Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

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

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

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

Article excerpt

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time. By Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. New York: The Penguin Group, 2006 and 2007. 368 pp. $25.95 ($15, paper).

One of the key characters in this marvelous book on schools told Mortenson, cofounder and executive director of the nonprofit Central Asia Institute, "The first time you share tea with a Baiti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family." Three Cups of Tea enlightens us simultaneously on three levels of analysis: The foundational level is a remarkable and entertaining tale of a transition from climbing junkie to humanitarian hero; the subsequent level is an enlightening study of a region few have visited or read about; and, the most important level provides a lucid primer for those struggling to aid the Muslim world in countering ideological support for terrorism.

For the reader interested in a book about altruism, Mortenson' s efforts, not unlike those of Jody Williams's in her personal campaign to ban land mines, are at once heroic, frustrating and bungling. Still, he constructed over seventy-eight schools in one of the most remote and dangerous areas of the world. …

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