x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Three Cups of Deceit: The real story of Greg Mortenson

Jon Krakauer lifts the lid on the disgraced humanitarian's work in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Three Cups of Deceit by Jon Krakauer. Anchor Books
Three Cups of Deceit by Jon Krakauer. Anchor Books

Greg Mortenson built a reputation as a selfless humanitarian, boldly venturing into Afghanistan and Pakistan to build hundreds of schools, a journey he wrote about in his bestsellers Three Cups of Tea and Stones Into Schools.

Unfortunately, as writer and disillusioned donor Krakauer points out, it simply isn't true.

His 75-page indictment (available earlier in the year as a digital download and now in print for the first time), which Mortenson has never fully rebutted, chisels away at each myth surrounding the author's story - from the suggestion his mission was borne from being nursed back from the brink of death in the village of Korphe, to being kidnapped by the Taliban and damning allegations of misappropriated funds.

As a piece of investigative journalism, it is brilliantly researched and leaves no stone unturned.

Exposé aside, Krakauer acknowledges the tragedy of a man who set out with the best of intentions but "lost his way ... murdering his creation with his duplicity". Without doubt, this is a disturbing but essential read.