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Greg Mortenson's "Three Cups of Tea" story fictionalized?

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I actually think his greatest crime is not the literary license or even (though it's bad enough) what looks to me like some pretty selfish use of money that was given in good faith by many people to be used for something other than improving his lifestyle and fame.

I think his greatest crime is the betrayal of people who showed him hospitality and then were painted as kidnappers, and the people to whom he made his original promise that got "switched." And he started doing that nearly from the very beginning.
#31 - April 21, 2011, 09:43 AM
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#32 - April 21, 2011, 02:44 PM

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It's a very reasonable point of view, credit to the writer. I'm sure the truth is more muddled and difficult to understand than it's been made out to be. I hope his trust in his friend turns out to be valid. I'll be intrigued to see what the investigations find out.
#33 - April 21, 2011, 03:46 PM

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The way he described Mortenson as disorganized, coming to that conference muddled with only one shoe, plus everything else he's done, sounds like a mental disorder.  I wondered why "Three Cups of Tea" was the number one seller in my local independent bookstore.
#34 - April 21, 2011, 04:33 PM

The way I look at it, there's two sides to this story, and 60 Minutes tried to sensationalize what they could, taking advantage of Greg Mortenson's weaknesses (poor money management and time management skills) to make it look like he's been deliberately lining his pockets from donations. I think it's more likely than he was so busy traveling all over the U.S. to raise awareness for girls' education in Pakistan and Afghanistan, that he felt the huge travel expenses were warranted and blew off his need for financial accountability. My guess is he was very naive and stupid about the legal trouble you get into when you use charity money to finance things like your book tour expenses. Also, some of the money wasted was a manager he trusted who bilked hiim out of money (by his own admission in the OUTSIDE interview with Alex Heard). Also, by his own admission, he didn't know how to handle being ambushed by 60 Minutes at a book signing, so he ducked out of there. I don't blame him there. Very few people know how to handle media interrogation; remember, for example, how Katie Couric made Sarah Palin look foolish!

I don't mind that there was a time compression of events in the book and his kidnapping was instead a matter of being detained by captors who may have been Taliban (and who took his passport, etc. for awhile). The reality is that Three Cups of Tea IS fascintating to read and Mortenson really DID work in a dangerous, remote, difficult area of the world and many of the schools he had built are verifiable by others (such as Gen. Petraeus).

I support the fact there's an investigation by Montana. I also hope that this results in a clean break between CAI donations and how Mortenson funds any speaking engagements (which should drop off dramatically, I expect), but that the teachers and classes continue.
#35 - April 21, 2011, 04:57 PM

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This offers some more interesting perspectives on the topic: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2011/04/greg-mortenson-peter-hessler.html
#36 - April 23, 2011, 07:02 AM
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Interesting. I did love this line, “A good teacher sitting under a tree can do more than a bad teacher in a new building." The comments are interesting too.
#37 - April 23, 2011, 11:32 AM

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I liked that line too, Franzilla. The article got me thinking about what it means to help people in different country/culture and how what constitutes "help" can sometimes be a subjective thing.
#38 - April 23, 2011, 12:05 PM
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UNLOCK THE ROCK, 2018
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