Patrick Seale was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland on May 7, 1930. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Syria, where for 20 years his parents ran the Irish Presbyterian mission. After a national service commission, he studied philosophy and psychology at Balliol College, Oxford. He worked briefly for a cotton magnate, and then for Reuters news agency before returning to Oxford to pursue Middle East studies at St Antony's College. In the early 1960s, he worked in Beirut as a freelance contributor to the Economist and the Observer. In 1963, he became the Middle East correspondent for the Observer. He also served the Observer in Paris, where he wrote a book, French Revolution 1968, with Maureen McConville. His other books include Philby: The Long Road to Moscow, Abu Nidal: A Gun for Hire, The Struggle for Syria, Asad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East, and The Struggle for Arab Independence: Riad el-Solh and the Makers of the Modern Middle East. He died from brain cancer on April 11, 2014 at the age of 83.