Ultimately, the narrative of the Greg Mortenson/Three Cups of Tea affair will be that the Central Asia Institute founder helped educate children in Afghanistan and Pakistan but also grossly mismanaged funds earmarked for aid and took too much credit for accomplishments he did not achieve.
Tuesday night, a reader brought another example to our attention.
In a 2008 interview with Etude, Three Cups of Tea author David Oliver Relin answered questions from associate editor Michael Werner.
Part of the discussion [emphasis added]:
[Werner] “Three Cups of Tea wasn’t a co-written book, but you share a byline with the main character, Greg Mortenson. How did that come about?”
[Relin] “That’s been the only negative thing about this whole adventure for me. After I turned in the manuscript, I received a galley back from the publisher with two names on it. It was published that way over my objections.“
In other words, Relin wrote the book and expected to receive the solitary byline. Of course, he used Mortenson’s tales (exaggerated as they now seem) so Mortenson should have gotten some credit on the cover. The sting in Relin’s words, however, clearly show that he believed he was going to be the only listed author.
The tale is especially poignant now since Mortenson blamed Relin for some “omissions and compressions” that created the timeline issues pointed out by 60 Minutes and Jon Krakauer.