- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
“Krakauer forcefully claims that Mortenson improperly used his charity’s funds and failed to build all the schools he says he did.” –Chicago Tribune
climbing K2 to place a necklace on its summit suddenly felt beside the point. There was a much more meaningful gesture he could make in honor of his sister’s memory. He put his hands on Haji Ali’s shoulders, as the old man had done to him dozens of times since they’d shared their first cup of tea. “I’m going to build you a school,” he said, not yet realizing that with those words, the path of his life had just detoured down another trail, a route far more serpentine and arduous than the wrong turns he’d taken since retreating from K2. “I will build a school,” Mortenson said. “I promise.”
This, in Mortenson’s dramatic telling, is how he came to dedicate his life to building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He devotes nearly a third of the book to this transformative experience, which he says occurred in September 1993. It’s a compelling creation myth, one that he has repeated in thousands of public appearances and media interviews. The problem is, it’s precisely that: a myth.
Mortenson didn’t really stumble into Korphe after taking a wrong turn on his way down from K2. He wasn’t lovingly nursed back to health in the home of Haji Ali. He set no villagers’ broken bones. On that crisp September morning, shortly before returning to America, Mortenson did not put his hands on Haji Ali’s shoulders and promise to build a school. In fact, Mortenson would not even make the acquaintance of Haji Ali, or anyone else in Korphe, until more than a year later, in October 1994, under entirely different circumstances.
The first eight chapters of Three Cups of Tea are an intricately wrought work of fiction presented as fact. And by no means was this an isolated act of deceit. It turns out that Mortenson’s books and public statements are permeated with falsehoods. The image of Mortenson that has been created for public consumption is an artifact born of fantasy, audacity, and an apparently insatiable hunger for esteem. Mortenson has lied about the noble deeds he has done, the risks he has taken, the people he has met, the number of schools he has built. Three Cups of Tea has much in common with A Million Little Pieces, the infamous autobiography by James Frey that was exposed as a sham. But Frey, unlike Mortenson, didn’t use his phony memoir to solicit tens of millions of dollars in donations from unsuspecting readers, myself among them. Moreover, Mortenson’s charity, the Central Asia Institute, has issued fraudulent financial statements, and he has misused millions of dollars donated by schoolchildren and other trusting devotees. “Greg,” says a former treasurer of the organization’s board of directors, “regards CAI as his personal ATM.”
Posted August 16, 2011
I highly recommend this text for two reasons: one,for Krakauer's exposure of Mortensen's tax fraud and deceit, and, two, for reminding us that we should critically examine all texts we consume (e.g., printed text, visual displays, videos, internet, etc.). Whether or not you believe Krakauer's case against Mortensen is merited, this book cautions us to consider authors' motives (Mortensen & Krakauer) and weigh evidence before we accept something as the truth.
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 9, 2011
I have read both of Mortenson's books about the building of schools overseas, and have attended two events in which Mortenson spoke. Additionally, I received a couple dozen copies of Three Cups of Tea to use for a book club at my school. To learn of the alleged wrong-doings by Mortenson made me both sad and angry.
Krakauer's slim book (75 pages which includes end notes) refutes many of the events which Mortenson wrote about in his books; apparently some of the events did take place but not on the date or in the location Mortenson stated in his books. Some of the events were completely fabricated, according to Krakaer. The deceipt is shocking, but the fact that Mortenson used possibly millions of dollars of donations, including Pennies for Peace money which was donated by school children, for his personal wants is just criminal. I, as so many other folks, was duped by this man.
While I appreciate the effort that went into Krakauer's book and the fact-checking that I expect took place, I do wonder if part of that effort was merely from outrage that he, too, was duped. The length of the book suggests that perhaps it was rushed through publication to get this side of the story out before the public forgets about it. That said, this quick read was appreciated for telling how one man (Mortenson) either was truly a thief or how he just "lost his way" as the subtitle of Krakauer's book states. I definitely recommend this read.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 15, 2011
Boo! So this man wants to expose Greg Mortenson for exaggerating his experience in Pakistan to sell books? And he will tell you all about it for the low low price of $ 9.95? I see. Google this guy and you will realize he is an adventurer/philanthropist just like Greg Mortenson, only less successful.
1 out of 22 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 29, 2011
No text was provided for this review.
Posted November 7, 2011
No text was provided for this review.