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470 of 488 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This should be essential reading for all secondary school students.
I was, until my very recent retirement, the Headteacher of a Church of England primary school where 90% of pupils were Muslim and a majority of those came from the Punjab or Kashmir. I don't normally read non-fiction, but was attracted to this book because of its links to both education and the South Asian Muslim culture.

How glad I am that I chose it. What...
Published on 1 April 2008 by Pumpkin

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Five stars to Greg, two for the book
Having read the book I really admire what Greg Mortenson has done and they way he's risked his life to help others. However the book itself was very hard going I found, not well structured with random accounts of meetings and not a clear link between the events described. One chapter didn't really seem to lead to another, it almost felt I'd started a new book each time...
Published on 24 Jun 2010 by Caroline+Kats


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470 of 488 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This should be essential reading for all secondary school students., 1 April 2008
By 
Pumpkin (West Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Three Cups Of Tea (Paperback)
I was, until my very recent retirement, the Headteacher of a Church of England primary school where 90% of pupils were Muslim and a majority of those came from the Punjab or Kashmir. I don't normally read non-fiction, but was attracted to this book because of its links to both education and the South Asian Muslim culture.

How glad I am that I chose it. What an inspirational story! I read it in two days. It gave such a true reflection of the real Islam, one which values education and most importantly values the contribution that women make to society. It reflected my experience of the Muslim culture over the many years I have worked with Muslim children and their families. I am neither a Christian, nor a Muslim, but have found that true Christians and Muslims respect each others faith.

Greg Mortenson endured great hardship, two fatwa and long separation from his family to pursue his dream of educational provision for all the children living in those isolated mountain or border regions. What a humanitarian! He really should be awarded the Nobel Peace prize.
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142 of 148 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most inspiring book i have ever read, 23 April 2008
By 
R. Durham "Rosie D" (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Three Cups Of Tea (Paperback)
I strongly, strongly urge you to buy this book. Not only is it a fascinating read and a really entertaining story, the message behind it is utterly inspiring and one which needs to be spread to as many people as possible. If only there were more people in the world like Greg, the man is incredible. I can honestly say that it has fundamentally changed my views on religion, politics and the best way to make the world a safer place for everyone. Everyone i know who has read it feels the same. You won't be disappointed.
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170 of 178 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like Mortenson, I'm a born-again humanitarian, 8 Feb 2008
By 
T. Gandhi - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Three Cups Of Tea (Paperback)
Due to lack of time, I normally take 15-20 days to get through a book. This one took only four though!

The book narrates the story of Greg Mortenson who decides to build a school for a village in the North of Pakistan. What inspired me most was the fact that Mortenson, an American national, himself lived 'on the edge' with no accomodation and barely enough money to buy the next meal. However, resolve and commitment to the cause allowed him to generate the necessary funds so that the promised school can be built.

What happened next was inevitable. The experiment proved to be such a success that one after the other he just kept on building schools and the money kept pouring into the accounts of the newly-found charity, Central Asia Institute.

If you have a spark for social responsibility, the book will serve as a catalyst to turn in to a fire. Got get it!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Five stars to Greg, two for the book, 24 Jun 2010
By 
Caroline+Kats (Breezy East Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Three Cups Of Tea (Paperback)
Having read the book I really admire what Greg Mortenson has done and they way he's risked his life to help others. However the book itself was very hard going I found, not well structured with random accounts of meetings and not a clear link between the events described. One chapter didn't really seem to lead to another, it almost felt I'd started a new book each time I got to a new chapter which was really tiring. This may be because the person who was writing it didn't actually experience what was being written about, I am not sure. I did persist to the end as it was a book group choice, and know much more now about the politics of the area etc as a result, but so many times I could have put it down and not picked it up again. However as I say I am amazed by what Greg and his team have done, a real lesson to us all to be more tolerant and not view a whole nation in a certain way because of what we are fed on the TV etc.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars amazing and important story, 6 Dec 2009
By 
John Speakman (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Three Cups Of Tea (Paperback)
Greg Mortenson was an American mountaineer. In 1993 after a failed attempt to climb K2, disoriented and both physically and mentally drained, he wandered into a village in the Karokoram mountains where he was looked after by the local people. Noticing that the village children were sitting outside to have lessons he promised the head of the village that for their kindness he would return with the resources to build them a school. This book is the story of that promise and how it grew into the Central Asian Institute (CAI) that has now built over 50 schools across the whole of northern Pakistan and Afghanistan.

There is an argument that taking books to this area will be far more effective for our long term future stability and peace than taking troops and bombs, and for this reason several people have suggested Greg Mortenson should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Having read this book I would strongly support this suggestion. It seems to me his claim to it is infinitely stronger than that of Barak Obama who had only been in office a few days when he was nominated for the prize and has just sent 30000 troops there! I hope the Nobel committee are feeling suitably sheepish.

After I finished reading the book I was astounded to see that some people had only rated it with 1 or 2 stars. One criticism in these reviews was that Mortenson gets paid for doing his work from the Institute he established while others like missionaries do similar stuff for free. However, I think this is a flawed argument. Missionaries build schools to push their religion on people. Mortenson and the CAI doesn't. This is why he has had two Fatwa's on him imposed by local mullahs over-ruled by the heads of the Shia faith who recognise that he builds schools only to promote empowerment of people in general, and women in particular. His work is valuable and by buying this book you help his work flourish. I strongly recommend you buy it, recommend it to your public library and donate to his charity.

So why not 5 stars? My only reason for not giving it 5 stars was that I found it really irritating that it was written in the third person - as if it was an objective biography, rather than a subjective autobiography. I thought my irritation at this would wear off after a few chapters but it kept resurfacing throughout the book especially when I read things like `Greg bravely chose to do x, y or z' or `Greg made the wise decision to....etc etc'. This is a guy talking about himself. It really gets annoying at times. However, apart from this it is a great book.
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83 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The enemy is ignorance", 25 July 2006
By 
Friederike Knabe "Books are funny little port... (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
These words, spoken by Pakistani Brigadier General Bashir, symbolize an underlying thread in this extraordinary story. The fight against ignorance resulting from illiteracy and complete lack of economic resources is the primary theme of award-winning Journalist David Oliver Relin's account of a man with a mission: Greg Mortenson. Ignorance of local culture and customs, racial and religious prejudice are intimately linked to the failures in achieving lasting peace in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Education of the young, and in particular girls, are offered as an essential tool against ignorance. Building schools in remote and isolated regions of Pakistan has been Mortenson's passion for 13 years. Relin traces Mortenson's travels and encounters for a period of two years, interviewing many friends - and a few sceptics - along the way and recording months of discussions with Mortenson himself. The result is an action-packed adventure story with a deep moral and emotional centre. It depicts ten years in the life of a man who turned failure into strength, growing into a great humanitarian and dedicated fighter for the rights of tens of thousands forgotten poor in the tribal areas of this powder keg region of Central Asia.

Overcoming ignorance has also been a leitmotiv for Greg himself. After abandoning his climb to the top of K2, the second largest mountain in the world, he had lost his guide and then his way on the descent. Close to exhaustion, he reached Korphe, a small village high up in the Karakoram range of the Himalayas. As the villagers nurtured him back to strength he became increasingly aware of the extreme poverty of the region and the dire conditions of the children's school. The village could not afford a school building and a teacher for only three days a week at $1 a day. The children sat on the ground in the open scratching the writing they had learned in the packed earth. Mortenson was touched by the warmth and generosity that the people had offered him and promised them to come back and build a school.

The obstacle course that Mortenson undertook to raise the funds for the school is vividly shared with us. Starting from nothing, living out of his car to save money to a benefactor's surprise gift, he managed to raise the funds to return to Korphe with the building materials stockpiled in a nearby town. Haji Ali, the Korphe village elder, accepts "Dr. Greg" into his family, recognizing his special qualities. The old man, himself illiterate, has a few lessons to share with him, important advice that will lead to the successful completion of the Korphe school three years later. The fundamental lesson was patience and listening: patience to develop relationships with the local community, sensitivity to local traditions and customs; listening to what the people had to say first and, with them, finding solutions to the problem at hand. It would also mean that real partnerships for school building developed where the local people put up the sweat equity to match his funds for building materials. Learning from his mistakes and initial naiveté Dr. Greg becomes a successful catalysts for building many more schools in other remote villages in Pakistan and later in Afghanistan. Over time, other essential programs, such as women vocational centres are also added.

Each return trip to Pakistan was a major step forward for Mortenson and his school program. What had started as a simple promise to one village, became his all-absorbing mission. The more he learned the more he became convinced that balanced, "non-extremist" education of children, and in particular girls, is a major building block in peace-building in the region. He found his vision mirrored that of many local leaders: village elders, mullahs, including the supreme leader of northern Pakistan's Shias, politicians and senior military officers. Increasingly, as his work became known, he could count on their participation and advice. They provided essential support when two fatwas were issued against him that would have forced him to leave the country. He opened a local office for his Central Asia Institute, staffed with a diverse group of advocates of his program, who took over the day-to-day management while he was "commuting" to the home base in Montana to raise the necessary funds.

Even since 9/11 and the war against the Taliban, Mortenson was able to continue his work, much admired by his local network of supporters. Relin's interviews confirm the overwhelmingly warm and positive attitude of local people toward the American Mortenson. Negative reactions, though, came from within the US, where people attacked him for "supporting the enemy". Mortenson stood his ground, arguing that lasting peace and security around the world can only be gained through education of the younger generations. Finally in 2003, following a major article on his work in Parade magazine, the tide turned for him also in the US. Donations poured into his small foundation, securing his ever expanding work.

"Three Cups of Tea" is not only a moving and heart-warming personalized story of what one person can achieve with determination and persistence. It is also a portrait of a part of the world that we should all know more about so that we learn to differentiate between enemy and friend. [Friederike Knabe]
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Find Peace in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 13 Sep 2009
By 
swreader (Tucson, AZ, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Three Cups Of Tea (Paperback)
This book, with it's unlikely title, is not exactly fiction nor biography--but it's all true. Greg Mortenson was taken in by villagers after getting lost climbing K2, and promised to build them a school. His troubles and adventures make this a page-turner. You will laugh and choke up, and go to the website for his organization. Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin worked on this book together, and it's written in first person--brilliantly. This is the story of what one man has done (and continues to do in Afghanistan now) to help villagers to build schools. What is brought vividly to life are the wonderful people and their desire for peace, for education for their children and for a better way of life. Mortenson has built over 56 schools in both countries. There is more information in this book about who and what is paying for Islamic terrorism then anywhere else--and more information about the most effective way to fight it. Mortenson should certainly win a Nobel Peace Prize. This is a must read book. This book is for individuals, book clubs, and high school students. Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Journey to Change the World... One Child at a Time is a marvellous children's version, and for the very young try Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg and Three Cups of Tea
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating subject, slightly irritating grammar, 21 Oct 2009
By 
K. Wright (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Three Cups Of Tea (Paperback)
I stumbled across this book whilst looking for books either about Asia, or ones about mountaineering. This falls into both categories but mostly tells the story of rural Pakistan. Whilst reading this, the news came out about the Pakistan army launching an assault on the Taliban in one of the areas Greg Mortenson visits in this book. It has really brought home to me the reality of the situation for children in these rural areas of Pakistan, especially when all we see on the news in the UK is the military situation. A very important lesson is communicated in this book and many people would do well to read it.
My only gripe is that the grammar used by the author is a bit too casual in places. On the very first page, someone 'flicks his cigarrete ash out a window'. Maybe I'm being picky, and it doesn't stop the story being a very important one, but having to re-read sentences that have missing punctuation to try and work out what the author means has been slightly distracting at times.
Grammar aside though, this has been a fascinating and thought-provoking read. Highly recommended.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life-changing book, 15 Feb 2009
By 
O. Bradford - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Three Cups Of Tea (Paperback)
I have never said this about any book i've read.

Being half-Pakistani university student living in the UK, this book has taught me more about my mother-country of Pakistan, the power of education to overcome terrorism, and the strength of the human spirit against all odds, than I have ever known.

Greg Mortenson is an amazing person, and I say without reservation my new role model. If I can even be 1% as dedicated as he is then I will consider that an achievement. This guy went from potentially the biggest failure of his life (K2) to almost literally 'moving mountains', founding a charity and changing the face of northern Pakistan by giving the people the biggest weapon against extremist influences - an education.

In our day to day lives we take education for granted but due to the often-corrupt government of Pakistan, the country's difficult history and geographical extremities of the northern areas, these people are literally out on a limb. Somewhere in this book someone mentions that with 50 Greg Mortenson's we could give the world's children an education, which is their basic human right. I hope that from amongst the readers of this book we can get those 50 Greg Mortenson's because only with education and mutual understanding on both sides can come peace, and as the book says, our children, are the future, and our girls are the future mothers of the next generation.

Just buy it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Humbling, revealing and inspirational, 12 Sep 2009
By 
Alison "Kindle Allie" (Derbyshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Three Cups Of Tea (Paperback)
While this book is the story of how Greg Mortenson coordinated the building of over 50 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the book also provides an insight into the people and cultures of the isolated villages and towns in those areas. It has given me a much clearer view of the region and also how the Taliban have affected communities. All politicians with responsibility for foreign policy would do well to read it for those insights.

The book follows the chronological journey of Mortenson from the time he fails to summit K2 and then stumbles into the village of Korphe in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan by accident. The story documents his struggles to get the first school built at Korphe and onwards as he builds over 50 more schools.

Relin's writing style is often overly detailed and florid with many metaphors, but once I was about 20 pages in and used to it I didn't really mind. Some readers might be put off by the style, but it's worth reading just for the inspirational messages. With someone as extraordinary as Greg Mortenson it would be easy to leave the impression of a perfect saint. Yes, Relin obviously does think that Mortenson is very special, but he also mentions his faults and describes that people who have criticised Mortenson in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the USA. Mortenson is not a saint but he's a man that has made a very important difference to the lives of thousands of children.
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