Adams, Michael (Evelyn) 1920-2005

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Adams, Michael (Evelyn) 1920-2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born May 31, 1920, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; died February 6, 2005, in Exeter, England. Journalist, editor, and author. Adams was a former Manchester Guardian journalist who became somewhat infamous at home for his support of a Palestinian state and his criticism of the Israelis. While Adams was studying history at Christ Church, Oxford, World War II began and he joined the Royal Air Force. His career as a bomber pilot was short-lived, however, as he was shot down over the North Sea and rescued from drowning by the German navy. Spending the rest of the war in a P.O.W. camp, he returned to England and completed a master's degree at Oxford in 1947. He then found work as a scriptwriter on European service for the British Broadcasting Corp. Later, in 1956, he was hired by the Guardian, which assigned him to Cairo, Egypt, despite his lack of experience with Middle Eastern affairs. It was the time of the Suez Crisis, during which Egypt was trying to nationalize the Suez Canal, triggering the ire of Israel, Britain, and France and leading to a military invasion condemned by the United States. Adams found himself opposing the British position, about which he wrote in his book Suez and After: Year of Crisis (1958). When the military action came, he fled to Beirut, Lebanon. It was while in Lebanon that he gained firsthand knowledge of the Palestinian people, sympathizing with their plight and writing articles against Israeli policy. After returning to Cairo for a time, his growing conflicts with the Guardian's editor led to his being moved to Rome, Italy; he left the newspaper in 1962 when a budget crisis eliminated his job. By this time, Adams felt that the problems between Britain and the Middle East were largely due to his country's misunderstanding of Arab culture. His experiences writing as a freelancer for the Guardian during 1967's Six-Day War convinced him that Brits such as his editor failed to see conflicts in the Middle East from an Arab perspective. Along with other writers, and even some members of Parliament, in 1968 Adams helped form the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding, for which he served as director of information for ten years. In 1972 he became the editor of the journal Middle East International. Adams made further arguments from the Arab perspective in such books as Chaos or Rebirth: The Arab Outlook (1968), Middle East: A Handbook (1971), which he edited, and Publish It Not: The Middle East Cover-Up (1975), which he wrote with Christopher Mayhew. His last book, The Untravelled World (1984), is a memoir discussing the first part of his life. Retiring in 1984, Adams remained active as a research fellow for Exeter University; he also started work on a second memoir, which was incomplete at the time of his death.



Guardian (Manchester, England), February 8, 2005, p. 25.

Independent (London, England), February 14, 2005, p. 35.

Times (London, England), February 9, 2005, p. 65.

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Adams, Michael (Evelyn) 1920-2005

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