Saturday, February 28, 2009

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin~★★★★

Author: Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
Title: Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations...One School at a
Release Date: March 2nd, 2006
Publisher: Viking Adult
Genre: Non-fiction

Book Jacket: "One day in 1993, high up in the world's most inhospitable mountains, Greg Mortenson wandered lost and alone, broken in body and spirit, after a failed attempt to climb K2, the world's deadliest peak. When the people of an impoverished village in Pakistan's Karakoram Himalaya took him in and nursed him back to health. Mortenson made an impulsive promise: He would return one day and build them a school. Although he was a homeless 'climbing bum' living out of his aging Buick in Berekley, California, Mortenson sold what few possessions he had to launch one of the most remarkable humanitarian campaigns of our time.
From eerie blue glaciers, where snow leopards stalk their pray, to high-altitude fundamentalist villages, where the faith is a severe as the surroundings, and down the deadly opium trails of Afghanistan at war, Three Cups of Tea traces Mortenson's decade-long odyssey to build schools, especially for girls, throughout the region that gave birth to the Taliban and sanctuary to Al Qaeda. While he wages war with the root causes of terrorism-poverty and ignorance-by providing both girls and boys with a balanced, nonextremist education, Mortenson must survive a kidnapping, fatwas issued by enraged mullahs, death threats from Americans who consider him a traitor, and wrenching separations from his family.
Today, as director of the Central Asia Institute, Mortenson has built fifty-five schools serving Pakistan and Afghanistan's poorest communities. And as this real-life Indiana Jones from Montana crisscrosses the Himalaya and the Hindu Kush fighting to keep those schools functioning, he provides not only hope to tens of thousands of children, but living proof that one passionately dedicated person truly can change the world."

Taryn's Review: Greg Mortenson is one of those people you wish you could be like. He traveled back and forth from Montana to the Middle East,helping children simply because he felt like it was the right thing to do. He never gave up on his cause, despite moments he had little money to support his work, and the universe often seemed to intervene with people who had plenty of money to help Greg continue making the world a better place. People admired him and loved him.

The downside of this is that Greg Mortenson left his wife and 2 children for two months out of the year (sometimes longer) to do his work in Pakistan and Afghanistan, yet when he was home he traveled frequently to solicit donations for his Central Asia Institute. He seemed to constantly focus on his work and at times, death had lurked around Greg in some situations.

Mortenson is admirable for his ardent support of changing lives for people in the two nations. He was right in the middle of Pakistan when 9/11 occurred and saw first-hand how the Middle East was transformed by American bombs after the tragedy. The book had some pictures that are okay, but they would have been spectacular had they been printed in color. Sometimes the book was overwritten and some things are included that easily could have been omitted to make the book a smoother read. But overall, it's a great read and Greg Mortenson is one American we should all be proud of.

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