Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson - Book Review

Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson - Book Review

Greg Mortenson is an American registered nurse and a passionate mountaineer who, together with writer David Oliver Relin wrote Three Cups of Tea; a narrative of a truly inspiring journey. 

 In 1993 Mortenson goes on a journey to climb the second-highest mountain in the world; K2 of the Himalayas. He is then separated from his fellow climbers and is lost and exhausted when he finds himself in a small Pakistani village, Korphe. He is met with a warm welcome from the whole village, especially their elder; Haji Ali. 

During his stay, Mortenson is introduced to the brutal and devastating conditions of the natives and the dangers and struggles children have to go through if they want to get an education.

This is especially relevant when it comes to girls’ education because, as explained in the book, educated boys usually leave to the cities for job opportunities, while educating the girls could be of sustainable benefit to the local community. 

Awoken by the condition of the village and in an effort to repay their kindness and hospitality, Mortenson goes back to the USA to raise funds for building a school in Korphe. It is a monumental challenge, but when Engineer Jean Hornei agreed to donate the funds, everything changed. 

Hoerni and Mortenson Co-founded the CAI (Central Asia Institute) with the aim of building more schools for villages in need in Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

The book is a real page-turner; it is interesting, informative, and emotional. The title Three Cups of Tea has direct roots in the culture of the region, as told by Haji Ali “The first time you share tea with a Balti, 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”. 

In 2011, after being a highly celebrated book and with Mortenson being an inspirational icon, there were serious questions about the work that he had actually done. There were also many concerns regarding fund allocations and the accuracy of his narrative. Although no criminal act was ever proven, Mortenson’s credibly took a serious hit. 

Three Cups of Tea gets a 7/10 rating. It is a controversial book, there is no doubt about that. It faced criticism for showing an inaccurate and overly simplified reality of Muslim and Pakistani communities. However, it remains an intriguing book, and Greg Mortenson remains a person of steel determination and alluring charisma.

Book Details

Title: Three Cups of Tea
Format: Paperback
Author: Greg Mortenson
Language : English
Publisher : Penguin Books
ISBN: 9780143038252

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