Risa'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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's review
Nov 27, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: own, country-afghanistan, country-pakistan, genre-nonfiction, language-english
Read from March 14 to May 11, 2012

First, I just need to say that this book cover and design is so beautiful. <3

I think the book does a decent job of getting people to think about the Middle East and Pakistan in a different way. The scenes were the reader gets a glimpse of some of the villagers were nice. It also reinforces the idea that education is the best way forward not war and violence. It's great that Mortenson and this book are promoting the idea and need for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan to go to school and get an education. This is something that I completely agree with.

However, I still can't get over the way this book was written. It was difficult for me to get going int this book simply because of the way it was written. Aside from just the writing itself though, the authors refer to Greg Mortenson as "Mortenson" or "Dr. Greg". The word "Mortenson" is also used a lot in this book - way more than it should be used. I could not stop thinking about how the book was worshiping Mortenson by the way it refereed to him by just his last name or with his Dr./Nurse title. Why is that necessary? I don't read a lot of nonfiction books so I don't know if it is common to refer to the person by just their last name, but it happened way too often in this book and combined with the hero worshiping sentences and descriptions of Mortenson and what he was doing, I just felt like I was being talked down to while reading this book. Mortenson is so great! Why don't you love him? Worship him now! Maybe he's not like this in real life but that's how he came across in the book to me.

I could forgive the writing though in favor of promoting peace and education if it was not for certain other things.

The other thing that really irritates me about this book is that it has been exposed as a bunch of lies. The book is filled with lies so you don't know what, if anything, is actually true in this story.

It has also been mentioned that a lot of the schools that Mortenson and the CAI built are not in use or never actually existed! For a book that promotes the importance of education in rural areas, I really don't want that to be true. That was the whole purpose of the book: to show how awesome Mortenson is for building a ton of useful schools. And that also brings about the question of where is the money going if not to the schools?

I have no doubt that Mortenson has done a lot of good things for a lot of people. I also have no doubt that he did help with building schools in Pakistan. I'm just not sure that I believe or trust everything said in this book.

Here's an article of Mortenson's response to the 60 minute episode (video at the bottom of the page) that brought about allegations that this book was false: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entert...

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Reading Progress

03/15/2012 page 94
27.0% "The beginning was a little hard to get through. The book starts picking up around page 65. I like the little bit of Balti in the book. "Min takpo Greg. Nga America in. Kiri min takpo in?" :D"
03/18/2012 page 99
28.0% ""He turned Marina's words on the phone over... -she was leaving him. Until the conversation from 'Pindi, he hadn't called her for months, he realized. But she had to understand that was because he couldn't afford international calls if he was trying to keep the school on budget, didn't she?" Lol screw that. I would leave him too."
03/23/2012 page 150
43.0% ""'Sit down. And shut your mouth [Mortenson],' Haji Ali said. 'You're making everyone crazy.'" Haha, Haji Ali is my new favorite person in this book now."
04/17/2012 page 174
50.0% "Kidnapped by the Taliban? Of course. *eye roll* Apparently this part of the book is one of the fake parts, and the Taliban wasn't even in Pakistan at the time that this supposedly happened to Mortenson."
04/29/2012 page 174
50.0% ""As a former nurse he was happy to keep his [pregnant] wife away from hospitals."

Does this make Mortenson a bad nurse? XD"
04/29/2012 page 225
64.0% "I love the book cover and the design of this book. It's so beautiful and delicate. it also as that Arabic script feel to it. And the banner above each chapter is nice too. Props to whoever designed the book."
05/11/2012 page 225
64.0% "BobBillPete: What sort of business do you have here?
Mortensen: I've been working here for eight years...
BBP: What kind of work?
M: I build elementary schools...
BBP: How many students do you have right now, total?
M: That's hard to say.
BBP: Where's Osama?
M: What?
BBP: You heard me. Do you know where Osama is?
Me: Lol what? That question came out of no where. :p"
05/11/2012 page 349
100.0% "Finished!

I've been critical while reading this book because it's full of lies. I'm still not sure which parts are lies and which parts are true or have some truth to them. It's a shame too because this can be an inspirational story. Although I did enjoy reading about the villagers like the girl who got Mortenson to pay for her medical classes. XD The book needed more about the girls!

Full review coming soon."
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