Here we go again… Remember the Oprah – Jame Frey debacle over the fictitious A MILLION LITTLE PIECES he tried to pass off as fact?
Now, reputable author Jon Krakauer (INTO THE WILD, INTO THIN AIR) says the book THREE CUPS OF TEA by Greg Mortensen is a pack of lies. And he substantiates that claim with photos and quotes from people Mortensen encountered in his journeys. Krakauer has written a 77 page piece on the topic which will be released tomorrow as Kindle Single. You can download it free today on http://byliner.com/ as a PDF. Fascinating reading.
All of this blew up Sunday, when a piece on 60 Minutes questioned the story of how Mortensen came to have a relationship with the village of Korphe. (He claims to have wandered their accidentally in 2003 to be taken in by the village and nursed back to health after a failed attempt to climb K2. Other accounts don’t put him there until 2004 and under much different and less appealing circumstances.) According the New York Times article released yesterday, Mortensen’s publisher will “review the book and its contents with the author”.
Yikes. In addition to the charges that the book is dishonest, Krakauer contends that Mortensen’s organization the CAI is mishandling funds and not doing what it reports to be doing. Not the first time a charity has been accused of wrong doing, but shocking nonetheless.
This whole incident is so detrimental to the people out there who are legitimately trying to do good and do it honestly.
But does it also speak to how gullible we are as readers? If a publishing house tells us something is non-fiction we assume it has been vetted and is indeed non-fiction. So, where does the responsibility lie. (No pun intended). Obviously the teller of the lie is ultimately responsible. But what about the publisher?
Did you buy the book? Do you want your money back now? Is the publisher obligated to give it to you?