Thursday, April 21, 2011

Three Cups of Deceit

Three Cups of Deceit
Jon Krakauer
77 pages
Publisher: Byliner, Inc.
Source: Free PDF

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

This brief book examines the latest literary scandal, i.e. the "memoir" by Greg Mortenson, Three Cups of Tea, and exposes the lies and deceit in Mortenson's book.  I had not had a chance to read Three Cups of Tea when it came public that he had fabricated most of it and now I'm glad I never bothered, nor will I in the future.  It's disgusting that Mortenson could have fabricated such lies in order to raise money in the name of education that he kept for himself.

Krakauer, who was burned by Mortenson's scheme by donating over seventy-five thousand dollars himself, gets right to the point with his new book, summarizing what Mortenson claims happens on his journeys, then telling the reader what actually happened, citing numerous credible sources along the way.

There were several disturbing facts presented in Three Cups of Deceit, specifically, for example, after over forty weeks as #1 on the NYT Bestseller list, Three Cups of Tea fell to #2 behind Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love.  Mortenson used his foundation's credit card to start buying copies of his book in an attempt to put it back at #1.  There's no other word for that than disturbing.  But the absolute worst thing is that of Mortenson's schools, some of them only exist on paper; they aren't really there.  Several that actually do exist are empty because Mortenson failed to provide decent teachers.  Villages decided to create their own schools in lieu of Mortenson's because of the lack of teachers.  So what's the point of him actually building schools?  It seems just so he can raise money... for himself.

The great thing about this book was that I got a glimpse of that area of the world without having to read all the lies.  Whether or not you've read Three Cups of Tea, I definitely recommend this book.

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