Book Reviews

Book review: Hero – The Life and Legen of Lawrence of Arabia.


Micheal Korda is the New York Times best selling author of many acclaimed books but Hero is the most voluminous and informative of all.

The notes alone at the back take up 23 pages.

Hero not only is the story of T E Lawrence’s life, but also partially the tumultuous history of the Middel East and the Ottoman Empire just before and during the World War I.

T E Lawrence was the illegitimate son of an irish landowner who escaped with the nanny of his children in Ireland and settled in Oxford. Here the couple brought forth five children of whom T E Lawrence was the most intelligent, and active.

After graduating from Oxford University with an undergraduate degree in architecture, T E Lawrence worked at the Ashmolean Museum as a researcher.

Eventually, he entered the British armed forces after getting involved in an archeological dig in Carcemishj (today Syria), whish att the time was under Ottoman rule.

He made an effort to learn Arabic (something very few British would attempt today) in an attempt to communicate better with locals who were employed as workers on the site. Here, he befriended a young Arab boy whom he mentored off and on fro many years; he even took him and another Arab to England during one of his frequent trips to the homeland. T E Lawrence was certainly an excellent war tactician, adaptable to hot climes, and inhospitable environments, result oriented, farsighted, artistically inclined, methodical, and a stubborn individual.

Certianly he was outspoken, sought the lime light, but shunned it too. In short, he was an eccentric.

His service to the “crown” was much appreciated and recognized by his superiors and high-ranking politicians, and this enabled him to advance quickly.

M. Korda’s book also explains in some detail the politics of the time, and how the Ottoman army was structures. He explains how German engineers built the railway that runs thourhg Syria and Saudi Arbai to mecca, and also how german officers trained Ottoman army’s commanders.

This monumental, extremely well researched, factual book flwos well.

Everyone interested in histyr, especially Middel Eastern history of the time, which is the foundation of the political scene today should obtain a cpy and read it carefully to understand English politics.

T E Lawrence the “liberator” of Aqaba, and Damascus, and destroyer of many railway bridges, befireended  G B Shaw and even got him to read an advance copy of his epic book Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

Still very few, if anyone, knew  T E Lawrewncde well enough because even his good frined and emntor G B Shaw asked him “What is your game, really?” but got no answer.

T E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) died unexpectedly at the age of 46 in amotorcycle accident, and ever since his life has been examined by many. Several books have been written about him and his turbulent life. This book is the most extensive and authorattive.

Highly recommended!

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