Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy Used
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Solid used copy with visible wear.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Al Jazeera: The Inside Story of the Arab News Channel That is Challenging the West Hardcover – January 7, 2005

3.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
$0.50 $0.01

Navigate global markets with Barron's digital membership Learn more
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Al-Jazeera television network has been called many things, usually not very complimentary. The Israeli government says it is anti-Israeli, the Syrians call it a Zionist front. Some Arabs say it is a CIA plot, while U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has accused it of "working in concert with terrorists" and "consistently lying." The upstart Qatar network's remarkable story is now finally told in journalist Hugh Miles's book Al-Jazeera. Miles, an Arabic-speaking British journalist born in Saudi Arabia, tells how Qatar's liberal young emir, Sheikh Hamad, created Al-Jazeera in 1996, a year after coming to power in a coup against his own father. Shekh Hamad stunned the Arab world by liberalizing the country, giving women the vote, introducing limited democracy, and ending press censorship. Other Arab media outlets slavishly kowtowed to their governments and were distrusted by the public, but the emir gave Al-Jazeera complete editorial freedom. Its motto was: "The opinion and the other opinion." Arabs were amazed to see TV news that finally broadcast interviews with dissidents and held their governments accountable for policies. Some Arab states retaliated by closing Al-Jazeera bureaus, disrupting potential ad revenues, and breaking off relations with Qatar.

Al-Jazeera was already enormously popular in the Arab world when 9-11 occurred. After the terrorist attack, it became notorious for airing the communiqués and videos of Osama bin Laden and filing reports critical of the U.S. from its Iraq bureau. Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell described Al-Jazeera as "horrible" and "slanted." One American newspaper called on the U.S. military to shut it down. Miles tells of how a U.S. bomb flattened the network's bureau in Kabul, while U.S. soldiers and aircraft killed and injured several of its journalists during the war in Iraq--although U.S. officials deny targeting the network. As Al-Jazeera gears up to open an English-language channel, Miles writes, its story will only get more interesting. No doubt! --Alex Roslin

From Publishers Weekly

After monitoring the Arab news station Al-Jazeera for the Australian news service Sky News during the American invasion of Iraq, journalist Miles decided to delve deeper into its workings. The result is a detailed, absorbing look at the organization, the world it covers and the international media. Since its inception in 1996, Al-Jazeera has been broadcast from Qatar, the tiny yet incredibly wealthy emirate situated on the Saudi Arabian coast and across the Gulf from Iran, "like a mouse sharing a cage with two rattlesnakes." In describing Al-Jazeera's rise, Miles illuminates the shaky balance the channel has attempted to strike between Arab thought and Western influences, and shows how it has become embroiled in internal conflicts and global scrutiny about what's appropriate for a news broadcast (e.g., American media outlets fumed over its initial airing of bin Laden's videotapes, but then followed suit). Miles contrasts these struggles with those of other influential TV news outlets, showing how Al-Jazeera is similar to CNN and the BBC (with its news scrolls, dramatic music and global coverage), yet still unique.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; 1St Edition edition (January 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802117899
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802117892
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,025,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on April 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A TV channel that offends EVERYBODY must be doing something right. Since its quiet appearance in 1996, Al-Jazeera has continuously added viewers. It wasn't long before TVs in Europe and North America were tuning in to the one station that seemed to speak with a plausible Arab voice. What immediately distinguished this from other Arabic news and discussion programmes was its willingness to broadcast everybody's views. Although funded by the Emir of Qatar, Al-Jazerra was not a voice of its host government. It kept its news strictly factual and offered air time to voices dissenting from government policies. Anything going on the Arab world was discussed. Consequently, many contrasting views were aired, some of which criticised various governments in the region. But opinions and news were, and are, kept separate.

Discovering the phenomenon of Al-Jazeera had been discussed but had never been given an overview, Hugh Miles set out to rectify that lack. This son of a diplomat had solid credentials for researching the history of the new news channel. Fluent in Arabic, Miles was able to talk to station management, reporters and viewers in various places. His summation is an excellent example of investigative reporting, well presented. By the time Miles began his project, the subject had already undergone both amazing growth and intemperate vilification. He explains how Arab governments find Al-Jazeera a fomenter of sedition and rebellion. Some see it as a tool of the Isreali government seeking to destabilise Arab rulers, while others are certain it's an arm of the CIA. Americans, especially the Bush regime, view it as a mouthpiece for terrorist societies and probably anti-Isreal.
Read more ›
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Having been born in Qatar where my father worked for 25 years I am astonished by the emergence of Al-Jazeera and Hugh Miles' account of it. I do not feel that he is a cheer leader for Al Jazeera but objective. CNN's success is not through it's quality of news, personnel, or perspective, but due to its ability to market itself and garner huge advertisers into its fold and to make strategic business alliances. Al-jazzera's success is the opposite. It is financially disasterous, yet it's news is trusted by more viewers in the middle east than any other news organization.

Miles correctly points out that almost every country in the region has had its dirty laundry examined by Al-jazeera and in return has put pressure on Hamid Al -Thani to close down the organization or modify it. As has the US and Britain. Both nations have tried to dismiss Al-Jazeera as a mouth piece for Bin Laden. But I would argue that without Al Jazeera the other side of the coin would never see the light of day. CNN dutifully acts as a Washington sternographer and the BBC in its quest for ratings has also dumbed its news down and been very conservative, yet to its credit it has challenged the government on the legitimacy of the war and became embroiled in a battle with the government over it's "sexing" up of the weapons of mass destruction.

But both organizations have been left looking like "also ran's" by Al Jazeera which has shown the realities of war, the impact upon the civilians and the propoganda and misconduct propogated by the allies. So powerful was their news that the Bush administration arrogantly decided that the truth had to be obliterated and for the second time an Al-Jazeera bureau was struck by a US missile and a journalist was murdered.
Read more ›
Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
The book serves up only what the blurb promises - a detailed account of how Al-Jazeera was set-up and its turbulent growth - and nothing more. But I suspect that most people who pick this one would look for more than that, as otherwise its just a sequence of events that anyone would forget after the last page is turned. Hugh Miles is a journalist and as befits his profession, he just reports on the events and leaves out in-depth analysis that would have made this book much more enjoyable.

As for the judgement on if Al-Jazeera is biased, it is obvious where the authors sympathies are. But one thing is for sure - given the nature of the news Al-Jazeera handles, it is a case of damned if they do and damned if they don't. Beyond this, what you will make out of it is entirely based on your political view.

Given the nature of the middle-east politics, the channel is truly a pioneer in the media world and for that alone, the book deserves to be read.
Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
For those fortunate enough to have seen Jehane Noujaim's fascinating 2004 documentary, "Control Room", Saudi-born British journalist Hugh Miles provides an intriguing if sometimes biased complement that delves deeper into the history of the renowned Arab news channel and its rise to global prominence. Launched just a decade ago in late 1996, the station has never turned a profit and continues to be subsidized by the Qatari government. Yet, the author shows that many Arabs seem indifferent to this fact and do not view al-Jazeera as a biased news source for the current regime. In fact, Miles shows how the station displays more objectivity than many of its American counterparts such as the Fox News Network. Miles shares this perspective with vigor throughout the book and describes an organization that elicits opposing viewpoints to their coverage.

There is a great deal of credence to Miles' opinion as he shows how the station went to great lengths to cultivate intractable relationships with the Taliban and the Bin Laden organizations. This strategy turned out to be invaluable after 9/11 when al-Jazeera was the only one able to provide taped communiqués from Bin Laden and conduct a clandestine interview with two planners of the 9/11 attacks in Karachi in 2002. Miles also shows how critical al-Jazeera's role was in reporting the start of the second Palestinian intifada in 2000 and the U.S. response to 9/11 with the Afghani invasion where the station has the only bureau in Kabul. After initially expressing condemnation, the Western media giants have begrudgingly embraced the intelligence uncovered by al-Jazeera in central Iraq where embedded journalists have otherwise faced escalating degrees of risk.
Read more ›
Comment 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews