Three Cups of Tea Review

By | September 21, 2010

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace One School at a Time
By: Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Paige’s Rating: (3) of 5 Stars
Recommended for: Educators, Non-fiction Readers

Book Description:

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 an build a school. Three Cups of Tea is the story of that promise and its extraordinary outcome.

Greg Mortenson seems to be a fluke of human nature. Born and partially raised in Africa, Greg has the ability to respect different cultures, which is what probably made him successful in remote Pakistan. However, the book illustrates that much of Mortenson’s success has been largely due to determination and luck. From being homeless to being the head of the Central Asia Institute, Greg was determined and spent most of the mid to late 1990’s traveling America to give speeches and spread the word of the need for education in the heart of Northern Pakistan, an area now heavily influenced by the Taliban. This determination paid off when luck put the right people in his path. Luck, also, kept him alive.

Greg Moretenson’s accomplishments are astounding and the story is told from a 3rd person point of view (Relin). However, Relin’s style of writing is often disjointed, and the reader not only gets lost in the time line of events, but in the superfluous details that begin to pad the book by the middle. Towards the end, the book becomes more of a political piece on Pakistan versus the actual building of schools, so the theme appears to shift entirely. Therefore, I found myself disliking the end of the book, as Mortenson doesn’t seem to be the same character that we find in the beginning, and the theme and tone of the book changed as well.

This is a “feel good” read for anyone passionate about education and for anyone interested in knowing more about the culture and geographical region of Pakistan. However, for everyone else I would suggest that it may not be their “cup of tea.”

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