Stones Into Schools – Review

Cover of "Stones into Schools: Promoting ...

Cover via Amazon

Greg Mortenson is getting a bunch of media attention as of late… and it’s not too good. 60 Minutes aired a little 15 minute news story about his book, Three Cups of Tea. The claims are that the story isn’t all true and that not only is some of it fiction but also his charity, Central Asia Institute, is not very good with their money. I was in the middle of reading his second book, Stones Into Schools, when this aired so I was interested and watched.

Now I take every news story I see on TV with a grain of salt. I say the only way you truly know the entire story is if you are actually the person who experienced it. I have no way of knowing if 60 Minutes got the entire story right on 0r if there are parts left untold.

Regardless of what is going on in the media with Greg Mortenson and his Central Asia Institute I’d still give his book, Stones Into Schools, an A. Do I know if it was all true? No, but I really don’t care. I’m a big proponent for education and if one man can bring to light a part of the world where schools are not only needed but WANTED with a passion then more power to him! Women in the US have so many privileges – and I, for one,  know I always took my education for granted. I wouldn’t have if someone had told me I couldn’t go to school. I’d want to attend – and that’s where the girls of Afghanistan and Pakistan stand.

Stones Into Schools is a super vehicle for bringing to light the need for girls education in all parts of the world. I felt like I learned a bit about how relationships are built in Afghanistan and how parts of the country are governed. I saw through Greg’s descriptions the beauty of the country (don’t all we see of Afghanistan on TV is deserty mountains and bombed out buildings?). I enjoyed my escape into his world each time I cracked open that book and I’d gladly re-read it.

There was an article in the May 2, 2011 Newsweek magazine called Shattered Faith: What the fall of Greg Mortenson tells us about America’s irrepressible longing for heroes. The author (Hampton Sides) talks about how he heard Mr. Mortenson speak and was moved and in awe and saw a hero in front of him. Now, with the doubt about Mr. Mortenson’s truthfulness floating about, has he lost the right to be labeled that? The author ends with the hope that Greg Mortonson is still the man he once thought he was and that Greg’s cause (schools for girls in the most remotest, poorest, end of the Earth places) won’t be tainted with “irreparable harm.” Do we, as Americans, long for heroes so badly that we turn a blind eye to certain information to still see what we want to? I hope not and I’m with Mr. Sides… “I, for one, still want to believe.”

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