Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace With Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan

In This Review

Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace With Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan
By Greg Mortenson
Viking, 2009
448 pp. $26.95
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Stones Into Schools follows the 2006 best-selling book Three Cups of Tea in telling of Mortenson's continuing efforts to build girls' schools in the remotest regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Like its predecessor, this book is a heartwarming story of good deeds accomplished and in the works, told with an intimacy that makes the people and places presented come alive. As for the implications for U.S. foreign policy, these books may be seen as proposing a distinctive form of liberal interventionism: the United States should not get out of Afghanistan and Pakistan but get involved more effectively. Mortenson pounds the theme of small-scale nongovernmental organizations like his working closely with local leadership but also praises the U.S. military (which has consulted him) for being more responsive to his ideas than others in the U.S. government. Even if this may lead to greater U.S. involvement in Afghanistan -- "books and bombs" rather than "books, not bombs" -- this dedicated dreamer's story inspires hope that his brand of liberal interventionism is right for Afghanistan.