Author Greg Mortenson Accused of Lying in THREE CUPS OF TEA

Did Greg Mortenson make up some of the stories in his 2006 bestselling book Three Cups of Tea? Last night, 60 Minutes aired a report that called parts of his story into question and accused Mortenson of mismanaging his non-profit group, the Central Asia Institute.

In Three Cups of Tea, Mortenson described recuperating in the Pakistan village of Korphe after become separated from his fellow mountain climbers in 1993. To thank the village for their hospitality, he later returned to build schools for the children there. He also described how the Taliban, whose sympathizers kidnapped him for a period of 8 days, hindered his efforts.

However, Jon Krakauer, a fellow author and mountaineer, says, “It’s a beautiful story, and it’s a lie.” Krakauer says Mortenson didn’t actually arrive in Korphe until a year later, although he did eventually build a school there. 60 Minutes also talked to the men that appeared in a photo in the book and whom Mortenson described as Taliban kidnappers. They denied his version of events, saying they were actually his protectors, not kidnappers.

Mortenson is also accused of mismanaging funds at the CAI, the charity he founded to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The 60 Minutes report questioned the intermingling of the charity’s funds and Mortenson’s personal interests such as travel expenses to paid speaking engagements he uses to promote his books. The report showed that the CAI has paid $1.7 million in “book related expenses,” which is more than they spent on schools in Pakistan last year.

While Mortenson stands by his version of events, according to the New York Times, he did say that the book “is a compressed version of events that took place in the fall of 1993.”

So have you read Three Cups of Tea? What do you think of these allegations?

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