Synopses & Reviews
In 1993, following a failed attempt to ascend K2, Greg Mortenson was inspired by a chance encounter with impoverished mountain villagers in Pakistan and promised to build them a school. From that rash, earnest promise grew one of the most incredible humanitarian campaigns of our time—Mortenson’s one-man mission to counteract extremism by building schools, especially for girls, throughout the breeding ground of the Taliban.
Award-winning journalist David Oliver Relin has collaborated on this spellbinding account of Mortenson’s incredible accomplishments in a region where Americans are often feared and hated. Over the following decade Mortenson built not just one but fifty-five schools. Three Cups of Tea is at once an unforgettable adventure and the inspiring story of how one man really is changing the world—one school at a time. Make this your next book club selection and everyone saves.
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"Some failures lead to phenomenal successes, and this American nurse's unsuccessful attempt to climb K2, the world's second tallest mountain, is one of them. Dangerously ill when he finished his climb in 1993, Mortenson was sheltered for seven weeks by the small Pakistani village of Korphe; in return, he promised to build the impoverished town's first school, a project that grew into the Central Asia Institute, which has since constructed more than 50 schools across rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. Coauthor Relin recounts Mortenson's efforts in fascinating detail, presenting compelling portraits of the village elders, con artists, philanthropists, mujahideen, Taliban officials, ambitious school girls and upright Muslims Mortenson met along the way. As the book moves into the post-9/11 world, Mortenson and Relin argue that the United States must fight Islamic extremism in the region through collaborative efforts to alleviate poverty and improve access to education, especially for girls. Captivating and suspenseful, with engrossing accounts of both hostilities and unlikely friendships, this book will win many readers' hearts." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"'[B]y delivering what his country will not, Mortenson is 'fighting the war on terror the way I think it should be conducted,' [coauthor] Relin writes. This inspiring, adventure-filled book makes that case admirably." Kirkus Reviews
"Three Cups of Tea is one of the most remarkable adventure stories of our time. Greg Mortenson's dangerous and difficult quest to build schools in the wildest parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan is not only a thrilling read, it's proof that one ordinary person, with the right combination of character and determination, really can change the world." Tom Brokaw
"Greg Mortenson represents the best of America. He's my hero. And after you read Three Cups of Tea, he'll be your hero, too."
U.S. representative Mary Bono (R-Calif.)
"Three Cups of Tea is beautifully written. It is also a critically important book at this time in history. The governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan are both failing their students on a massive scale. The work Mortenson is doing, providing the poorest students with a balanced education, is making them much more difficult for the extremist madrassas to recruit." Ahmed Rashid, best-selling author of Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia
"If you're in despair about America's future, meet my hero - Eric Greitens.
His life and this book reminds us that America remains the land of the brave and generous.
The heart and fist are just the combination we need." -Tom Brokaw
The Heart and the Fist might have been written in many countries, but its ideals seem to me to be quintessentially American, from and of the United States as she is at her best. That Eric Greitens--Rhodes Scholar, Navy SEAL, international humanitarian worker and founder of the veterans' aid organization, The Mission Continues--is an extraordinary individual goes without saying. But what resounds so powerfully in this book is his consciousness and drive, from the earliest age, not to cash in on his own abundant gifts but to find some path that was worthy of his highest self, some way to be of use, to make a contribution and to really live a life. This is very American. Mr. Greitens combines in one person the warrior ethos of toughness, courage and tenacity with the compassion of the humanitarian. This, too, is very American--not just to win wars or to impose our will or point of view, but to act in the service of others, on their own terms, to put others in touch with their own capacity to manifest this flame that burns so brightly in Mr. Greitens. If you're restless or itching for some calling you can't name, read this book. Give it to your son and daughter. The Heart and the Fist epitomizes--as does Mr. Greitens' life, present and future--all that is best in this country, and what we need desperately right now.- Steven Pressfield, author of Gates of Fire
"Eric Greitens is exactly the kind of citizen-warrior that America needs to fight our wars abroad and to win our battles at home. A man wise enough to lead, courageous enough to fight, and compassionate enough to care, he has written a glorious book about how to live with purpose that should be required reading for every American."-Bobby Muller, Founder of Vietnam Veterans for America and co-founder of the Nobel Peace Prize Winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines
"The Heart and the Fist is a vitally important, powerful book, along the lines of Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence (aka "Lawrence of Arabia"). Filled with adventure, eminently readable, and an incredibly valuable look into the heart and mind of a great man who would serve to guide us into understanding an alien culture.
This book helps to bridge the gap between humanitarian groups and the military (the "heart" and the "fist" ... who are, all too often, truly "alien" to each other!), in the same way that Three Cups of Tea helps bridge the gap between the people of Afghanistan, and those of the West who would assist that nation.
As Three Cups of Tea and Seven Pillars of Wisdom have become mandatory reading in many military organizations, The Heart and the Fist is a seminal, paradigm-shifting work that should be mandatory reading for every military and humanitarian organization who would work together (who must work together!), around the planet, to make our world a better place.
And, even more importantly, this book should be mandatory reading for every citizen who cares about helping others, with our military or with our humanitarian efforts, in a world filled with starvation, suffering, tyranny, oppression and genocide.
This book has turned me into a believer in Eric Greitens' methodology and his cause. Among the first of many to come!" -Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, Lt. Col. USA (ret), author of On Combat and On Killing
"If the United States is going to continue to be the indispensable nation in the 21st century, it is going to require an elite corps of both warriors and humanitarians that combine hard and soft power. Eric Greitens, both in his personal example, and in his book, points the way forward."- Robert D. Kaplan, senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, author of "Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power."
"The Heart and The Fist is a defining profile of compassion, courage and commitment that gets to the heart of why we wear the uniform. From combat to the home front, Eric Greitens has demonstrated extraordinary leadership as a Navy SEAL, humanitarian and champion for wounded veterans. His powerful story is testament the service of this Next Greatest Generation that will continue long after the wars end."-Paul Rieckhoff, Founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and author of Chasing Ghosts.
"Few men who become Navy SEALs enter this elite warrior fraternity with a background so rich in compassion, service, and cross-cultural awareness as did Eric Greitens. And few Navy SEALs have served the growing community of wounded warriors with such skill and dedication as has Eric Greitens and The Mission Continues."-Dick Couch, Author of The Warrior Elite and Chosen Soldier
"One would have to be mighty cynical to resist the power of Greitensand#8217; experiences, and young Americans would benefit from contemplating his message...A remarkable story told with modesty and grace." - Kirkus Reviews
"A glorious tale of humanity, resolve, and strength, Greitens's book reminds us of how many things we take for granted in our well-ordered lives." -- Publishers Weekly
"Greg Mortenson’s dangerous and difficult quest . . . is not only a thrilling read, it’s proof that one ordinary person, with the right combination of character and determination, really can change the world."-Tom Brokaw
"An inspiring chronicle . . . this is one protagonist who clearly deserves to be called a hero."-People
"Mortenson’s mission is admirable, his conviction unassailable, his territory exotic."-The Washington Post
"Greg Mortensonandrsquo;s dangerous and difficult quest . . . is not only a thrilling read, itandrsquo;s proof that one ordinary person, with the right combination of character and determination, really can change the world."-Tom Brokaw
"An inspiring chronicle . . . this is one protagonist who clearly deserves to be called a hero."-People
"Mortensonandrsquo;s mission is admirable, his conviction unassailable, his territory exotic."-The Washington Post
In 1993 Greg Mortenson was the exhausted survivor of a failed attempt to ascend K2, an American climbing bum wandering emaciated and lost through Pakistan's Karakoram Himalaya. After he was taken in and nursed back to health by the people of an impoverished Pakistani village, Mortenson promised to return one day and build them a school. From that rash, earnest promise grew one of the most incredible humanitarian campaigns of our time Greg Mortenson's one-man mission to counteract extremism by building schools, especially for girls, throughout the breeding ground of the Taliban.
Award-winning journalist David Oliver Relin has collaborated on this spellbinding account of Mortenson's incredible accomplishments in a region where Americans are often feared and hated. In pursuit of his goal, Mortenson has survived kidnapping, fatwas issued by enraged mullahs, repeated death threats, and wrenching separations from his wife and children. But his success speaks for itself. At last count, his Central Asia Institute had built fifty-five schools. Three Cups of Tea is at once an unforgettable adventure and the inspiring true story of how one man really is changing the world one school at a time.
How best to save the worldas saint, soldier, or . . . both?
Like many young idealists, Eric Greitens wanted to make a difference. Throughout college and after, he traveled to the world's trouble spots, working in refugee camps, serving the sick and the poor on four continents, from Gaza to Croatia to Mother Theresa's home in Calcutta, among others. Yet he could not prevent violence or save anyone from becoming a refugee, he could only step in afterward, and try to ease the damage.
So he joined the Navy SEALs, and became one of the world's most elite warriors. In a moving and inspiring, and yet also humble memoir, Eric offers something new in the history of military memoirs: a warrior who wanted to be strong to be good, only to discover that he had to be good to be strong. Throughout his SEAL training and deployments in Kenya, Thailand, Afghanistan, and Iraq, the lessons of his humanitarian work bore fruit. The result is a lesson for us all: The heart and fist together are more powerful than either one alone.
THE HEART AND THE FIST shares one manand#8217;s story of extraordinary leadership and service as both a humanitarian and a warrior. In a life lived at the raw edges of the human experience, Greitens has seen what can be accomplished when compassion and courage come together in meaningful service.
As a Rhodes Scholar and Navy SEAL, Greitens worked alongside volunteers who taught art to street children in Bolivia and led US Marines who hunted terrorists in Iraq. Heand#8217;s learned from nuns who fed the destitute in one of Mother Teresaand#8217;s homes for the dying in India, from aid workers who healed orphaned children in Rwanda, and from Navy SEALs who fought in Afghanistan. He excelled at the hardest military training in the world, and today he works with severely wounded and disabled veterans who are rebuilding their lives as community leaders at home.
Greitens offers each of us a new way of thinking about living a meaningful life. We learn that to win any war, even those we wage against ourselves; to create and obtain lasting peace; to save a life; and even, simply to live with purpose requires usand#8212;every one of usand#8212;to be both good and strong.
The astonishing, uplifting story of a real-life Indiana Jones and his humanitarian campaign to use education to combat terrorism in the Taliban’s backyard
Anyone who despairs of the individual’s power to change lives has to read the story of Greg Mortenson, a homeless mountaineer who, following a 1993 climb of Pakistan’s treacherous K2, was inspired by a chance encounter with impoverished mountain villagers and promised to build them a school. Over the next decade he built fifty-five schools—especially for girls—that offer a balanced education in one of the most isolated and dangerous regions on earth. As it chronicles Mortenson’s quest, which has brought him into conflict with both enraged Islamists and uncomprehending Americans, Three Cups of Tea combines adventure with a celebration of the humanitarian spirit.
In an inspiring memoir from one of the world's most elite warriors, Eric Greitens recounts in remarkable detail his time as a Navy SEALand#8212;from the most harrowing encounters and brutal attacks, to the lessons learned from his humanitarian efforts.
About the Author
Greg Mortenson is the director of the Central Asia Institute. A resident of Montana, he spends several months of the year in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
David Oliver Relin is a contributing editor for Parade Magazine and Skiing Magazine. He has won more than forty national awards for his work as a writer and editor.
Table of Contents
I: MIND AND FIST
II: HEART AND MIND
III: HEART AND FIST
and#160;8.and#160;OFFICER CANDIDATE SCHOOLand#8195;131
and#160;11.and#160;ADVANCED COMBAT TRAININGand#8195;204
and#160;and#160;EPILOGUE: THE MISSION CONTINUESand#8195;285
Authorand#8217;s Note and Acknowledgmentsand#8195;299