Charles Glass is a writer, journalist, broadcaster and publisher, who has written on conflict in the Middle East, Africa and Europe for the past forty-five years. His books on the Middle East include Tribes with Flags (Atlantic Monthly Press and Picador), Money for Old Rope (Picador), The Tribes Triumphant (Harper Collins), The Northern Front: An Iraq War Diary (Saqi Books); and Syria Burning: A Short History of a Catastrophe (Verso Books, 2016). His books on the Second World War are: Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under the Nazi Occupation, 1940-1944 (Harper-Collins in Britain, Penguin Books in New York, 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 (Penguin Press and Harper Press). His latest book is They Fought Alone on British spies in France under the German occupation to be published in September 2018 by Penguin Press. Among his contributions to other books are his introductions to Alison Jackson’s Confidential: What You See in This Book is Not “Real” (Taschen, 2007) and Doctors and Torture: Resistance or Collaboration? (Amnesty International, 1991) as well as essays in collections including The Syria Dilemma (M.I.T. Press, 2013).
His journalistic career began in 1973 at the ABC News Beirut bureau with then Chief Middle East Correspondent Peter Jennings. He covered the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War on the Syrian and Egyptian fronts. He also reported the civil war in Lebanon, where artillery fire wounded him in 1976. He left Lebanon at the end of 1976 to work at the London Observer and then for Newsweek magazine. He returned to ABC News as Chief Middle East correspondent in 1983 and held the post until 1993, when he left the network to concentrate on writing books. He has been a freelance writer in Ireland, Paris, Tuscany, Venice, London and Beirut, covering the Middle East, Northern Ireland, the Balkans, southeast Asia and the Mediterranean region. In addition to his non-fiction books, he has published 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 Lebanon, Syria, Eritrea, Rhodesia, Somalia, Iraq and Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was the overseas and investigative correspondent for CNN & TIME, a weekly television news magazine 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 and again in 2015 and 2016 with photographer Don McCullin for Harper’s Magazine. He has made several trips a year to Syria for the New York Review of Books since that conflict began in March 2011.
For more than forty years, he has been a regular contributor and columnist in newspapers and magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom. 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, the American Conservative and the Intercept. He has published short fiction in Granta and the London Magazine. He was a special correspondent for the London Review of Books and writes regularly for the New York Review of Books. He has lectured regularly in the United States and Britain on the Middle East, American foreign policy, journalism and human rights. He has been a regular international commentator on the BBC, Democracy Now and Fox News. He is on the Board of Contributors at Stratfor Worldview.
He has made many documentary films for U.S. and British television, among them “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 cinemas around the world.
In 2010, he was Writer-in-Residence at the Lacoste, France, campus of the Savanna College of Art and Design. Since 2015, he has served on the panel of the Syrian Court to Prevent Impunity (http://www.sctpi.org/en/council-panel/), founded by longtime human rights lawyer and political prisoner Anwar al Bounni, which seeks to identify and bring to trial those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria. He has chaired many international conferences, including, most recently, the Syrian human rights panels at the Festival du Film et Forum International Sur Les Droits Humains in Geneva in March 2017. He was Books Editor of The Frontline Club Newsletter. The Alicia Patterson Foundation named him a Fellow for the year 2018 to study the conflict in Syria.
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.
For his reporting and investigative work, 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 was a graduate teaching assistant in philosophy at the American University of Beirut from 1972 to 1974. He has four children and two stepdaughters, and he is a dual US/UK citizen.