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Mission Al-Jazeera: Build a Bridge, Seek the Truth, Change the World First Edition Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1403979056
ISBN-10: 1403979057
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Rushing, a Texas native and former Marine, is a correspondent for Al Jazeera International, and he is based in Washington, D.C. His purpose here is twofold. He not only wants to dispel many of the myths and prejudices accepted by Americans about the Arab world but also hopes to persuade Americans that they can more effectively convey positive aspects of American culture and American government policies by interacting with molders of Arab opinion such as Al Jazeera. He spent 14 years as a Marine Corps media liaison officer, and he relays the now-familiar biases and misconceptions of Americans about Arabs. What is more interesting and informative are his descriptions of how the Arab world perceives American actions. Although he acknowledges that these perceptions are often distorted, Rushing asserts that American officials aggravate the problem by refusing to engage with Al Jazeera. Unfortunately, Rushing discounts one of the reasons for that refusal, which is Al Jazeera's highly charged, biased reporting. Still, this work is a useful, informative effort to offer a different perspective on the cultural divide between Americans and Arabs. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


“From gyrene to jihadi journalist--it's not the usual American career trajectory. . . . Rushing is still trying to explain America to the Arab world and vice versa, and his vignettes clearly reveal what a tough job that is. A long list of people won't like this book, from George Bush to Gary Busey. Gary Busey? Yes--and that's just one instance of culture clash.” ―Kirkus

“A useful, informative effort to offer a different perspective on the cultural divide between Americans and Arabs.” ―Jay Freeman, Booklist

“Rushing has created an interesting . . . earnest, narrative.” ―Dave Shifflet, Bloomberg.com

“[Rushing's] modest proposal is worth hearing.” ―Cameron Scott, Mother Jones

“Rushing argues that what matters is for news consumers to arise from 'fearful passivity.' Only wide listening and reading, he writes, can grant independence of mind.” ―Mary H. Meier, The Boston Globe

“Civilization's struggle with terrorists is not primarily a struggle of bombs, bullets and bayonets but a struggle of ideas. Al Jazeera English is one of the most effective ways to expose and examine these ideas. If you want to know why and how, read this book.” ―Lawrence Wilkerson, Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, 2002-2005

“A captivating and unique insider's account of one American soldier's experience in Iraq, and how that led to his involvement with a critical element of the war: the rise of Al Jazeera and the development of Arab media. This is a strong wake up call to the West that not only exposes the conditions that have lead to our deteriorating relations with the Arab world but provides a brave way forward. It's time to listen to Josh Rushing.” ―Michael Wolff, Columnist, Vanity Fair

“Josh Rushing is a precious national resource -- and a global voice for understanding instead of polarizing. His unique story gives reason for hope that human bonds are stronger than rigid propaganda. At a time when easy cliches are drowning us in media sewage and boosting daily carnage, Rushing offers a perspective that could lead us to high moral ground and true international security. He lays bare the mental gymnastics and moral compromises that substituted PR flackery for integrity on the road to war in Iraq. And he symbolizes the fact that honesty and compassion are imperatives for human survival on this planet. Instead of pursuing a career as a Pentagon spokesman, Josh Rushing has opted to seek and speak truth. The world will benefit.” ―Norman Solomon, author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death

“A lot of people are ill-informed and scared about what they believe is a clash of civilizations. Rushing is one of few American patriots who are willing to challenge the misinformation about the Arab world's relationship with America. In this book, Rushing delivers a candid and honest American's perspective on what is true and what is not. His willingness to tell the truth and challenge political agendas is a smart and brave effort to educate both sides. This is essential reading for people who want the real, gritty picture of what is going on between the Arab and Muslim world and the USA.” ―Riz Khan

“Some people will try and ignore Josh Rushing's message, but his story is too extraordinary to be dismissed. Understanding his message requires strength and moral courage. I have rarely been as impressed with another human being as I am with him.” ―Richard Dreyfuss

“It's too bad for the Marines [that Rushing is] moving on. He convinced a lot of skeptical people in the Arab press that there are those in the U.S. military coming from the right place.” ―Jehane Noujaim, Director, Control Room

“A bracingly candid account of his [Rushing's] growing disillusionment with the war on terror.” ―Rebecca Sinderbrand, New York Observer

“Of the many accounts about those who have shifted gears, switched uniforms or crossed the divide between one camp and the other, few have been as intriguing or captivating as that of a young Marine Captain-turned-Al-Jazeera journalist--Josh Rushing.” ―The Ambassadors

“an entertaining and unique account of Al Jazeera International by an insider who arrived at the TV channel from an unlikely background.” ―Roy Greenslade

“With America losing the information and public relations war around the world today, "Mission al-Jazeera" is a fascinating and timely book that should be required reading by the many Administration Public Affairs and press secretary's.” ―Andrew Lubin, Reviewer's Bookwatch

“An eye-opener for readers....reads quickly and clearly.” ―The National Catholic Weekly

“revelatory and insightful” ―Choice


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (June 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1403979057
  • ISBN-13: 978-1403979056
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,288,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John Nordin on June 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I admit that I admire Rushing. From his first appearance in the movie Control Room through the last page of this book he is unfailingly calm, reasonable and even handed; not something we have a surplus of these days. His personal journey is compelling, but his mission: to break down barriers of misunderstanding between Americans and the world confident that most people everywhere want to live in peace is one I strongly believe in.

The book mirrors this. He recounts his personal story, his upbringing, his career in the Marines, his frustration with the political appointees who shaped relations with the media during the early days of the Iraq war and his transition out of the Marines due to their distaste with his appearance in Control Room. By the way, he explains that almost all of the film of him in that movie comes from one interview, and doesn't really reflect an arc of growth over a period of time.

My only frustration with the book is that because he so calm, that he doesn't provide many of the juicy details I was hoping for. Some are there, and my favorites are the stories of the arch-conservative spokespeople who orate against the evil of Al Jazera and then accept money from it for interviews. But even then he can't bring himself to indulge in inflated rhetoric and violent denunciations. Probably a good thing.

Most of the book is given to him arguing his case for increased and open interaction with the Arab world and the key role that interacting with Al Jazera could play in that. He points out that, by one survey, Al Jazera is the number one media brand in the world.
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Format: Hardcover
Thank you, Josh. You've made my world a little larger, and my understanding of it has grown as well.

As a Marine, I would never have read this book had it not been for Josh Rushing's Marine Corps service. Had he been Army or otherwise, I probably would have dismissed his story, and that would have been my loss.

Mission Al Jazeera provided information on several ideas I think we should consider further:

-How the American and Arabic cultures have clashed unnecessarily.
-How we can find points to agree on.
-How to open up a dialogue on points where we disagree..
-How the U.S. manages (or mismanages) the publicity war.
-How we can (and why we should) engage the Arab world through their media.
-How we could improve our own military public affairs.

Josh is still a Marine, though he is no longer paid by the Corps. This shows in his writing as he is intelligent and respectful when he is critical. It is clear that Josh disagrees with almost everything the current administration stands for, but this is not a Bush-bashing book. His points against the administration are fair, and he also has criticism for the American Left, the Arabic World, and himself.

As a Conservative and a Bush supporter, I did not find this to be leftist propaganda, mindless Bush-bashing, or even a criticism of the Iraq war itself. It is a criticism of our failure in nation-building (which is well-documented) and a criticism of individual policies for which Rushing is not only opposing, but providing solutions as well.
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Format: Hardcover
Mission Al Jazeera: Build a Bridge, Seek the Truth, Change the World, Josh Rushing, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007, 256 pages, $24.95. Reviewed by Major Charles M. Kyle, U.S. Army, student at the Command and General Staff College.

Though not an autobiography, Josh Rushing, a former Marine Captain, and now al Jazeera journalist, shares his personal story while assigned to the public affairs office at CENTCOM before and during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The author discusses two very important topics in this book. First, from an historical perspective, Rushing discusses the interaction or lack thereof between DoD and the Arab Media. This topic of discussion is extremely enlightening on the subject of how the military public affairs office went from doing its traditional job of informing on and about the war to "selling the war", a state department public relations responsibility. Rushing goes to great lengths to explain how the US marginalized the Arab media eliminating all possibility of US influence in the Arab world.

The second topic that Rushing explores is the means by which US government officials could engage the Arab world, both governments and populace. Rushing writes "if we are to win the war on terror, we have to interact with the media at home and abroad in order to control the way we are perceived."

Rushing spent 14 years as a Marine Corps media liaison officer and is currently working as an international journalist for Al Jazeera. This mix of military public affairs with western and Arab journalism, gives him a perspective not found in the normal American Mind. This allows the author to remove the American cultural lens that most of us normally suffer from and provide a perspective that could be a great tool to be used.
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