Charles Glass is a broadcaster, journalist and writer, who began his journalistic career in 1973 at the ABC News Beirut bureau with Peter Jennings. He covered the October Arab-Israeli War on the Egyptian and Syrian fronts. He also covered civil war in Lebanon, where artillery fire wounded him in 1976. He was ABC News Chief Middle East correspondent from 1983 to 1993. Since 1993, he has been a freelance writer in Paris, Tuscany, Venice and London, regularly covering the Middle East, the Balkans, southeast Asia and the Mediterranean region. He has also published books, short stories, essays and articles in the United States and Europe.
In 1986, Glass interviewed the hostage crew of TWA flight 847 on the tarmac of Beirut Airport. He broke the news that the hijackers had removed the hostages from the plane and hidden them in the suburbs of Beirut, causing the Reagan Administration to abort a rescue attempt. In 1987, Glass himself was abducted and held hostage for two months before escaping from his Shiite Muslim captors. In 1988, he exposed Saddam Hussein’s then-secret biological weapons program. The U.S. government rejected Glass’s claims, until Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. In addition, Glass was the only U.S. television correspondent in northern Iraq covering the entire Kurdish rebellion in 1991. One year later, he went alone with a hidden camera to Indonesian-occupied East Timor and, despite government restrictions, filmed and filed a report on repression and torture. This report influenced a U.S. Senate committee to vote to suspend U.S. military aid to Indonesia. He has covered wars in the Middle East, Eritrea, Rhodesia, Somalia, Iraq and Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was the overseas and investigative correspondent for CNN & TIME, a weekly newsmagazine that ran on CNN from 1999 to 2001. He covered the 2003 invasion of Iraq for ABC News and Harper’s magazine. He returned to Iraq in 2004 for The Independent and the London Review of Books.
Glass has served as correspondent for Newsweek magazine and The Observer. For more thirty years, he has been a regular contributor and columnist in newspapers and magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom. He has lectured regularly on the Middle East, American foreign policy, world journalism and human rights in the United States and Britain. His work has appeared in TIME magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Daily News, The Guardian, The Daily and Sunday Telegraph, The Independent and Independent on Sunday, The Spectator, New Statesman, Times Literary Supplement, Rolling Stone, Harper’s, Esquire, GQ and The American Conservative. He has published short fiction in Granta and The London Magazine. He was a special correspondent for London Review of Books and writes regularly for the New York Review of Books.
Glass has written the books Tribes with Flags (Picador), Money for Old Rope (Picador), The Tribes Triumphant (Harper Collins), The Northern Front (Saqi Books); Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under the Nazi Occupation, 1940-1944 (Harper-Collins in Britain, Penguin Books in New York and Editions Saint-Simon in Paris) and The Deserters: A Hidden History of World War II (Penguin Press in New York; and Harper Press in London as Deserter: The Last Untold Story of the Second World War). His latest book is Syria Burning: A Short History of a Catastrophe (Verso Books, 2016). He is completing a book for Penguin Press on British spies in France during World War II.
He has made many documentary films for U.S. and British television, including “Pity the Nation: Charles Glass’ Lebanon”; “Iraq: Enemies of the State” about military escalation and human rights abuses, broadcast six months before Iraq invaded Kuwait; “Stains of War” about war photographers; “The Forgotten Faithful” about the Palestinian Christian exodus from the West Bank; “Our Man in Cairo”; “Islam” for London Weekend Television; and “Sadat: An Action Biography” for ABC. His film “Edward Said: The Last Interview” was shown at the ICA in London, the British Museum and other cinemas around the world.
For his reporting and investigative pieces, Glass has been honored by the Overseas Press Club and has shared Commonwealth and George Foster Peabody Awards. Born in Los Angeles, California, in 1951, he took his bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from the University of Southern California in 1972 and did graduate studies at the American University of Beirut. He has four children and two stepdaughters, and he is a dual US/UK citizen.
Charles Glass was Books Editor of The Frontline Club Newsletter. In 2010, he was Writer-in-Residence at the Lacoste, France, campus of the Savanna College of Art and Design.
He is a founder member of the “Committee in Defence of Wikileaks’ Right to Publish” and of the “Anything to Say?” tribute to Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.
In 2011, he founded Charles Glass Books, an imprint of independent London publisher Quartet Books. The imprint published the British edition of Stéphane Hessel’s best-selling Time for Outrage (French edition, Indignez-vous!); D. D. Guttenplan’s American Radical, a biography of legendary investigative journalist I. F. Stone; Big Issue founder John Bird’s The Necessity of Poverty; and John Borrell’s The White Lake, a western journalist’s struggle against corruption in post-Communist Poland. The latest from Charles Glass Books is Low Life, a collection of Jeremy Clarke’s columns for The Spectator.