Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Greg Mortenson is fighting a personal war on terror that has an impact on all of us, and his weapon is not guns or bombs, but schools. What could be a better story than that?

–Parade editor-in-chief Lee Kravitz

#48 in my 2007 book challenge was Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. I was not excited when a friend picked this for one of my book groups. It sounded dull and a bit sappy. Once I started to read, though, my grinch-y heart melted, and the book completely won me over. Mortenson’s story is extraordinary, and it shines through all of Relin’s overwritten prose and Penguin’s sloppy spelling and typography mistakes.

After a failed attempt to climb K2, Mortenson got lost in Pakistan, and wound up in the village of Korphe. When he learned that the children were schooling themselves outdoors in the harsh climate, he promised he’d build them a school. Not only did he keep his promise, but he discovered a calling that led him to build schools throughout Pakistan, and into war-torn Afghanistan. By educating children, particularly girls, he continues to build a legacy of peace and understanding that defies the roots of terrorism. The details of Mortenson’s adventures are astonishing, and his story provides interesting insight into America’s conflict in the east, and with the Taliban and Al-Quaeda.

Read this book. Buy it, or request it at your library. Choose it for your book group. It’s a rich, provocative narrative; the effects linger after the last page.

If you buy the book at their site, 7% goes to girls’ scholarship in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

5 Responses to “Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin”

  1. Literary Feline Says:

    I have been considering this book for awhile now. It sounds like it would be quite interesting. Thank you for the review!

  2. Kerry Says:

    My hubby received this book as a gift from his mom last Christmas. He loved it and passed it on to me. I loved it, too! The story is so compelling and important. The work that one person can do to change the day-to-day lives of others!

    I’m glad you enjoyed it, too.

  3. Meredith McGinnis Says:

    I saw your post on THREE CUPS OF TEA and decided to write to tell you about a book that Doubleday is publishing MAKE THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE by Bill Strickland

    Last November I flew to Pittsburgh to meet Bill Strickland. All I knew was that he had built a center in the middle of the ghetto, six blocks from where he grew up, and “was saving the lives of troubled youths and disadvantaged adults through arts and education.” Exactly what that meant didn’t hit home for me until I stepped foot inside his building and met the man himself.

    Bill started off his center, The Manchester Craftsman’s Guild in a row-house that was donated by the local church. His method for getting kids out of trouble and off the street was simple: physically take them and show them how to work with clay. As word traveled from person to person and school to school, he no longer had to go seeking them; they came to him and his little center grew to become a world-class facility.

    Designed by one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s students, the center is bathed in sunlight despite the cold and snowy November day, fresh flowers are everywhere, and a buzz of activity from both students and adults is in the air. The flowers are not just any flowers, but prize-winning orchids grown in their state-of-the-art greenhouse just next door. Some might ask what a poverty program needs a greenhouse for and to that Bill would be the first to say that it is NOT a poverty program. It is a training program for poor people and why shouldn’t poor people be given a sanctuary from the streets where they see no light ahead of them? By teaching them horticulture, along with culinary, computer, mathematics, chemistry, ceramics, photography, and much more, Bill is helping to change the conversation and help them see that they have a future outside of what they know. In building this world-class facility, he is helping to create world-class citizens.

    Over the years I have worked with many different authors, all with their own unique backgrounds. Bill is the first author whose story has brought tears to my eyes, has received a standing ovation at every speech I have seen him give, and has even tempted me to leave my job so that I might follow in his footsteps. Luckily for me, Bill’s message also shows us that we don’t need to do anything that drastic. There is always something we can do right in our own backyard that will make a difference in people’s lives. It is my hope that in writing this letter and offering you a complimentary copy of MAKE THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE, you too will be inspired by his remarkable life and share it with your blog readers.

    I look forward to hearing from you and getting your mailing address to send you a free copy of this amazing new book.

    To find out more about Bill, the book and view a video of him please visit

    To see more about the center in Pittsburgh watch:

    Meredith McGinnis
    Associate Director of Marketing
    Doubleday 1745 Broadway New York, NY 10019
    Tel: 212-782-8967

  4. Lynda Borges Says:

    I love the book and the ideas expressed for peace . Greg is a true hero.
    I would love to see abook published with more Photos. A photo journal would be a lovely thing to own and would provide some instant inspiration to those who may not read the book, and create more revenue

  5. girldetective Says:

    Lynda, I once had an author tell me that getting any pics at all in a book is a publishing miracle–apparently the picture inserts are very expensive, and only “sure thing” books merit them because they increase the likelihood of the book losing money unless is does really well. I was glad it had so many photos. It was helpful for me to visualize all the people!