Saturday, March 27, 2010

Review: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin

First Line: In Pakistan's Karakoram, bristling across an area barely one hundred miles wide, more than sixty of the world's tallest mountains lord their severe alpine beauty over a witnessless high-altitude wilderness.

From the back cover: In 1993 a mountaineer named Greg Mortenson drifted into an impoverished Pakistan village in the Karakoram mountains after a failed attempt to climb K2. Moved by the inhabitants' kindness, he promised to return and build a school. Three Cups of Tea is the story of that promise and its extraordinary outcome. Over the next decade Mortenson built not just one but fifty-five schools - especially for girls - in the forbidding terrain that gave birth to the Taliban. His story is at once a riveting adventure and a testament to the power of the humanitarian spirit.

My thoughts: I found this story to be incredibly powerful. What should have been a relatively routine hike up a mountain transformed one man from a mountaineer to a humanitarian with a single purpose to his life - helping those with almost nothing be able to educate their children. Greg Mortenson took a failure and turned it into what has become a hard stance against terrorism - educate the children, giving them tools to do something with their lives instead of turning to the Taliban. It truly shows how one person can indeed make a difference.

The book's title comes from a Balti proverb: "The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family..." Greg Mortenson did become family to the people and villages where he built his schools.

Greg's story does not end in Three Cups of Tea. This book only chronicles his work up to 2003, where he was primarily working in Pakistan. His new book, Stones into Schools, picks up the story and chronicles his work in Afganistan. This book was just released in December of 2009 and is now on my TBR list.


  1. Followed from the blog Hop. Love your button!

    Love this review- I'm adding it my TBR list.

  2. Hey there, just dropping by on the hop and have become a new follower.

    I'm really looking forward to reading this one, as it has been on my list for some time. I think it's time I prioritized it.

    You can visit my blog here if you're interested.

    Happy Reading!


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