People Like Us by Joris Luyendijk
Misrepresenting the Middle East

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In People Like Us, which became a bestseller in Holland, Joris Luyendijk tells the story of his five years as a correspondent in the Middle East. Extremely young for a correspondent but fluent in Arabic, he spoke with stone throwers and terrorists, taxi drivers and professors, victims and aggressors, and all of their families. He chronicles first-hand experiences of dictatorship, occupation, terror, and war. His stories cast light on a number of major crises, from the Iraq War to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, along with less-reported issues such as underage orphan trash-collectors in Cairo.

The more he witnessed, the less he understood, and he became increasingly aware of the yawning gap between what he saw on the ground and what was later reported in 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 media favored the stories that would be sure to confirm the popularly held, oversimplified beliefs of westerners. In People Like Us, Luyendijk deploys powerful examples, leavened with humor, to demonstrate the ways in which the media gives us a filtered, altered, and manipulated image of reality in the Middle East.

About Joris Luyendijk

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Joris Luyendijk was born in 1971. He studied Arabic and politics at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Cairo. In 2006, he was awarded the Journalist of the Year prize by De Journalist, selected from the top forty most influential international journalists by the NVJ (the Dutch Association of Journalists).
Published September 9, 2009 by Soft Skull Press. 258 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Travel. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The wire services—Associated Press, Reuters, etc.—are the principal sources of news, and Luyendijk compares the production of news to that of bread in a factory: “The correspondents stand at the end of the conveyor belt, pretending we’ve baked the white loaf ourselves, while in fact all we’ve don...

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Publishers Weekly

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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.

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Open Letters Monthly

The straightest of reporting is drenched in bias – commercial, editorial, institutional – not the least of which is a preference for ‘just the facts.’ Cannon is quite right to say that the modern notion of journalistic objectivity is itself “a bias that the truth can be ascertained from the obser...

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