People Like Us: Misrepresenting the Middle East

Joris Luyendijk, Author, Michele Hutchison, Translator
Joris Luyendijk, Author, Michele Hutchison, Translator Soft Skull Press $14.95 (244p) ISBN 978-1-59376-256-8
Reviewed on: 08/31/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
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Paperback - 220 pages - 978-1-906702-14-4
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In his commanding debut, Dutch journalist Luyendijk describes the curious five years he spent as a correspondent in the Middle East, stationed out of Cairo. Sent traipsing around the Middle East, Luyendijk struggles to find newsworthy (and trustworthy) stories, usually involving bribery and less-than-honest people. Luyendijk also delivers example after example of oppression and brainwashing techniques used by dictatorships on their citizens, which comes through clearly in his conversations with ordinary people like cab drivers, as well as with high-profile public figures. Sent to the Middle East not for his journalism skills but for his ability to speak Arabic, Luyendijk had to learn on the job, an all-too-literal trial by fire. He takes advantage of his outsider position to break down the myths of war journalism and the very real limitations reporters face outside the Western bubble of free speech. The author also weighs in on 9/11 and Saddam Hussein's regime, making this an eye-opening account with special relevance for American readers.
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