Christina's Reviews > Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
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May 02, 10

bookshelves: thanks-mom, 2008-reads, location-middle-east, nonfiction
Read in September, 2008

I feel almost like a bad person for not liking this book. Of course, I support Mortenson’s goal of educating people so they do not turn to violence (kind of like what some try to do with innercity schools). But I didn’t like Three Cups of Tea.

It read like a features story you’d read in your local paper (although, it’s probably more likely to end up The New Yorker or The New York Times) with all the “Mortenson says.” There isn’t much here to warrant a 350+ page book and I found myself skipping large sections, like Mortenson’s failed relationship before he met his wife. A simple “his girlfriend didn’t understand what he was trying to accomplish/start and, ultimately, left him” would have sufficed.

And the stuff that did interest me was glossed over. Why was the fatwas such a bad thing? And those schools run by the Taliban; how do CAI schools combat those extremist teachings?

Plus, I’m sick of the words “Greg Mortenson”. A third of the way through, the real author (Relin) is still immortalizing him by full name. I’m not a big fan of non-fiction but don’t remember this being so irritating in any of the ones I have read. And I, personally, would like to know more about the students he helped. Yes, I know one, supposedly, goes on to be a “maternal doctor” but what of the others?

Mortenson’s story is worth telling. Contrary to the U.S. plan in Afghanistan– get in, bomb the hell out of the land and its people, then on to the next war with, oops, no funds left for rebuilding–”Your President Bush has done a wonderful job of uniting one billion Muslims against America for the next two hundred years.” (pg. 310)–Mortenson is doing what Americans don’t, or won’t.

Yet, I just wish he had found a better way–and a better writer–to do so.
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