Stones To Schools by Greg Mortensen

Stones into Schools

Stones into Schools is a New York Times bestselling book by Greg Mortenson, published in 2009. It is the sequel to the bestselling book Three Cups of Tea and tells the story of Mortenson’s humanitarian efforts to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan with his non-profit charity organization, Central Asia Institute (CAI). The book describes how Mortenson and his team worked to establish the first schools in the remote northeast corner of Afghanistan.

The book also covers Mortenson’s extensive work in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan after a massive earthquake hit the region in 2005. CAI assisted with relief efforts in the region by setting up temporary tent schools and later built several earthquake-proof schools. After CAI’s relief efforts were completed, the non-profit charity organization then opened schools in areas controlled by the Taliban, and Mortenson assisted the US military to formulate strategic plans in the region.

The main themes of the book are promoting peace through education, building schools in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and overcoming challenges to provide education to children, especially girls, where few education opportunities existed before. The book highlights the importance of education in promoting peace and development in conflict-ridden regions.

What I Liked

The book is well-written and solidly fine.

What I Did Not Like

It’s a bit too pollyanna-ish and glosses over the very real question of the effectiveness of his work. Obviously, the author has had a major impact on individuals. But it’s still an open question about whether this type of work is truly worthwhile (or even harmful) in both the short and long-term. It smacks of White Savior Complex and is still not even certain to be true anyway. I would not recommend it.

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