Thursday, May 26, 2011

Three Cups of Deceit - John Krakauer

As I've gushed previously on this blog, I have been enamored and inspired by Greg Mortenson and his work starting schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. His two books made me think about life in a different way - and strive for the idea of volunteer work as a whole way of life rather than something that is just done on the side. While I clearly knew that he wrote the books himself, the nature of his work just seemed so pure. Well, in this book, John Krakauer blows the lid right off the idea of Mortenson as selfless humanitarian. Three Cups of Deceit is a picking apart of Mortenson's book and an exposure of the lies and exaggerations contained within. So many of the stories seem as if they were created out of whole cloth and they undermind completely the work Mortenson claims to have done in the area. Krakauer talks about the ghost schools that have been built but unhoused by teachers and students. He questions where all the large donations have gone. Krakauer normally crafts his in-depth investigations into books that are compelling and almost suspenseful in their telling. This one, on the other hand, picks apart passage after passage of Mortenson's book, seemingly in an attempt to thoroughly embarrass Mortenson. For anyone who was inspired by Mortenson's books to go out and do great works of their own, I wouldn't recommend this book - it's too cynical and negative. But, for anyone thinking of donating their own money to Mortenson's organization, I would definitely suggest reading this so you truly understand where your money is going.

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