Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson responds to allegations that parts of his story were completely made up in an extensive interview with Outside Online. While Mortenson does admit to some literary license, such as combining multiple events and visits into single occurrences in the book, he claims that the two major episodes disputed by 60 Minutes and John Krakauer did happen and that he can gather the witnesses to prove it.
I’m rooting for Mortenson on this one. As I commented in response to the news that he may have fabricated some of his stories, I’m pretty turned off by the way Krakauer and 60 Minutes are handling this “exposé,” even if some of the stories they’ve dug up turn out to be true.
This past semester I spoke at a middle school where the 7th and 8th graders had read Three Cups of Tea. I was invited to speak because I’d spent three years in Pakistan working in education development. Considering that scores of school children have read Mortenson’s books, and have been made aware of the need for education development in Pakistan and Afghanistan through studying them, what is there to gain by taking Mortenson down? As a writer, is objective truth always the most important thing?