Stones into Schools

Last updated
Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Cover photo of Stones Into Schools
Author Greg Mortenson
CountryUnited States
Genre Nonfiction/memoir
Publisher Viking Press
Publication date
Media typeHardcover
ISBN 978-0-8037-3687-0
Preceded by Three Cups of Tea  

Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan is a New York Times bestselling book by Greg Mortenson published by Viking in 2009. [1] The book 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). CAI reports that as of 2010, it has overseen the building over 171 schools in the two countries. These schools reportedly provide education to over 64,000 children, including 54,000 girls, where few education opportunities existed before in the remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. [2] [3] [4]



Stones into Schools picks up where Three Cups of Tea left off in late 2003. Tracing the efforts of CAI to work in the northeast corner of Afghanistan, the book describes how the book's author and Sarfraz Khan worked to establish the first schools in the area. Mortenson and Khan's efforts were thwarted for a time when a devastating earthquake hit the Azad Kashmir region of Pakistan. CAI assisted with relief efforts in the region by setting up temporary tent schools and later build several earthquake-proof schools. After CAI's relief efforts were completed, the non-profit charity organization then opens schools in areas controlled by the Taliban and Mortenson assists the US military to formulate strategic plans in the region.

Advice solicited by US Military in Afghanistan

Due to attention paid to Mortenson's books first by their wives, US military leaders in Afghanistan have sought Mortenson's advice on how to work with the elders of local Afghan communities since 2007. Seeking his knowledge on dealing with Afghan elders, the military has also included Mortenson as an active participant in meetings between the elders and US military commanders. He has not, however, accepted any payment for his services, nor does he have any contractual or other formal relationship with the US military. [5]



On the April 17, 2011 broadcast of CBS News' 60 Minutes , correspondent Steve Kroft alleged inaccuracies in Stones into Schools and its prequel, Three Cups of Tea. In particular, CBS News disputed Mortenson's claim that he got lost near K2 and ended up in Korphe; that he was captured by the Taliban in 1996; [6] whether the number of schools built and supported by CAI is accurate; and the propriety in the use of CAI funds for Mortenson's book tours. 60 Minutes asked Mortenson for an interview prior to their broadcast, but Mortenson did not respond to their requests. [7]

Jon Krakauer, a former financial supporter of CAI, has also questioned Mortenson's accounts separately and was interviewed for the 60 Minutes segment. The day after the broadcast, Krakauer released his allegations in a lengthy online article, Three Cups of Deceit - How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way. [8]

Mansur Khan Mahsudhe, a tribesmen Greg Mortenson describes as a kidnapper in Stones into Schools, states he is "looking into how to sue" Greg Mortenson for what he claims are lies about him. [9]

Response to allegations

In response to the allegations made against him and his books, Mortenson wrote a statement that was published in the Bozeman Chronicle : "I stand by the information conveyed in my book, and by the value of CAI's work in empowering local communities to build and operate schools that have educated more than 60,000 students." Mortenson further stated, "The time about our final days on K2 and ongoing journey to Korphe village and Skardu is a compressed version of events that took place in the fall of 1993..." [10]

Scott Darsney, a respected mountaineer and friend of Greg Mortenson, wrote an email subsequently turned into an exclusive article for Outside magazine's online version as a response to the allegations against Mortenson. [11] Darnsey questioned the accuracy and fairness of both the Krakauer piece and the 60 Minutes report. Darnsey had been interviewed by Krakauer, and maintained that Krakauer either misquoted or misunderstood what he said.

As a response to Krakauer's allegations, CAI produced a comprehensive list of projects completed over a period of years and projects CAI is currently working on. The list was released in December, 2011 (see external links below).

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pashtunistan</span> Geographic region historically inhabited by the Pashtun people

Pashtunistan is a historical region inhabited by the indigenous Pashtun people of modern-day Afghanistan and western Pakistan. Wherein Pashtun culture, the Pashto language, and Pashtun national identity have been based. Alternative names historically used for the region include Pashtūnkhwā (پښتونخوا), Pakhtūnistān, or Pathānistān. Pashtunistan borders the geographical regions of Turkestan to the north, Kashmir to the northeast, Punjab to the east, and Balochistan to the south.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jon Krakauer</span> American writer and journalist

Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer. He is the author of bestselling non-fiction books—Into the Wild; Into Thin Air; Under the Banner of Heaven; and Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman—as well as numerous magazine articles. He was a member of an ill-fated expedition to summit Mount Everest in 1996, one of the deadliest disasters in the history of climbing Everest.

Jean Amédée Hoerni was a Swiss-American engineer. He was a silicon transistor pioneer, and a member of the "traitorous eight". He developed the planar process, an important technology for reliably fabricating and manufacturing semiconductor devices, such as transistors and integrated circuits.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wakhan</span> Mountainous area of northeastern Afghanistan

Wakhan, or "the Wakhan", is a rugged, mountainous part of the Pamir, Hindu Kush and Karakoram regions of Afghanistan. Wakhan District is a district in Badakshan Province.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Culture of Pakistan</span> Overview of the culture of Pakistan

The Culture of Pakistan is very unique in terms of its social values revolving around the religion of Islam. The region has formed a distinct cultural unit within the main cultural complex of South Asia, Middle East and Central Asia. There are differences in culture among the different ethnic groups in matters such as dress, food, and religion, especially where pre-Islamic customs differ from Islamic practices.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Miller (police official)</span> American police official and former journalist

John Miller was the Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence & Counterterrorism of the NYPD. He was the former Associate Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analytic Transformation and Technology. Prior to that, he was an Assistant Director of Public Affairs for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), where he was the bureau's national spokesman. Miller is also a former ABC News reporter and anchorman, perhaps best known for conducting a May 1998 interview with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Greg Mortenson</span> American professional speaker, writer and former mountaineer

Greg Mortenson is an American professional speaker, writer, veteran, and former mountaineer. He is a co-founder and former executive director of the non-profit Central Asia Institute and the founder of the educational charity Pennies for Peace.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Central Asia Institute</span>

Central Asia Institute (CAI) is an international non-profit organization, co-founded by Greg Mortenson and Jean Hoerni in 1996. The organization is based in Bozeman, Montana and works to promote and support community-based education throughout Central Asia, primarily in Pakistan and Afghanistan, by building schools, supporting teacher-training programs, and funding school scholarships.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pakistan–United States relations</span> Bilateral relations

On 20 October 1947, two months and six days after the independence of Pakistan through the partition of British India, the United States became one of the first nations to establish relations with Pakistan. The relations are a very important factor in the United States government's overall policy in South and Central Asia as well as Eastern Europe.

The Frontier Corps, is a paramilitary force of Pakistan in the provinces of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, to maintain law and order while overseeing the control of the country's borders with Afghanistan and Iran. The Frontier Corps is an umbrella term for two separate organizations: FC KP stationed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and FC Balochistan stationed in Balochistan province. Each subdivision is headed by a seconded inspector general, who is a Pakistan Army officer of at least major-general rank, although the force itself is under the jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry.

<i>Three Cups of Tea</i> 2006 book by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time is a memoir book by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin published by Penguin in 2007. The book describes Mortenson's transition from a registered nurse and mountain climber to a humanitarian committed to reducing poverty and elevating education for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Following the beginnings of his humanitarian efforts, Mortenson co-founded the Central Asia Institute (CAI), a non-profit group that has reported overseeing the construction of over 171 schools as of 2010. CAI reported that these schools provide education to over 64,000 children, including 54,000 girls, in the remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, where few education opportunities previously existed.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pennies for Peace</span> A program to raise pennies to help fund

Pennies for Peace is a program sponsored by Central Asia Institute, in which school children in the United States raise pennies to help fund CAI's educational projects. The program focuses on raising cross-cultural awareness through education to promote peace.

Korphe is a small subsistence farming village in northeastern Pakistan, situated at the foot of the Karakoram mountain range along the banks of the Braldu River.

Deborah Rodriguez (writer) American novelist

Deborah "Debbie" Rodriguez is an American writer, hairdresser, and humanitarian. She is noted for creating safe spaces that provide women with a way out of domestic violence and chaotic circumstances.

<i>Three Cups of Deceit</i>

Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way is a 2011 e-book written by Jon Krakauer about Three Cups of Tea (2007) and Stones into Schools (2009) author Greg Mortenson. In it, Krakauer disputes Mortenson's accounts of his experiences in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and accuses him of mishandling funds donated to his charity, Central Asia Institute ("CAI").

<span class="mw-page-title-main">David Oliver Relin</span> American writer

David Oliver Relin was an American journalist and the co-author of the New York Times best-selling book, Three Cups of Tea, published in 2006. Relin co-wrote the book with Greg Mortenson. The book gives Mortenson's account of his transition from registered nurse and mountain-climber to humanitarian committed to reducing poverty and promoting education for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Haldi also Halde or Huldi is a village in Ghanche District of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. Haldi is historic village of Baltistan, which is located at the meeting place of Saltoro river and Hushe River 28 km from district centre Khaplu.

Wajahat Saeed Khan, is a Pakistani journalist, currently working as an editor and correspondent at Nikkei Asia.

<i>War Machine</i> (film) 2017 American film

War Machine is a 2017 American satirical war film written and directed by David Michôd and starring Brad Pitt, Anthony Michael Hall, Anthony Hayes, Topher Grace, Will Poulter, Tilda Swinton, and Ben Kingsley. Based on the nonfiction book The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan by Michael Hastings, it is a fictionalized version of the events in the book based on United States Army General Stanley McChrystal.


  1. New York Times Paperback Non-Fiction Bestsellers List
  2. "Journey of Hope". Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  3. "Mortenson Campaigned to Build Schools in Asia" Archived 2008-04-30 at the Wayback Machine , ABC News, March 8, 2006.
  4. Worldview: The lesson jihadis fear most – In the remote reaches of Pakistan, former mountain climber Greg Mortenson is besting extremists by building schools" Archived 2008-02-29 at the Wayback Machine , Philadelphia Inquirer, January 13, 2008.
  5. "Unlikely Tutor Giving Military Afghan Advice"
  6. "We Never Kidnapped Greg Mortenson". The Daily Beast . Apr 18, 2011.
  7. "Questions over Greg Mortenson's stories". CBS News. April 15, 2011. Retrieved April 21, 2011.
  8. Link to Krakauer's online article, "Three Cups of Deceit ..."
  9. Pakistani wants to sue Mortenson
  10. Gail Schontzler (April 15, 2011). "Mortenson under fire from '60 Minutes' — Bozeman philanthropist denies allegations". Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Retrieved April 21, 2011.
  11. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-07. Retrieved 2014-02-20.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Scott Darnsey Outside Magazine exclusive