HELENA, Mont. – Greg Mortenson’s bestselling book “Three Cups of Tea” came under intense scrutiny after “60 Minutes,” author Jon Krakauer and some people in the book said some of the stories were fabricated.
Here’s a look at some of those stories, what is disputed and Mortenson’s response in a 2014 interview with The Associated Press:
MORTENSON’S DESCENT FROM K2
— “Three Cups of Tea”: Mortenson stumbled upon the Pakistani village of Korphe in fall 1993 after trekking from the base camp of K2, the world’s second-highest peak. He spent days in the village recovering from the descent.
— The dispute: Mortenson could not have wandered to Korphe on that trip because it is on the opposite side of the Braldu River. Krakauer says no bridge existed where Mortenson supposedly crossed the river. Krakauer says he interviewed a climber and others who confirmed a bridge was at that location before and after that period, but not at the time Mortenson was there.
— Mortenson’s response: He insists he went to Korphe over a narrow footbridge and disputes Krakauer’s assertions to the contrary. Mortenson has acknowledged that he spent only a few hours there, not days as was depicted in the book.
MORTENSON’S PROMISE TO BUILD A SCHOOL
— “Three Cups of Tea”: Mortenson promised the villagers of Korphe that he would build them a school after they nursed him back to health. That promise forever changed his life, and he dedicated himself to building schools in Central Asia.
— The dispute: Mortenson never went to Korphe, so he couldn’t have promised to build them a school, Krakauer said. However, he did promise the villagers of Khane to the southeast that he would build them a school, but he reneged on that promise and instead built it in Korphe. A fundraising plea written by Mortenson in 1994 backs up the claim that he wanted to build the school in Khane, and it makes no mention of Korphe.
— Mortenson’s response: He now says he visited both Korphe and Khane villages during that 1993 trip and promised the residents of both that he would build schools for them. He says he planned to first build the Khane school but then switched to Korphe after finding a lack of local support and corruption in Khane.
— “Three Cups of Tea”: Mortenson was kidnapped and held hostage by militants in the remote Pakistani region of Waziristan. They took his passport and money, kept him under armed guard and monitored his every movement. He won his freedom after asking for a Qur’an and telling his captors that his wife was expecting a child.
— The dispute: People who were there described Mortenson as a guest in Waziristan, not a hostage. A photo shows him with his supposed captors, with Mortenson brandishing an AK-47.
— Mortenson’s response: He stands by his story, though he says he regrets the unflattering descriptions of his captors in “Three Cups of Tea.”