UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

Stones into Schools

'Three Cups of Tea' author focuses on the everyday challenges of running a non-profit in Afghanistan

By Drew Halfnight


Stones into Schools
By Greg Mortenson
(Viking) $33.50


Picking up where book-club blockbuster Three Cups of Tea left off, the story of the six-foot-four mountaineer from America who built 131 schools in the most volatile region in the world continues with Stones into Schools, a readable sequel.

The book follows Greg Mortenson and his band of deputies as they crisscross Kashmir and Afghanistan, building a “Great Chinese Wall of literacy” through Taliban country.

Stones into Schools is part memoir, part campaign for women’s literacy and Mortenson’s own Central Asia Institute. Fans of Three Cups of Tea will miss the affectionate narration of Oregon journalist David Oliver Relin. The sequel, written in the first person by Mortenson with help from two other authors, is rendered with less detail and poetry.

The book dwells on the everyday challenges of funding and administering a non-governmental organization in the context of the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan.

Perhaps most remarkable is the story of a U.S. colonel who, after sustaining months of rocket attacks, pacifies hostile Afghan villagers, not with violence, but by convening a meeting with their elders, listening to their grievances and helping them build a school.

At the heart of this book is the power of an idea. In just over a decade, Mortenson’s idea — that education can bring world peace-inspired thousands to help build a large, successful development organization. Without that help, Mortenson says, “I would still be nothing more than a dirtbag mountaineer subsisting on ramen noodles and living in the back of his car.”

Drew Halfnight lives in Guelph, Ont.

Author's photo
Drew Halfnight is a father, journalist and high school teacher in Toronto.
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!
Promotional Image

Editorials

David Wilson%

Observations

by David Wilson

To the moon and beyond

Promotional Image
Promotional Image

Justice

April 2016

Hell and high water

by Josiah Neufeld

The writer visits the shifting shorelines of Bangladesh and discovers tens of millions of people on the brink of climate disaster

Interviews

April 2016

Interview with Kaylie Tiessen

by Christopher White

An economist and researcher with Unifor and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives talks about decreasing income disparity

Society

March 2016

The fighter

by Richard Wright

When he was 13 years old, Willie Blackwater stood up to his abuser at a B.C. Indian residential school. His defiance would eventually help change the course of Canadian history.

Faith

March 2016

The Walrus Talks Spirituality

by Observer Staff

Justice

April 2016

Hell and high water

by Josiah Neufeld

The writer visits the shifting shorelines of Bangladesh and discovers tens of millions of people on the brink of climate disaster

Faith

April 2016

Churches under the gun

by Anne Bokma

Shootings in the sanctuary. Pistols in the pulpit. The culture of violence is infiltrating U.S. places of worship.

Promotional Image
Promotional Image