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Descripción de editorial
A war correspondent’s bestselling, “commanding . . . eye-opening account” of five years on the Middle East frontlines (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
In 1998, Joris Luyendijk was stationed just outside of Cairo. It wasn’t for his journalism skills. It was because he was fluent in Arabic. What followed—from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the post 9/11 war in Iraq—would be literal trial-by-fire for the young untested reporter. What he had going for him was his ability to communicate.
Determined to cover the conflicts from the inside, Luyendijk spoke with stone throwers and staunch terrorists, taxi drivers, civil servants and professors, victims and aggressors, and all of their families. He chronicled first-hand experiences of dictatorship, occupation, fear, resilience, jubilation, and community. But the more Luyendijk witnessed, the less he understood. He became increasingly aware of the yawning gap between what he witnessed on the ground and what was being reported by the media. As a correspondent, he was privy to a multitude of narratives with conflicting implications, and he saw over and over again that the favored stories were those that would be sure to confirm the popularly held, oversimplified beliefs of the outside world.
“Disturbing, thought-provoking, and ultimately profound,” People Like Us shatters our perceptions of what we’re led to believe—a filtered, altered, and manipulated image of reality in the Middle East that has become a wholly designed theater of war for the western audience (Norman Solomon, author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death).
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.