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The Northern Front

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In 30-plus years covering the Mideast, Charles Glass has reported under fire, been kidnapped by (and escaped from) Hezbollah, and interviewed the influential and the less so. As an early skeptic of the Iraq war, he could have played I-told-you-so. Instead, through The Northern Front, he offers an intimate account from Kurdish northern Iraq, mixing fine reporting, essential history, and sharp commentary. ”The girls on screen look like stupidity made flesh,” he writes of half-dressed cheerleaders playing on a TV monitor during a flight to Iran, ”embodiments of the West that the mullahs resist and for which millions of young Iranians yearn.”