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Tribes With Flags: A Dangerous Passage Through the Chaos of the Middle East Paperback – April 1, 1990


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 510 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; Reprint edition (April 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871134578
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871134578
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,122,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In March of 1987, Glass, who speaks some Arabic and had covered the Middle East as a TV correspondent, began what he calls a literary and spiritual ramble through the countries of the Levant. His itinerary was a leisurely, spontaneous affair: visiting historical sites, chatting with people from all walks of life, comparing his impressions with those of earlier travelers such as Richard Burton, Benjamin Disraeli, Mark Twain. Curious about the various "tribes" who live in Turkey, Syria and Lebanon, Glass found attitudes to be remarkably divergent among people about their tormented world. His nonjudgemental tolerance here extends even to the Hizballah gunmen who brought his journey to an abrupt halt in Beirut and held him hostage (he had planned to continue on to Israel and Jordan). Glass's account of two months' captivity and his escape bring to an exciting conclusion this engrossing, informative, unusual travel book. Author tour.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

As a veteran correspondent (chief of ABC News' Middle East bureau), Glass is no stranger to the complexities of the maelstrom known as the Middle East. Four months after resigning from ABC, he was kidnapped and held hostage in Beirut, until his escape 62 days later. Interestingly, the retelling of Glass's days as hostage fills only a relatively few pages; instead, this is a literate, erudite, and leisurely stroll through the Middle East Glass always wanted to report on but couldn't due to the limitations of the 30-second sound bite. This is much like Thomas Friedman's From Beirut to Jerusalem ( LJ 7/89; one of LJ' s "Best Books of 1989," 1/90, p. 52.) in its blending of personal anecdote with contemporary landscapes, but it has a more historical tone. Highly recommended.
- David P. Snider, Casa Grande P. L., Ariz.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By DaveMarchese@WriteMe.com on October 28, 1997
Format: Paperback
Wonderful look at an area which is often overlooked for it's beauty and rich culture because of all the constant turmoil of the region. Glass grew up with some of the language and culture. This is obvious as he explores in-depth the areas he travels to and attempts to reproduce the travels of those before him. I thought the book was a good mix of history and culture intertwined into his daily travel and musings. The book is somewhat of a cathartic reminiscence as he relates his humbling time of kidnapping. But as such the recounting helps to bring stark reality back to the nature of that region and force us to consider the reasons 'why' pain and suffering are necessary in such a mythical and adventurous place. I've recommended this book to two friends who are news correspondents and love to travel. Thumbs up!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eyad Sarraj on May 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I follow the writings of the author and I read his book tribs with flags. I find the present book a perfect follow up with such distinguished style and rich knowledge . Thank you
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CRF Smith, Guernsey on October 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I recently discovered that my original 1990 Secker & Warburg copy of this engaging and ultimately thrilling piece of VS Naipaulish reportage by the American-born broadcaster and writer Charles Glass is missing from my shelves. So hurrah for Harper Press who have had the sense to reissue it as an eBook.

In the spring of 1987 Glass, who had been based in Beirut as ABC's Middle East correspondent, wanted to get away from hourly deadlines. He persuaded his New York editors to grant him leave of absence so that he could write a book about the people who, either as victims or villains, usually provided the human fodder for his news bulletins.

Starting in the Mediterranean town of Iskenderun in eastern Turkey he intended, using whatever public transport was available, to make a land journey across modern day Syria, Lebanon and Israel until he reached the Jordanian port of Aqaba on the Red Sea. It was a route designed to take him through most of what the old Ottoman Empire regarded as its Arabic speaking Greater Syria. He never made it. Syria itself was solid as a rock. In Aleppo Muslims and Christians of all persuasions lived at peace under the tyrant Hafez el-Assad. Dissidents were murdered. Lebanon was in its twelfth year of civil war and, despite recent Syrian army intervention, still gave anarchy a bad name.

When he reached Beirut Glass was kidnapped and ended up chained to a radiator in one of those fero-concrete jungles in the city's southern suburbs where Shi'ite militias still fly their flags. His capricious captors were alternatively cruel and kind: treats one day, denied water and dehydrating the next.
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By Michael Mardini on August 21, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great read if you are interested in contemporary Levantine history.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William Garrison Jr. VINE VOICE on November 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
By Charles Glass. "Tribes With Flags: A Dangerous Passage Through the Chaos of the Middle East" (1990) a hardback published by Atlantic Monthly Press, and similarly titled "Tribes with Flags: A Journey Curtailed" (1992) a paperback version published by Picador Books; both 510 pages. In early 1987 the author intended on traveling throughout the Middle East, but half way through his travels he was "kidnapped by pro-Iranian terrorists in a Shiite Muslim suburb of Beirut and held for sixty-two days" before allegedly escaping while his guards were allegedly asleep. This book isn't an exhaustive analysis of the civil war between various religious groups in Lebanon, instead it is packed full of anecdotes that the author experienced during his only 4-month-long trip (before he was kidnapped), whereby he met many different and divergent political and religious figures - but with a strong emphasis on encounters with the local `fella' in learning of their regional clothing, food and customs. If you like travelogues, you may like this book. Mr. Daniel Pipes (founder of Middle East Forum) was much dissatisfied with this book, based upon his 24 April 1990 review in the Washington Times. In one of his more charitable paragraphs, Pipes opined: "The book consists mostly of reports on conversations, interspersed with revealing, if random, historical facts and quotes from texts, very much in the style of V. S. Naipaul. Glass is a perfectly competent writer and one capable of insights and even the occasional turn of phrase, but he lacks Naipaul's depth or wit. The occasional nuggets are nearly obscured by a thick dust of commonplace detail." A bit stale-dated now.
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