Three Cups of Tea

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

This is an as-told-to biography of American Greg Mortenson, who has devoted his life to building schools in the remotest mountains of Pakistan. After a failed attempt to scale the earth's second highest peak, K2, he stumbles into an isolated mountain village, where he resolves to repay the generosity of the village leader and his people by building them a school. Mortenson's struggle to fulfill that promise and then committing himself to fund raising and building many more schools, for both boys and girls in this Muslim country, is the central subject of this long, well detailed book.


Rising gamely to meet all obstacles, including his own naivte, errors in judgment, and lack of financial resources, Mortenson falls back on skills and values learned as the son of Lutheran missionaries in Africa. Along the way he encounters others who have the money, the connections, and the abilities to help him on his mission, in both the U.S. and Pakistan. There are frustrations that would discourage the best of us, and there are sudden unexpected turns of fortune that rescue his efforts from oblivion. The book is a lesson in how a real field of dreams comes into being, and it is a quiet rebuff to those who seek change and order in the world's trouble spots through shock-and-awe military might.

Writer David Relin's worshipful account of Mortenson's career draws heavily on "Parade"-style drama, suspense, and sentiment. At times readers may yearn for more objectivity and wonder how much Relin might be glossing over his subject. Still, the story has a momentum of its own, and you read on, as Mortenson's fragile achievements are threatened by other forces set loose by the anti-West indoctrination of Saudi-funded madrassah schools, the emergence of the Talibabn, and the post-9/11 attacks on Afghanistan. Recommended for readers who enjoy heartfelt and inspiring stories of unusual achievement by heroically generous individuals.
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (UK) (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141034262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141034263
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces


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