May 14, 2010
Mortenson’s first book “three cups of tea” (Viking, 2006) told a
story of one man’s (Mortenson) attempt to climb the world’s second highest mountain and how his failure to do so culminated
in an unlikely friendship with, and commitment to, a remote Muslim tribe in a harsh mountainous village in the Taliban Territory in
Pakistan. This tribe, despite their own material needs, rescued and nursed Mortenson back to health. Struck by their generosity,
three cups of tea is as much about discovering humanity in remote places as it is a story of how Mortenson was inspired to find
the funds to build a school for young girls, quite literally against all odds. “Stones into Schools” follows the humble beginnings of
three cups of tea and Mortenson’s journey into Afghanistan. It is largely an account of how the seemingly impossible has been
overcome, which is no doubt partially due to Mortenson’s own ravenous adventurous nature.
The communities he chooses to
help are the most challenging, the most remote and the most dangerous, perhaps because it is these communities that will never
be reached, even with international aid. It is also these groups that are the most at risk of being recruited by extremist political
groups. While this book may not be as inspirational as the first (after all, we already know the gist of the story) it is still worth every
word and every bit of paper it is printed on. A must read.