The bestselling book “Three Cups of Tea” has recently come under fire for stretching the bounds of “non-fiction,” but that apparently doesn’t mean universities are willing to remove it from their students’ required reading lists. Robby Soave of the Student Free Press Association writes how a number of American universities still plan to force students to read the discredited work (h/t John Miller):
An account of [author Greg] Mortenson’s adventures and humanitarian efforts in the Middle East, Three Cups of Tea was published in 2006 to widespread acclaim. Since then, it has become a favorite of undergraduate reading programs.
But according to an April 17 segment on CBS’s 60 Minutes, Mortenson fabricated some of the book’s most gripping moments—including his alleged capture by the Taliban in 1996.
Three Cups of Tea was assigned to all incoming freshmen at Mississippi State University in 2010. Linda Morse, chair of the First-Year Reading Experience at MSU, would not say whether she believed students had been assigned a fraudulent book. But she did speak highly of the events and discussions that sprung from using the book in MSU’s reading program.
“We had our local rabhi, we had a minister, and we had someone from the local mosque speak about what fasting means,” she said. “We used the themes in the book to help explore cultural themes that our students may not have been exposed to.”
One of the events featured Mortenson himself. Morse held a positive view of his visit, even in light of the recent controversy. “I found him to be a passionate speaker and a very humble man,” Morse said. “I think our students were exposed to someone who had a very important message to talk about with them.”