By: Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: January 2007
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: January 25, 2010
His body had given out. Greg, a man unaccustomed to failure, had been defeated in his attempt to conquer K2 in honor of his beloved sister, Christa. He was going to leave her necklace at the magnificent height of 28,267 feet to show his love for her, but instead the mountain lashed back to punish and humiliate him. He later realized how close he had come to death and how much he owed his life to a handful of Pakistanis who tenderly nursed him back to life. Perhaps they saw something special in Greg Mortenson beyond a filthy man with arms that "looked like spindly little toothpicks." In time their intuition proved to be correct-Greg was, indeed, a very special man.
Although he claimed to be nothing more than a nurse, Mortenson was a doctor and set about helping the Pakistani people tending to their needs as they had his. In time it wasn't the lack of medical care that began to gnaw at his conscience, but rather the little children and the lack of teachers. Eighty-two children knelt on the cold, frosty ground. They sang the Pakistani national anthem and later recited their multiplication tables. One times one is one and only one dollar a day would provide a teacher they could never afford. Sharing a neighboring teacher now and then was as good as it got. They were virtually alone in the quest for an education, but if Greg Mortenson had his way they would have not only a teacher, but a school. K2 might have defeated him, but no one, not even the Taliban, could stop him now. David Oliver Relin, along with Mortenson himself, relates the tale of one man's attempt to make the world a better place in the phenomenally successful story, Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time.
When I started this book, I just picked away at it. The first several chapters, although very interesting, didn't appear to be earth shaking, yet at some point the story took off and became earth shattering. Mortenson's own word perhaps sums up all our hopes and dreams. In a nutshell it is that we "hope that we each do our part to leave them [the children] a legacy of peace instead of the perpetual cycle of violence, war, terrorism, racism, exploitation, and bigotry that we have yet to conquer."
Quill says: If you have a list of "must reads," this one should be at the top.