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Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace One School at a Time Paperback – January 30, 2007

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Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace One School at a Time + Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 349 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (January 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143038257
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143038252
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,836 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

From Viking Press
In regards to the 60 Minutes episode that aired April 17, 2011: "Greg Mortenson’s work as a humanitarian in Afghanistan and Pakistan has provided tens of thousands of children with an education. 60 Minutes is a serious news organization and in the wake of their report, Viking plans to carefully review the materials with the author."

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Some failures lead to phenomenal successes, and this American nurse's unsuccessful attempt to climb K2, the world's second tallest mountain, is one of them. Dangerously ill when he finished his climb in 1993, Mortenson was sheltered for seven weeks by the small Pakistani village of Korphe; in return, he promised to build the impoverished town's first school, a project that grew into the Central Asia Institute, which has since constructed more than 50 schools across rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. Coauthor Relin recounts Mortenson's efforts in fascinating detail, presenting compelling portraits of the village elders, con artists, philanthropists, mujahideen, Taliban officials, ambitious school girls and upright Muslims Mortenson met along the way. As the book moves into the post-9/11 world, Mortenson and Relin argue that the United States must fight Islamic extremism in the region through collaborative efforts to alleviate poverty and improve access to education, especially for girls. Captivating and suspenseful, with engrossing accounts of both hostilities and unlikely friendships, this book will win many readers' hearts. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Greg Mortenson is a truly amazing man.
Samantha Todd
This book is an inspiring story of how one dedicated person can make a difference in the world.
E. Thompson
This was one of the most inspiring stories I've ever read, AND it was very well written!
Kathleen B. O'Daniel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

476 of 511 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
I read this book just a few weeks before the scandal broke. I loved the story and am glad to see children being educated. And yet some things just didn't add up....

International development is a challenge, and there is a long history of failure. The main problem is, how do you translate donor money into resources that get to the right people at the right time in the right form? It always seems like 90% is either wasted directly (mismanagement, bribes, etc.), or gets siphoned off to pay for things that aren't used or not wanted. A lot of this is political: local leaders resist being upstaged and have their own priorities and face-saving motives, while the philanthropists insist upon doing it "our way" because "we know what's best".

Three Cups of Tea makes it sound like Greg Mortenson has single-handedly solved these problems. Hence the questions that arose when I read the book. Could it really be that a village would be completely unanimous in support of new school, and with such universal, thumping excitement? There weren't any political toes being stepped on? Was there really no suspiciousness or even apathy among the villagers? Would a villager really approach Mortenson to have a broken bone set (Mortenson is a nurse), when this sort of 'technology-free medicine' is exactly the sort of thing, like midwifery, that less developed cultures maintain quite a good grasp of? Given how hard it is to get a doctor to work in rural but accessible areas in N. America, how could teachers be recruited to work in these new schools in tiny villages, which take days to get to and where the local language is different? How could he know the schools were being built in the right place?
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64 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Dienne TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up at a 3 for 2 sale ages ago and it had been getting buried deeper and deeper in my to be read stack ever since. When I heard about the controversy surrounding the book, I decided it was time to pry it out and dust it off.

Although I did not see the "Sixty Minutes" episode, I did read Krakauer's "Three Cups of Deceit". But then it occurred to me that I don't know any more about Krakauer than I do about Mortenson, and nor do I have any more reason to trust him. So I also read Mortenson's statement along with various material from his supporters, and I tried very hard to read the book with an open mind. Even with this effort, however, I have to say, no offense, but people actually believed this to begin with? I know I'm working with the benefit of hindsight and all, but the book is so fantastical I can't believe anyone ever swallowed it whole without gagging. We may never know how much, if any, of what David Oliver Relin tells us about Greg Mortenson is true, but if even half of it is, we all need to throw ourselves on our faces and repent - Greg Mortenson is the Second Coming of Christ.

This book is myth-making in the finest tradition. Greg Mortenson is a hero of epic proportions. He's the most competent Army medic and trauma nurse. He's a skilled climber who selflessly spends 96 hours shuttling supplies up a mountain so that others can rest before attempting the summit and then, with only two hours' rest, he spends another 72 hours rescuing a severely ill climbing companion, and it is only with Mortenson's knowledge and skill that the man survives.
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109 of 121 people found the following review helpful By ReviewDude on April 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book has been revealed to have invented stories, including the first story about K2. 60 minutes recently had a damning expose that Greg's stories are fabricated and his charity is used to enrich himself. Google 'Three cups of tea 60 minutes' to see the episode. As someone who works in Afghanistan and puts his butt on the line there, I find this reprehensible. The publisher needs to issue refunds to people who bought this book.
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446 of 530 people found the following review helpful By doc peterson VINE VOICE on November 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
Greg Mortenson's story of a failed attempt at summiting K2 and a later success at transforming and impacting the lives of thousands of Pakistani children through the construction of schools is inspiring, touching and heroic. On the basis of the story alone, I would give it 5 stars. It is unfortunate, therefore, that it is told so poorly by David Relin, whose writing was so problematic that I can only give the book 3.

Moretnson's trials, obstacles and his perseverence in overcoming these challenges to realize his dream of building (initally only one, later 23) schools in the remote regions of Pakistan is magnificent; a man of lesser toughness, integrity, temperment and stuborness certainly would have given up in the face of so many setbacks: financial as he sought to raise monies, personal as his quest took a toll on his personal life, and political, as Pakistanis, mujahadeen, and later, Americans sought to distract or derail his noble work. If you can get past the pained and sometimes overdone writing, these are the gems of the story. It seems many can overlook this shortcoming given the power of Mortenson's deeds. I could not.

Sadly, it took a lot of effort for me to look past the sophmoric writing, which I found to be a distraction from enjoying the larger plot. As other reviewers have noted, describing Mortenson in the third person ("Mortenson settled back into the passenger seat, a place of honor ...") seems odd when reading non-fiction. I can forgive this; it was the style of the prose that set my teeth on edge. Referring to the mountainous terrain as "celestial rocks", "great brown crenulated walls" and how the "Karkoram knifed relentlessly into the a defensless blue sky" demoted the very real contributions Mortenson was making by writing in a pulp-fiction style.
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