Born in Addis Ababa, Michael Adams studied at Christ Church, Oxford. During the Second World War, he was shot down over the North Sea while serving with the Royal Air Force and was a prisoner of war in Germany for the rest of the conflict. He subsequently became a journalist, and was Middle East correspondent for The Guardian from 1956 to 1962, when he took a year's sabbatical in Italy. He subsequently continued to keep up association with The Guardian as a freelance journalist.
Adams was almost the only British journalist to report on Israel's treatment of Palestinians in 1967. He helped found the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding (CAABU) in 1967, and served as its first Director. He was editor of Middle East International until 1981. In 1975 he and Christopher Mayhew wrote Publish It Not: The Middle East Cover-Up, a pro-Palestinian work on the Middle East conflict.
- Gilmour, David (7 February 2005). "Michael Adams". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
- Papers of Michael Adams relating to Middle Eastern politics Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine at the library of Exeter University