If you hadn’t heard, this story recently broke about this travel writer, Thomas Kohnstamm, who apparently claims to have fabricated a great deal of what he wrote for the Lonely Planet. This of course all coming out as he has his own book being released in a few days called, “Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?”.
Of course now that the news has been picked up through the wire, he is naturally backpedaling a good deal. I’m not sure what he thought was going to happen. You say far-flung things to get attention and surprise, surprise, you get attention. But whatever the case, from everything that I’ve read (which is perhaps more source material than he supposedly plagiarized) he is just full of crap. For instance, this story is just ridiculous. There are others in there as well. I don’t understand how someone who is supposed to be a travel writer, guiding others could possibly get themselves in so much trouble unless they’re such an inept traveler that there would be no reason to listen to them. Or there’s the fact that there’s absolutely no truth to his stories whatsoever.
In the end, I would warrant that his book is a complete work of fiction, no matter what he says. I worked for a travel book publisher some time ago and they do indeed vet and verify the data their writers collect. They have to because whether it’s just some traveler who was misled or some assey (and presumably former) writer of theirs changing their tune, they have to be able to lean back on their haunches and know that their books are the most accurate possible.
Undoubtedly, if anyone is stupid enough to follow this stunt and actually buy Thomas’s book, I’m sure he’ll recant all of the text in there just in time to try and get a movie deal. Everyone needs to do the writing community at large a huge favor and not buy this book, let it die, and let this guy go out and get a real job where he can peddle idiotic flights of fancy around the water cooler until everyone in the office gets as sick of him as I did in reading what he’s said.