'Three Cups of Tea' update: Publisher releases comment


Image Credit: New Mark Communications/AP Images

Last week, 60 Minutes announced allegations that Greg Mortenson’s best-selling memoir, Three Cups of Tea, was inaccurate and at least partly fabricated. CBS aired its investigation last night, and Viking Press, Mortenson’s Penguin Group-owned publisher, released this statement Monday morning:

“Greg Mortenson’s work as a humanitarian in Afghanistan and Pakistan has provided tens of thousands of children with an education. 60 Minutes is a serious news organization and in the wake of their report, Viking plans to carefully review the materials with the author.”

Among other accusations, the newsmagazine claimed that Mortenson’s non-profit organization, the Central Asia Institute (to which President Obama awarded $100,000 of his $1.4 million Nobel Peace Prize money), didn’t actually build some schools in the Middle East, or that some schools were at least built by someone else. 60 Minutes also suggested that Mortenson was not actually kidnapped by the Taliban, as he claimed in the book.

Read more:
‘Three Cups of Tea': Inspirational memoir inaccurate, says ’60 Minutes’

Comments (72 total) Add your comment
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  • Em

    I actually care less about the details of the book than how the money is being spent. Even Krakauer admits that Mortenson has done some good things in that area. But if the donations are not being used appropriately – that needs to be corrected immediately.

    • joblo

      If he’s doing great things for the Afghans that’s wonderful. But he he lied in his book to make the money it doesn’t justify the deceit. He needs to be called to account.

  • Richard Dawletter

    Mortenson is going to make a great Republican. He already has the “telling whoppers” requirement down pat.

    • Cathy

      Sorry to inform you, but Mortenson is a LIB, you’d know that by reading the book. A true Bush-hater.

    • Vha

      Richard….really? seriously? this is the kind of stupidity you choose to post here. Does Soros pay your bills, which allows you to troll these sites, “marking” them up with your asinine commments. Idiot!

      • Dan

        Lib, Republican, Soros, Bush hater. Are you people crazy? Stop making this story and the rest of the world about yourselves and your self-centered thinking. At least leave the rest of the us out of it and go fight your delusional battles in some corner somewhere.

      • Phil

        @Dan, sorry but your wading in like some clueless version of a bull in a china shop doesn’t wash. I guess you’re one of those who after seeing a mugger get clobbered by his “victim” would want to paint both with the same brush of “each was being violent.” But the fact is Cathy and VHA were clearly countering (aka “defending” or “correcting”) the liberal mental illness idiocy posted by Richard. So take your holier than thou attitude and place it respectfully back inside you, where the sun doesn’t shine. Nobody needs your pathetic failure at moderation.

      • DNava

        The “Soros” comment really says it all with regard to this person’s comment, and why must it be automatically assumed that the author is a liberal. The outrageous statements made by those who are on the extreme (both ‘left and right’) are a great part of what is wrong with the politic of our country.

      • Phil

        Maybe, DNava, some of them. But I remind you, food doesn’t need poison in order to exist. But poison always needs food, if for no other reason than nobody would ingest poison if it wasn’t cleverly disguised as something other than what it is. Some extremes really do make sense if one’s goal is life. That aside, I agree with you in that I would not have accused Richard of being a liberal without more information. An idiot, yes. Mentally ill (compulsive, borderline, delusional, possibly sociopathic if just trolling), definitely. About to be ignored, yeah, you bet.

      • Dan

        @Phil, 1st, Your analogies are terrible. 2nd I get it, you’re a Glenn Beck watcher. Figures.

      • Brad B.


    • Lisa

      Richard, that is a non-sequitur. Why must some people make everything political? Don’t they realize they are falling right into the hands of a political establishment that wants to divide us? So sad.

    • bryan

      he’s make a great republican!! he only needs to get a few divorces, pay for a meth snorting gay prostitute and then spout about family values!!! lol

      • LOL

        Or he could be a coke head like our president.

    • Brad B.


  • JJ Olsen

    I think we can agree to reasonably assume that all non-fiction books are at least partially made up.

    • BJG

      There’s a difference between “partially made up” and outright lies.

      • Jim Hughes

        Is this seriously a news story that made the front page of Google News? At the end of the day, I could care less if a book is not “categorized” properly as Fiction / Non-Fiction.

    • Anne

      Why should we agree to that ridiculous statement? Fiction is made up; non-fiction is not. Full stop.

  • James Raia

    I disagree with JJ Olsen. Non-fiction books that at “partial made up” are books of fiction.

    • JJ Olsen

      I respect your opinion about that. I just think it’s naive. No “non-fiction” book is free of errors or misrepresentations.

  • don lingl

    another hero, another liar. i’m depressed.

    • Lisa

      Exactly don lingl. This is so disappointing. Is it the intoxication of fame, power? What is it? I am sadly becoming so cynical but with reason.

      • jeffstl

        That’s the word. Disappointing.

      • don lingl

        yes, i was brought to tears by his book….long story. it’s just really to bad. it’ll be interesting how he handles this. sad.

  • MEH

    This story at least makes the charges less than convincing. Even a non-fiction author can combine events that are still representative. And even if he had help with the schools, at least they got built. Maybe the unbuilt schools are pending. One hopes that the author’s side of the “story” gets out and that well-publicized retractions are made if the “expose” is in error or, heavens forfend, is partly made up.

  • Bob

    Why do people comment on the internet? Who cares? It’s not like your opinion matters to anyone.

    • Moe Hall

      Bob, that’s a remarkable point of view. I couldn’t agree with you more completely…

      • RWilly

        Is this meta-satire? Or (1/meta)-satire?

    • Phil

      Who is John Galt?

      • Lafe

        Who is John Galt? A made up loser in some work of fiction written by a feminist Russian emigre who came to America and used our social services…

    • Jenny

      And why are you commenting, Bob?

    • Anne

      Why do you comment on the internet?

  • Susan Bell

    And who owns CBS? ? General Electric, Westinghouse, etc ever heard of Frank Carlucci or the Carlyle Group? Get educated.

  • Moe Hall

    Q: What would you get if Bernie Maddoff and James Frey were able to make a baby?

  • Lisa

    Jim Hughes, you obviously have missed the point altogether. Brush up on what the issue is about before you comment.

  • John

    I saw the 60 Minutes report, and Mortenson lied about being kidnapped by the Taliban, built nowhere near the number of schools he claimed (claimed 11, three were built), and has no accountability of the money that has been donated, having had only one audit. Did he do good? Didn’t sound like it. Empty schools being used for storage, no funds being provided. Bah! I knew it! There really is no Santa Claus!!

    • Lafe

      Wrong. CBS/60 Min. CLAIMS he lied based on an unnamed source. He has built WAY more than three schools and plenty of factual evidence as to how the donations were spent.

      Do some more research and don’t believe the hype from 60 Min., it’s not the first time they screwed up.

      • Jenny

        60 Minutes said there were only 3 schools in a certain region and Mortensen said on Charlie Rose there were 11 there.

  • Volunteer#

    Richard Dawletter – your kind of dense as was your idol when he gave the guy $100,000

  • Craig

    Actually he is a democrat they are good spending money appropriately either.

  • Ken

    Obviously, the book was not intended to be a factual statement.

    • jo

      except that it was portrayed as such and people gave money to the foundation based on the book.

    • arlie

      @ken – lol. I got it.

  • Doualezos55

    The corrected edition will have the title Two Cups of Tea and a Bottle of Tequila.

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