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Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Educate a Girl - Change The World: a book of courage and humility

Stones Into Schools is a sequel to Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea book which is about his effort to promote education and literacy for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This book is in first person, unlike Three Cups of Tea, and is much better written and more compellin...
Stones Into Schools is a sequel to Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea book which is about his effort to promote education and literacy for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This book is in first person, unlike Three Cups of Tea, and is much better written and more compelling. To me, the most important stories in the books are the personal stories about the girls and women whose lives have been transformed through education.

I also appreciate Greg Mortenson's humility and seemingly complete lack of ego. He attributes his success and writes about how 'The Dirty Dozen', a group of outcasts are risking their lives daily to help girls go to school against almost impossible obstacles like war, the Taliban and misguided Muslim clerics.

An interesting part of Stones Into Schools was how Greg Mortenson mentioned the big learning curve in the military, and his selfless devotion to also helping the U.S. military commanders and soldiers build relationships with the tribal elders. It really opened up my eyes to see the excellent leadership we have in the military.

As a physician, I know that education is the most powerful force and tool for prosperity, peace and health we have, and glad to see that someone has dedicated his life for two decades to helping girls go to school.

posted by SusanAtkinsMD on December 18, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Don't bother ...

It's hard to believe, but this book is even worse than "Three Cups of Tea" ... just another poorly written, self-absorbed tribute to Greg Mortensen's "me, myself, and I" ego-driven life. If this book hadn't been given to me as a gift, I never would have finished it. ...
It's hard to believe, but this book is even worse than "Three Cups of Tea" ... just another poorly written, self-absorbed tribute to Greg Mortensen's "me, myself, and I" ego-driven life. If this book hadn't been given to me as a gift, I never would have finished it.

Time to give it up, Greg, your 15 minutes of fame are over.

posted by 2394993 on December 10, 2009

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  • Posted December 18, 2009

    Educate a Girl - Change The World: a book of courage and humility

    Stones Into Schools is a sequel to Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea book which is about his effort to promote education and literacy for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This book is in first person, unlike Three Cups of Tea, and is much better written and more compelling. To me, the most important stories in the books are the personal stories about the girls and women whose lives have been transformed through education.

    I also appreciate Greg Mortenson's humility and seemingly complete lack of ego. He attributes his success and writes about how 'The Dirty Dozen', a group of outcasts are risking their lives daily to help girls go to school against almost impossible obstacles like war, the Taliban and misguided Muslim clerics.

    An interesting part of Stones Into Schools was how Greg Mortenson mentioned the big learning curve in the military, and his selfless devotion to also helping the U.S. military commanders and soldiers build relationships with the tribal elders. It really opened up my eyes to see the excellent leadership we have in the military.

    As a physician, I know that education is the most powerful force and tool for prosperity, peace and health we have, and glad to see that someone has dedicated his life for two decades to helping girls go to school.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 27, 2009

    What a great book!

    What a great book! All this incredible work started because he failed at one thing he truly wanted to do - to climb K2 for his sister. And the motley crew of people working for this worthy cause in Pakistan and Afghanistan are just amazing. Each person has a wonderful and incredible story. But the most amazing part of all this is the dedication of the people to provide education for their children - boy or girl. The love of our children and the profound wish to see them succeed in life is universal.

    I like this book because it gives me a clear, unbiased window to look into and see these people as they are, not blurred and distorted by cultural prejudices and historical biases. I can't wait to read his next book to get a progress on these wonderfully resilient people.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Greg Mortenson is a true leader.

    I am a second grade teacher. I have been teaching for 22 years so a book about educating some of the poorest people in the world has been very interesting and moving for me to read. My own father could barely read due to dyslexia and I know how being illiterate can affect a person's life. Thinking about how one man can build so many schools for girls, the population most vulnerable in Afghanistan, is amazing to me. Mr. Mortenson is my hero. I have read both of his books now and I believe the second book was even more interesting than the first because I learned more about the Taliban. I now understand that the Taliban preys upon the poor and uneducated people. People who are most desperate for money to buy food, will turn to violence. I hope that people in the United States will continue to support Mr. Mortenson's desire to educate girls. I am proud of the military leaders in the United States that are in support of Mr. Mortenson. It gives me incredible hope for the women and their families in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
    I am hopeful that Mr. Mortenson's bravery and hard work will light the way for other people to realize that despite being from different countries, we all have the same need to be literate. Without education, there is no hope of truly reaching our potential.
    Proudly signing off,
    Elizabeth Anne Carneiro

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Greg Mortenson has once again demonstrated how education is a much better solution to address poverty and extremism than bullets and bombs. Empowering the local population to be part of the solution can ensure long-term success.

    "Stones Into Schools" and "Three Cups of Tea" are two of the most moving and enlightening books I have ever read. Greg Mortenson brilliantly captures the essence of the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan and genuinely cares about the "forgotten" populations in the most rural regions of both countries. What one man with the seemingly simple dream of building one school in Korphe, Pakistan has managed to achieve, with the help of the local people and an amazing staff, is remarkable and awe-inspiring. I highly recommend his newest book, "Stones Into Schools", as well as his first book, "Three Cups of Tea", to readers of all ages. These books should be mandatory reading in high school and college. The world would be such a better place if all humans could grasp the concept of acceptance, tolerance and "jirgas" used by Greg Mortenson's organization to resolve conflict and promote peace and understanding among cultures.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    An Inspiring Read for Educators

    As a school principal I often get caught up in the day-to-day business of running a school, it is often easy to get caught up in the concerns of what resources we lack in trying to educate our students. In tight budget years like the ones we are experience now, it is much too easy to become a pessimist and look at the proverbial glass as being half empty. Yet, after reading Greg Mortenson's latest "Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, In Afghanistan and Pakistan", the resource shortfalls I face in my school are so minor to seem insignificant. All of the complaints regarding limits on the number of copies, the inability to purchase those workbooks, and the lack of funding for the science project, just don't seem as important any more. Mortenson's second book, like his first "Three Cups of Tea", is a not so subtle reminder that many times the magic of making education happen is not with the things money can buy, but with what happens between those teachers and students and the communities that support them. I was again moved by the author's tale of trying to bring education to girls in a part of the world where some deliberately fight against those efforts, like the Taliban who literally threw battery acid in the faces of girls and their teacher in an effort to frighten them from getting an education. With that kind of resistance, how could I possibly complain about not having enough money to provide my teachers with interactive boards and laptop computer labs? Yet, Mortenson's book touched me on a level beyond its focus on resources. It reminded me forcefully of why I became an educator and persist as one to this day. It is the promise of education that gives all of us hope and future. There are places in Afghanistan and Pakistan where young girls have hope and a future due to what Mortenson and the Central Asia Institute have done. However, I do not have to journey to the other side of the earth to give that same kind of hope to young girls, and young boys. I have the ability to do that everyday in my role as principal, as I carry out the vision of making sure all of the students in our school get the best education possible. Thank you Greg Mortenson for reminding of my own calling.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2009

    must read

    Greg is an amazing person, bringing peace everywhere he goes. Everyone must read his books and begin their journey to peace.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A must read for everyone!

    This book continues the journey of a man who embarked on what seemed like the impossible in the book Three Cups of Tea. Not only does it stress the importance of educating children (especially girl's), but it reveals a glimpse of a world where all types of people can work together for a common goal. It is a story of courage, trust, friendship, dedication, faith, love, and so much more.

    The insight to the places and people of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the military has spent so much time and effort, bridges the gap of information that is lacking in the news media today. The details about the many tribes, their customs and history, and determination to live peaceful lives provides a glimpse of a hopeful people in this region.

    Greg Mortenson, while pursuing his passion to educate children, establishes a trail of testimony to the possibilities of the "power of one." This creates the back-drop to his amazing journey, which hopefully be read by many.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    Stones Washed from the Heart

    Conservative Christian stones are figuratively thrown at Muslims in America and around the world. To find a stone mason like Mortenson who takes the Christian stones of "love, compassion, and money" and mortise those into schools for children half way around the world is incredible. That those schools and those children of another faith in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other nearby areas do not already hate Americans and wish Christians dead is to treat the pundits as though they have never walked in Greg Mortenson's shoes. A few years ago in the South where I live, it was very popular to ask, "What would Jesus do?" Apparently Greg Mortenson hears that answer in his heart every day and follows through--one stone, one school at a time.
    In this book we are carried from precipice to precipice and blast to blast along with Mortenson and his tea drinking friends, all for children who want an education. And the irony is that as we become adventurers along with Greg in his book, we find children waiting with open hearts and minds to hear the word "American."
    Sometimes it is difficult to keep all of the repeatitive names straight,but that is a small problem for the revelation such a journey with Mortenson provides.
    Maps are invaluable to me. As I read about a village, one photograph or one map carries the the people and obstacles to the forefront of my heart. When there is joy, we are there; when there are tears, we are there.
    This book is dangerous for anyone who cares for children. Those who love children but who do not have the "wherewithal" to do otherwise, can simply read and challenge others to read this book--to carress one attitude at a time with these loving Muslim children. Some day, hopefully, these children will be adults. But in this book no one living has been able to sacrafice more than Greg Mortenson and his family.
    From beginning to end, my mind has been enlightened as I've cheered for the "good guys" and hissed or held my breath when the "bad buys" arrived on the scene.
    As I finished the book, my one question was, "What has happened since the publication?" This must mean I am ready not only for the next book, but a follow up into adulthood of more of the children who were educated because of Americans; children and adults who choose not to throw stones at Americans, but to repair and sustain schools.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2010

    Better Understanding of Afganistan

    This book shows the side of civilian life in Afganistan that is never shown in the news. It also demonstrates the importance of educating girls and women, something that could be followed throughout the whole world. Like the tite says, this book argues that we can never win the war in Afganistan unless we educate the people of Afganistan. Before reading this book I would never have known that many young men in the middle east join terrorist groups simply because they have no other way of making money or surviving. Reading this book is important if we are to combat worldwide terrorism. This book is great for book clubs, church groups, or school groups.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    An Absolute Inspiration

    The subtitle says it all- "Promoting Peace with Books, not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan." Greg Mortenson and his unusual team of workers strive to build schools for the children of the Middle East in places most organizations would shy away from. Starting at the end of the road and working their way to civilization, Mortenson and the CAI bring education to all children, with a special focus on improving the literacy rate of girls. All their schools must have at least 50% girls by the end of their first year, and they often exceed that number.

    As a staff member of another non-profit literacy organization I was amazed, inspired and completely blown away by what the CAI goes through to achieve their goals. If you want a book that will broaden your horizons and give you a totally new insight into international education and nonprofit work, I highly recommend this book. It is the sequel to 'Three Cups of Tea' but stands alone well. There is hope for the Middle East- you can find it in this book and in the work of Greg Mortenson and the CAI.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    An amazing telling of a most difficult mission!!

    This sequel, by Greg Mortensen author of Three Cups of Tea, continues to present the reader with the most amazing story of fulling a promise, of determination against all odds to build schools at the 'top of the world,' of building relationships with unlikely allies, and of over coming horrendous obstacles - cultural, religious, monetary, physical and geographical, as the Central Asia Institute continued to work with the local populations (this time in Afghanistan) to build schools for the purpose of educating the girls/women in even the most treacherous and remote regions of this rugged country. This wise man and this NGO organizaton make me proud to be an American! Certainly, this book is not the end of the story, but a chapter in a saga which will continue for decades to come! Congratulations, Greg Mortensen, on a book well written and on having a heart that knows no boundaries!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Thought provoking and inspiring

    Everything about this book challenges you to think about what you see, hear and say regarding the "war on terror," and our media. I have met soldiers who have read this book and "Three Cups of Tea." The impact it has on them and how they serve is remarkable. All this from taking a wrong turn on a mountain in Pakistan.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    If you liked three cups of Tea, you'll love this one by the same author!

    This touching book reveals the burning desire of the Afghan and Pakistani people to educate the younger generation. Girls, in particular, deprived of the opportunity to attend school for decades due to the remoteness of their villages and political unrest, clamor for the chance to learn to read and write. While the author's main mission is to build schools in Afghanistan, his efforts are interrupted by a massive earthquake in Pakistan which destroyed some of his institute's schools. Ironically, the release of this book nearly coincided with the now infamous earthquake in Haiti where the similarity of problems preventing quick assistance is haunting. Greg Mortenson founder of the Central Asian Institute, which builds and funds schools, was nominated for the Nobel Peace prize last year. He did not win. Profits from his book sales go to the Institute.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Peace through Education in Stones into Schools

    I thought "Three Cups of Tea" was a great book but the follow up book is even better. The work of Greg Mortenson and the men and women in the United States, Pakistan, and Afghanistan who carry out the work of the Central Asia Institute is remarkable and they are an inspirtation to me. I also take from his books a sense of hope that we can work towards peace in this world. And my heart goes out to families around the world who only want to be able to feed and educate their children, especially girls. I also would recommend the book "Half the Sky".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2010

    "Stones to Schools" vs "Avatar"

    I just finished "Stones into Schools" and found it to be incredibly inspirational. Their work in Afghanistan involved geographical barriers, such as mountain ranges and winter weather, that we cannot image. Greg's reputation preceded him and male village elders begged him to build schools to educate girls. That effort by Muslin men gives me hope that their women don't have to continue to be invisible.

    I also just saw "Avatar" and left the theater depressed that Hollywood continues to portray war as the means to resolve issues. I wish more people would read the book than see the movie and sincerely hope that the military take to heart Greg's message.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2010

    important lessons for world survival!

    wonderful life lessons from a humble man. His friends share his important mission to promote peace through education! These two books should be required reading

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    Fantastic Book

    I recommend it to everyone. It's a must read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2010

    Timely and enlightening

    Stones into Schools gives a good sense of the problems confronting Afghanistan and the long-term commitment it will take to overcome them. Greg Mortenson writes with conviction, integrity and surprising modesty. It's not at all preachy. Completely engaging. I've given many copies as gifts.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2010

    A wonderful folllowup to "Two Cups of Tea." Mortenson is a male Mother Theresa!

    I liked this book as much or more than "Two Cups of Tea" because it included more details about the people who were close to Mortenson. Greg doesn't need a co-author. This is a well-written and interesting account of the nobel work he's doing in Central Asia. So glad our government and military is taking a lesson from him.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    Insightful and inspiring look at what is really happening in tribal regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    Wonderful followup to Three Cups of Tea. Answers many of the questions I had after reading the first book as to what the political and military changes that have occured since the writing of the first book have meant to the building and continuation of schools especially the education of women in these areas.

    Truly shows what one person can begin and the enormous impact it can have on so many people.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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