Greg Mortenson Audiobooks

December 28, 2009

Three Cups of Tea is the true story of a remarkable man who kept his promise to an 8-year old Pakistani girl to build a school. First released in hard cover in 2006, Three Cups of Tea made the New York Times #1 Bestseller list and this success ultimately led to the audio version Produced by Tantor Audio and first released in 2007. The audio production is narrated by the noted poet and author Patrick Lawler whose style and characterizations bring the story to life. His brilliant narrative in enhanced by a top quality digital soundtrack that enriches the listening experience with clarity and depth.

Three Cups of Tea was co-authored by Greg and David Oliver Relin who traveled through Afghanistan and Pakistan with Greg for 2 years. Relin relates his observations with a full range of emotions from enthusiasm and wonder at Greg’s accomplishments to his misgivings about being in a place where the threat of the Mullahs was eminent. No less courageous than his friend, Mr. Relin’s detailed and brilliantly written accounts captivate the reader to such a degree that one can feel the cold, sense the danger and exhault at the successes.

David Relin begins his introduction with an anecdote about riding in an old airplane with a Pakistani pilot and Greg Mortenson. The airplane is almost out of fuel and Mortenson realizes that they are flying the wrong way. If they don’t make it to their small landing strip there would be no safe place to put the airplane on the ground. However Relin hung on and was impressed as the pilot, Brigadier General Bhagnoo maneuvered the plane in on the freezing terrain at what appeared from air as a large “H” pattern. As Relin found out later this was to signify the landing area for helicopters. He commented afterwards that it was a tense flight and he was glad it was over.

Relin describes how he had heard stories about Mortenson’s adventures building schools for girls in the remote regions of Pakistan. he didn’t realize until later that he couldn’t simply observe the man at work but had to work as well. In his accounts Relin explains the biggest difficulty he had was pinning down the timeline of the story because of Mortenson’s fluid sense of time. Greg was not operating on any kind of a clock. In addition the language of the people he worked with contained no past or future tenses which made it even more difficult to determine if an event had happened or was going to happen. In addition to this frustration Greg was often late for appointments and at one point Relin feared he would have to abandon all together any efforts to write about the man and his work. Many people outside of Greg’s world called him unreliable. However, Relin soon realized that what Greg’s wife said was true. As his wife Tara said, “Greg is not one of us”. He operated on Mortenson Time and his techniques were unsettling and unconventional. At another juncture when the author agreed to do the book Greg went to the extreme of giving Relin a list that contained the names of his enemies and he encouraged the author to talk to them. He commented something to the effect that his enemies should have their say because he and his crew had the results. The assignment was next to impossible however the author persisted and this is frtunate for many.

Greg Mortenson’s efforts have changed the lives of thousands of children and he has won more hearts and minds than all the official American propaganda that continues to pervade the region. This seems like a bold contention and in fact it is. But moreover it’s true and yet another example of the man’s accomplishments.
In Relin’s eyes Greg is fighting the war on terror in the way it should be fought if it’s going to be effective. He offers every student he encounters a balanced education rather than simply attending a terrorists based madrassa where mind control and false information are the order of the day. The author has come to believe that it’s possible to learn from our mistakes and hopefully be more effective in reaching out to the masses of peace-loving people at the heart of the Muslim world.
Greg Mortenson’s journey to keep his promise began in 1992 while hiking the Palisades in the Eastern Sierra Mountain Range. Greg slipped and fell 800’ down the face of a glacier and sustained major injuries to his shoulder. His sister had recently died and as part of his emotional healing Greg planned to climb K2 in Pakistan and place the necklace he had bought for her birthday on the summit. Greg had come extremely close to achieving his goal when the climb started to go bad about 800 meters from the summit. Forced to turn back and depleted of resources he isn’t sure he has the reserves to walk the last fifty miles down the mountain to the closest village named Askole. He becomes disoriented and can’t remember how long it has been since he last saw a human being. He scours the trail for signs of humans and the signs they would have left but he finds nothing and begins to question where he is and whether he will survive at all.
He has strayed so far from the trail and now nothing is familiar and even the peaks around him look like unfamiliar territory. He resigns hilself to spending the night where he is and to search for the trail in the daylight. He takes refuge on a flat slab of rock that seems stable enough and scrapes snow into his empty water bottle as he wills himself not to think about his terrible and potentially deadly situation.

Ironically, he begins to feel at peace which he later attributes to altitude induced dementia and this is higly possible. However people who know him will say that this night and his reactions is just one more example of his incredible mind set..

Now as Greg lays there in the cold he decides to examine his failure. The leaders of his expedition were experts at climbing. They were efficient and graceful in contrast to Greg who is slower and a bear of a man. He is six foot four and weighs over pounds and because of his size he takes on the role of pack mule hauling food, fuel, and oxygen bottles up to the high camps that are within view of the summit. They decided to choose the West Ridge which is undoubtedly the most circuitous and difficult route and with Greg packing supplies, ultimately led him and themselves into this tragic situation that resulted in Greg’s separation from the group.

As fate would have it he was taken in and nursed back to health by the people of an impoverished village who shared their food, resources and many cups of tea. Seeing the conditions these people endure and their children whose’ eager minds longed for education Mortenson promised to return one day and build them a school.
From that devout promise came one of the most incredible humanitarian campaigns which ultimately became Greg Mortenson’s one-man mission to counteract extremism by building schools. As Greg said later, he went to Pakistan not to climb a mountain, but to build a school.

Greg returned to Berkeley California and began his search for investors. He hand typed 500 letters to celebrities like Michael Jordan and Sylvester Stallone along with numerous congressmen and representatives as well as friends and anyone he could think of, but all to no avail. Then one day a boy offered Greg a piggy bank filled with 50 thousand pennies. This was the first investment in Greg’s endeavor and somehow this young child’s gesture turned things around. In a little less than 2 years from the day he made the promise Greg managed to raise enough to return to Pakistan and begin construction of the first school.

As the money started to come in Greg set out to recruit a staff. But for some reason the coldest and most unfriendly place in Western Asia didn’t hold the same attraction for others as it did for Greg. As a wise man once said, “One man’s passion is another man’s folly.” After 6 months Greg found himself embarking on the adventure to Pakistan and Afghanistan by himself.

He returned to the village in Pakistan and was received with enthusiasm by the people and their children. However, soon after arriving he began to receive death threats from Mullahs and it was evident there were those who didn’t welcome his ideas. Greg Knew these threats came from the unpopular minority and he also knew educating the children was a threat to these militant factions and another way to strike a blow where it counts. Educated children are not vulnerable to the ignorant trappings of the Taliban.

Greg’s adventure is truly incredible as are his accomplishments and all are accounted brillianlty in Three Cups of Tea. One would be prompted to ask why a man would go to such extremes without relenting to any number of overwhelming obstacles.

In order to properly analyze Greg the reader needs to remember what his wife says about him, “Greg is not one of us.” This statement is so completely true that it opens the readers’ eyes at the truth of this man. He is compassionate, sincere, devoted, determined, driven, modest and intelligent to the point of genius. Greg mortenson remains to this day as one beloved by the poor of Pakistan. He went to K2 in honor of his sister whom he loved so much, but he couldn’t walk away from his failure to reach the summit because the needs of the people of northern Pakistan resonated with him so strongly.

In 1993 when Greg first encountered the people of the Hymalayas there were less than 8 thousand children attending schools. By the end of 2007 that number had grown to over 2 million and this was due directly to the commitment of a most remarkable human being, For 12 years Greg traversed throughout the coldest regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan where armies were engaged in an age old war for control of the worlds highest and coldest battlefield. He drew on his investment resources and built schools and where teachers were not available he found ways to communicate and educate the youth, especially the young girls.

In pursuit of his goal Greg Mortenson has survived kidnapping, Fatwas (threats) issued by enraged Mullahs, repeated death threats and endured separations from his wife and children. But these dangers and personal sacrifices have not been in vain. At last count his Central Asia Institute had built fifty-five schools and more are planned.
Three Cups of Tea is both an incredible adventure and an inspiring true story. The 13-hour audio book produced by Tantor Audio in 2007 is brilliantly narrated by the noted American writer and poet Patrick Lawler whose depictions and compelling narrative brings the story to life in a way that’s reminiscent of classic radio dramas from a bygone era. Mr. Lawler accents the dialog exchanges between characters with subtle changes in his voice and then makes smooth transitions back to the action and story line. His narrative is captivating and brilliant.

Equally as remarkable as Greg’s accomplishments is the reception Three Cups of Tea has received throughout a diverse group of readers and organizations. Three Cups of Tea is now required reading for U.S. senior military commanders both in training and in the field. It has also become an addition to of the library training manuals for officers in the Norwegian War College, Forsvarsnett and for U.S. Special Forces deploying to Afghanistan. Pentagon officers in counter-insurgency training and Canadian Defense Ministry members have incorporated Three Cups of Tea into the intense education of couter intelligence practices.
The book has been read by General David Petraeus – CENTCOM Commander, Admiral Mike Mullen – Chairman Joint Chief of Staff, and Admiral Eric Olson – SOCOM Special Forces commander and several other U.S. military commanders who advocate for building relationships as a part of an overall strategic plan for peace. Mortenson has been invited to address the National Defense Senior Leadership Conference at the Pentagon, visited over two dozen military bases and NORAD and hs been to the Air Force, Naval and West Point Academies.

Three Cups of Tea is more than an incredible account of the remarkable accomplishment of a dedicated human being. It is an inspiration for those who endeavor to make compassionate changes in our world. The movie Rocky was a fictional tale that inspired many to certain degrees. Three Cups of Tea is not a movie script but nevertheless equally as inspirational and a great adventure story. And it’s all true. One comes away from this story with a calm that no matter what adversities we may face there will always be someone who’s called to step forward. Greg Mortenson is not a hero, nor did he set out to make a name. He set out to build schools and he accomplished his goal. Three Cups of Tea is inspiration in it’s truest form.

Similar Books
Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, by Greg Mortenson This was first released on December 1, 2009. In this first-person narrative Greg Mortenson picks up where Three Cups of Tea left off in 2003. He recounts his ongoing efforts to establish schools for girls in Afghanistan and his extensive work in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan after a massive earthquake hit the region in 2005.

Co-authred with Atossa Lenoi, German born film actress it is another account of Greg’s adventures.
Stones Into Schools establishes Greg’s deep passion and concern for the Islamic youths, especially the girls. It’s his hope this generation will be the beginning of a kinder and more productive social environment for the people of the Himalayas.

Journey of Hope
In 2009, journalist Karin Ronnow and photographer Teru Kuwayama traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan several times to document Greg Mortenson and Central Asia Institute projects. Karin recounts her experiences with Dr. Greg and her fears of the spreading fires of insurgencies and the enduring spirit of these people. Ms. Ronnow admits she now has a deep appreciation for how difficult the work has been for Dr. Greg and how he’s managed to accomplish miracles without the help of foreign aid organizations

Three Cups of Tea: Young Readers Edition in Audiobook:

Greg Mortenson has tailored this version to convey the dynamics of his accomplishments to younger readers and listeners. The Audio book is narrated by Vanessa Redgrave who speaks in a tone that’s reminiscent of the finest lecturers and teachers. The text contains poignant messages about the importance of respecting and acknowledging the environment and the gifts that education brings to cultures and nations throughout the world.
Each of these audio books features the best narrators who each do a brilliant job interpreting books by top authors. The narrators are extremely talented in their use of vocal inflection such as a pause, a breath and even a smile you can feel through your headphones. All this adds to your experience of the latest best sellers and timeless classics. Greg Mortenson’s remarkable accomplishments are presented for the reading impaired as well as those who simply enjoy hearing a great story unfold through narrative. An experience that certainly is as close to reading as one can get. And in some instances the narrative adds even more imagery to the story line which further compliments each of these publications.

It’s extremely interesting that the average reader gets through only 5 books a year, but the average audiobook listener experiences 16 books a year. That’s because one can take an audio book along in the car, in digital players and listen to stories while shopping, exercising or walking in the park.
An audio book collection is something that will remain with a family for generations to come. These high quality recordings are flawless and will not deteriorate over time as printed pages can often do.

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