This book is mainly a biography of Greg Mortenson's life as written by David Oliver Relin. Much of the book takes place in the USA. For most of the book, only glimpses are given into what life is like in Pakistan and Afghanistan--and that's mainly of the lives of the adults.
Up until page 202, the book is narrowly focused on events from Greg's point of view and is written in a "as it happened" style. This section describes his climb on K2 in Pakistan and how he lost his way when descending and ended up in a remote mountain village. It also covers his childhood, details about how he raised support in the USA to build the schools in Pakistan, and the many troubles he encountered in getting the first school built. It also covers his marriage, the births of his two children, how he was given a full-time job building school-building, how he found the staff for his new organization. It then gives a whirlwind list of schools, women's vocational centers, wells, porter schools, and so on that the organization has built.
The book makes the first school seem to be all about Greg rather than the children. It's a way for him to deal with his grief over his sister's death, to feel appreciated, and to add purpose to his life. David Relin hardly shows Greg in contact with children. However, Greg Mortenson does come across as good-hearted and determined though often naive and impatient in those first years.
As a side note, Greg was raised Christian, but he learns how to pray like Muslims as a way to make friends and he has Buddhist chants played during his daughter's birth. The book only gives a glimpse into Muslim life in Pakistan.
In the last third of the book, there were several short "how schools changed life for the children" stories and how Greg's other projects helped change life for adult women. This section also gives a good overview of what was happening politically in the region at the time (including a sudden rise in extremist schools being built in the poor areas). It also describes Greg's experiences in Pakistan when 9/11 happened and what life was like in Afghanistan after we removed the Taliban from control. This includes some local's views on the events.
I didn't find the first 201 pages of the book interesting, but I was very interested by the last third of the book. I think mountaineers might enjoy the first part of the book because it has many descriptions of climbs and mountain scenery. This section will probably also appeal to people who want to know more about Greg Mortenson or the many trials and sufferings he went through to build the schools. (The troubles are similar to that of most outreaches.)
The last third of the book will interest anyone wanting to know more about life in Pakistan and Afghanistan post-9/11 and how Greg's projects are making a difference in the lives of those living in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
This is a true story about how a mountain climber having lost his way, is rescued by the people from an obscure and isolated village high in the mountains of Pakistan. As Greg Mortenson was nursed back to health, the village chief showed him where the children had their school lessons. It consisted of a bare plot of dirt where they scratched their lessons into the dry soil. Greg was so moved that he promised he would build them a proper school. Upon returning to his home … more
This book really and truly was heart-wrenching. I cannot imagine the kind of love Mortenson had for the people in Pakistan. This book really makes a person stand back and look at what they have done with their own life. This is a good book for anyone high school age and older. It teaches a great lesson in humanity. Three Cups of Tea is not a hard read, but a good one.
I review books, do organic gardening (vegetables, fruit trees, etc.), mentor a young lady, and work with inmates at the local jail and state prison units. I live in a passive solar house (with an active … more
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Three Cups of Tea is a New York Times bestselling book by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin published by Penguin in 2006.The book describes Mortenson's transition from a mountain-climber to a humanitarian committed to reducing poverty and educating girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He did this by co-founding the "Central Asia Institute," which has built over 78 schools in the most remote areas of the countries.