Charles Glass the ABC News journalist - articles, books and documentaries
home   articles   books   charles glass books   films   links   profile   
Buy the books

Tribes with Flags on the Kindle


'Tribes With Flags' is the gripping story of Charles Glass's dramatic journey through Greater Syria which provides background context to a troubled region once again in the headlines.

Buy on Amazon.

Americans in Paris
by Charles Glass


Americans in Paris tells for the first time the true story of the thousands of Americans who stayed in Paris during the Nazi occupation. This tale of adventure, intrigue, passion and deceit exposes the lives of Americans caught up in war from the day the German army marched into Paris in June 1940 and took many of them into the Paris underground, the Maquis and the concentration camps.

Order a copy through, Harper Collins or Penguin USA

The Northern Front
by Charles Glass

Charles Glass: The Northern Front

The Northern Front is an eyewitness account of the Iraqi opposition's preparations for the American invasion, the Kurdish planning in northern Iraq and the early stages of the war when some of the opposition moved to the south.

Order a copy through Al Saqi Books

The Tribes Triumphant
by Charles Glass


The Tribes Triumphant completes the story of Charles Glass' earlier Middle East adventure, Tribes With Flags, after his kidnapping by Hizballah in Lebanon.

Get your copy through:
Amazon (UK)

Tribes With Flags
by Charles Glass

Charles Glass: Tribes With Flags

Get your copy through:
Amazon (UK)
Amazon (US)

Money For Old Rope
by Charles Glass

Charles Glass: Money For Old Rope

Get your copy through:
Amazon (UK)
Amazon (US)


Syria Burning
ISIS and the Death of the Arab Spring

syriaburning.jpg Since its commencement in the upsurge of the Arab Spring in 2011, the Syrian civil war has claimed in excess of 200,000 lives, with an estimated 8 million Syrians, more than a third of the country's population, forced to flee their homes. A stalemate now exists in the country with the government of Bashar al-Assad maintaining its grip on most of the cities in the west, while large swathes of the countryside in the north and east are under the control of the Islamic fundamentalist groups ISIS and the Nusra Front. The Caliphate announced by ISIS in the summer of 2014 occupies some 35% of the country, as well as vast territory across the border in Iraq.

The nuances of this conflict have never been well-understood in the West, least of all, it seems, by governments in the US and Europe, who, anticipating Assad's sudden departure, made it a condition of any negotiated settlement. The consequences of that miscalculation, Charles Glass contends in this illuminating and concise survey, have contributed greatly to the unfolding disaster that we witness today.

Glass has reported extensively from the Middle East, and travelled frequently in Syria, over several decades. Here he melds together reportage, analysis and history to provide an accessible overview of the origins and permutations defining the conflict, situating it clearly in the overall crisis of the region. His voice, elegant and concise, humane and richly-informed, is a vital antidote to the sloganizing that shapes so much commentary, and policy, concerning the civil war.

Buy a copy from OR Books.

Deserter out in paperback

deserter_paperback.jpg A poet, a gangster and an agent of the Resistance; 'Deserter' details three astonishing lives shaped by the decision to flee during WWII.

During the Second World War, the British lost 100,000 troops to desertion, and the Americans 50,000. Commonwealth forces from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Britain's colonial empire also left the ranks in their thousands. But, surprisingly, only one WWII deserter was executed for his crime.

In 'Deserter', veteran reporter and historian Charles Glass gives voice to the powerful stories of three soldiers, two Americans and one Brit, who all ran from the conflict to meet with distinctly different fates. He follows each into the heat of battle, exploring the pressures that formed their decisions and the lasting impact of their choices. The result is a highly emotional and engaging study of an under-explored area of World War II history.

Buy a copy on Amazon UK.

Find out more on the HarperCollins website.

The State of Syria: Past, Present and Future
by Charles Glass

stateofsyria.jpg The civil war in Syria is the deadliest conflict in the world today.

And as Bashar al Assad's government is alleged to have used chemical weapons against its own people, the US and Russia are at loggerheads over whether the great powers should intervene.

It threatens to erupt into a regional, and perhaps even global, conflict.

But what are the origins of the war? Who are the main players, how much support do they have, and what is at stake?

Will arming the rebels allow them to overthrow a tyrannous regime? Or will it just prolong the bloodshed - and install an even worse regime?

The State of Syria: Past, Present and Future provides a rare first-hand account of the political situation in Syria and the stories of the people most affected by the fighting.

Charles Glass's collection of essays written between June 2012 and September 2013 charts the beginning and escalation of the current crisis.

This is an informative, thoughtful and at times heart rending anthology that looks at all aspects of Syrian society and its different political and religious factions.

It is a book that will allow readers to understand what is really happening in Syria.

Buy a copy through Amazon.

The Deserters: A Hidden History of World War II
by Charles Glass

The Deserters by Charles Glass - US editionThe extraordinary story of the deserters of the Second World War. What made them run? And what happened after they fled?

During the Second World War, the British lost 100,000 troops to desertion, and the Americans 40,000. Commonwealth forces from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Britain's colonial empire also left the ranks in their thousands. The overwhelming majority of deserters from all armies were front-line infantry troops; without them, the war was harder to win. Many of these men were captured and court-martialled, while others were never apprehended. Some remain wanted to this day. Why did these men decide to flee their ranks?

Deserters by Charles Glass - UK editionIn 'The Deserters' (UK edition 'Deserter'), veteran reporter and historian Charles Glass follows a group of British and American deserters into the heat of battle and explores what motivated them to take their fateful decision to run away. The result is a highly emotional and engaging study of an under-explored area of World War II history.

Out in the United States at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books a Million and Indiebound.

NPR's Fresh Air interviews Charles Glass about The Deserters.

Out in the UK in print and on Kindle.

Find out more about the book and appearances by its author on Deserter's Facebook page.

Read and download the first chapter for free.


The Wall Street Journal
"Mr. Glass argues persuasively that deserters weren't the cowards of popular assumption but rational men making a natural choice to stay alive ... He has conscientiously trawled through court-martial records and U.S. and British files, and he has spent many hours tape-recording interviews with deserters, but he has also been lucky enough to be allowed access to the unpublished memoirs of one deserter, Steve Weiss, as well as the correspondence of several others. Such material gives the author an intimate view into the mind of the wartime deserter. Mr. Glass's own experience of being kidnapped and held by Shia terrorists in Beirut for 62 days in 1987 - while on leave from ABC News and researching a book - no doubt adds to his sympathy for the incarcerated."

The Times
"A gripping new history shows how the test of battle can make some soldiers collapse - some desert while others take up a life of crime."

The Telegraph
"The battlefield, as we are often told, is a place for heroes. Every soldier who heads off to war for the first time carries a heavy burden along with him, because he believes that only among the whistle of bullets and the crash of artillery shells will he finally discover if he is a man or a boy. Those who measure up can be proud of themselves and command the respect of others; those who fail imagine they will carry the shame for the rest of their lives. In this sensitive and thought-provoking book, veteran reporter Charles Glass challenges our unquestioning acceptance of such mythology. "

Tribes With Flags on the Kindle

tribes_with_flags_kindle.jpgTribes With Flags: Adventure And Kidnap In Greater Syria is out in a new Kindle edition.

'Tribes With Flags' is the gripping story of Charles Glass's dramatic journey through Greater Syria which provides background context to a troubled region once again in the headlines.

Charles Glass began his journey through the former Arab nations of the Ottoman Empire by exploring farms, refugee camps and feudal palaces to capture the full spectrum of Levantine life. But his literary and spiritual ramble was abruptly interrupted when on 17 June 1987 he was kidnapped by Shi'a militants. What followed, 62 days later, was a daring escape that captivated the world's media.

In this classic travelogue, the former ABC Middle East correspondent records an adventure which took him through Turkey, Syria, Israel, Jordan and the Lebanon. An honest, colourful and immediate tale of wanderlust and history, 'Tribes with Flags' is an essential back-story to our understanding of the complexity of the region, and the gripping testimony of one of the few hostages who has escaped its maelstrom to tell his tale.

Order it in Britain and the United States.

Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation 1940 - 1944
by Charles Glass

Now available from, Harper Collins and Penguin USA

americans.jpgIn the early hours of June 14th 1940, Nazi troops paraded through the streets of Paris, marking the beginning of the city's four-year occupation. French troops withdrew in order to avoid a battle and the potential destruction of their capital. It wasn't long before German tanks rumbled past the Arc de Triomphe, down the Champs Elysees to the Place de la Concorde.

The American community in Paris was the largest in Continental Europe, totalling approximately 30,000 before the Second World War. Although Ambassador Bullitt advised those without vital business in the city to leave in 1939, over half of the Americans in Paris chose to stay. Many had professional and family ties to the city; the majority, though, had a peculiarly American love for the city, rooted in the bravery of the Marquis de la Fayette and the 17,000 Frenchmen who volunteered to fight for American independence in 1776.

An eclectic group, they included black soldiers from the Harlem Hellfighters, who were determined not to return to the racial segregation that they faced at home, rich socialites like Peggy Guggenheim and Florence Jay Gould, as well as painters, musicians, bankers and businessmen. There were those whose lives went on as if the Germans were ephemera, those who collaborated and those like Dr. Sumner Jackson and Etta Shiber who worked underground for the resistance movement.

This is a book about adventure, intrigue, passion and deceit, and one which follows its characters into the Maquis, the concentration camps and overseas. Filled with a huge amount of new analysis on WWII, 'Americans in Paris Under the Nazis' is a fascinating, revealing and moving read.

Media mentions
Americans in Paris - The New Yorker
Winter's Big Books - The Daily Beast
The Last of the Lost Generation in Paris Under the Nazis - The Huffington Post
The moral maze of occupied France - The Catholic Herald

Interview on France 24
At Shakespeare and Company Bookshop
Unplugged: Obama's Security Approach - CBSNewsOnline

Order a copy through, Harper Collins or Penguin USA.

The Northern Front
by Charles Glass

Charles Glass: The Northern Front.jpg'Essential reading' John Simpson

This is the Iraq war as it really started, amid lies, confusion and profound distrust between the United States and its Iraqi allies. Charles Glass, who first covered the Kurds in 1974 and was in Iraq for their failed rebellion in 1991, depicts the tense epoch that sowed the seeds of America's inevitable failure there.

The Northern Front is the dramatic eyewitness account of the machinations of Iraqi leaders - Ahmad Chalabi, Abdel Aziz Hakim, Massoud Barzani and Jelal Talabani - to control the country before their opponents seized the initiative. Glass recounts what went wrong when the US, with Britain in tow, imposed its will on a people unlikely to accept foreign designs for their future. He indicts international media conglomerates that failed to tell the truth when public debate could have prevented the deaths and destruction that came with war.

'Witty and absorbing ... Essential, and humbling, reading for all those pundits and commentators who think they understand what happened in Iraq.' Malise Ruthven, author of A History of the Arab Peoples

'A vivid picture not only of the events leading up to the war and the chaos of the war itself but also of some of the Iraqi emigrés who were hoping to take over the government of Iraq.' Ian Gilmour

'Should be mandatory reading for all wannabe foreign correspondents.' Jonathan Randal, author of After Such Knowledge, What Forgiveness? - Encounters with Kurdistan.

'In the finest tradition of radical reporting - anti-war, sympathetic, compassionate and enlightening.' Phillip Knightley, author of The First Casualty

'A beautifully written account of the full sweep of the war and of what it was like to report on it. His diary should in future serve as the starting-point for any proper understanding of the whole contentious business of the Iraq war.' John Simpson

Order a copy through Al Saqi Books

The Tribes Triumphant
by Charles Glass

the_tribes_triumphant-med.jpgThis is a powerful and insightful narrative of a journey - once violently interrupted and here resumed - through one of the most compelling regions on earth.

In the late 1980s, Charles Glass set out on a literary and spiritual ramble from Alexandretta in southern Turkey for Aqaba, the first Turkish garrison conquered in 1917 by T.E. Lawrence and the tribal irregulars of the Arab revolt. He never reached his destination: his journey came to a brutal halt when he was kidnapped and held hostage for three months, a story told in his previous book, "Tribes with Flags".

Now he reverses the journey, marching north along the path of the Levant's last successful invasion, by the Arabs of the Hejaz and Britain in 1917, since which time the region has been divided into Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan. He traverses the Jordanian desert to the Iraqi border with Bedouin guides, explores modern Israel and revisits the scene of his captivity, confronting the men who kidnapped him. He visits the Israeli settlements and the Arab towns on whose land the settlements were constructed; he speaks to Israeli conscripts and Palestinian demonstrators, to old family chieftains and the Israeli Sabra aristocracy, to priests, rabbis and mullahs, politicians and assassins, torturers and tortured. Glass believes that the only way to understand this complex region of the world, which so many different peoples desire to possess so intensely, it is to walk its ancient paths, listen to its people, explore its ruins, eat its food and examine its manuscripts. The result is an exceptionally interesting book, whose beautifully lucid prose and sophisticated grasp of the interpenetration of past and future compel one's delighted attention at all times.


Daily Mail '...the most absorbing passages...trace Glass's progress through Israel and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza...'

Sunday Times 'fascinating...intriguing...Glass is skilled at bringing people important book.'

Literary Review '...anyone who is interested in the continuing agony of the Middle East should read this book.'

The Spectator 'Charles Glass reads like Taki with an explosives belt...'

Get your copy through:
Amazon (UK)

Tribes with flags

Tribes With Flags is a chronicle of Glass' journey from the southern Turkish coast to Lebanon, and includes the 62 days he was held captive by pro-Iranian kidnappers in Beirut.

Money for old rope

Disorderly compositions on the Mideast, Balkans, America and the rest of the world.

Charles Glass at charlesglassbooks

His literary agent is Ed Victor
6 Bayley Street, London WC1B 3HE
Tel: (+44) 020 7304 4100

sign up
Join the mailing list to receive details of new articles and upcoming events