with her Afghan hosts and in the ensuing years, she watched with horror as the Taliban took over most of Afghanistan and instituted fiercely anti-woman policies.Eleven years later, at age 76, Bick returned to Afghanistan, this time to an even more dangerous terrain than Kabul: she traveled to the region controlled by the Northern Alliance, an anti-Taliban militia. She found herself in early September 2001 at a compound where Ahmad Shah Massoud, a leader of the Northern Alliance, was also staying. Bick walked out of the compound on September 9; minutes later Taliban infiltrators assassinated Massoud, a prelude to the al Qaeda attacks on the United States.In the years that followed, the US government became deeply involved in Afghanistan, and Bick decided to go back one more time, to see how women were faring under the new government. In 2004, when she returned, she was one of the few Western women able to bring years of experience to understanding the country’s trauma. Walking the Precipice gives new insight into the people, politics, and culture of a country that is on everyone’s radar-for its beauty, and for its tragic place history.