Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan

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Reviews of Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan (1 review)

5 - Excellent Review

Reviewer:

I just finished proofreading this book. This is easily the most important book I've read in 2009. At the end, I had both shivers going up my arms and tears streaming down my face. Mortenson's first book, "Three Cups of Tea", has been on my "to read" list for a long time. I wasn't sure what it would be like to read this second book without the knowledge from the first one. It didn't matter. We may finally have the foundation for peace here, following what feminists said way back when: women have better things to do than fight wars. How to make that happen? Educate them. Mortenson writes of his group's process of getting a school on "The Roof of the World," the northernmost and most isolated area of Afghanistan. During the decade it took to get that one school built, many other schools were established, often in daring areas, including where the Taliban has a strong presence. In all cases, including the farthest school, it was the villagers who wanted the schools. They were desperate to educate their children, often after 30 years of war and destruction. The content is compelling, reading like good fiction: the people are sometimes larger than life, but by golly, this is non-fiction, and they are real. In some of the end matter, there are statistics of what happens when girls are educated. And that is the philosophy of the Central Asia Institute: the education of girls in rural areas. The methods of making this happen are the stuff of movies. Even the U.S. Military agrees: the best way to counter terrorism is to educate girls. Several branches of the military have made reading "Three Cups of Tea" required reading in their training schools and for personnel already in the field. This group's work, added to other worldwide social enterprises in action (such as Benetech's Human Rights projects), finally give me hope that peace may just be possible. Not tomorrow, or even in the next generation, but possibly soon after. Please read this book. Then tell others to read it.