Michael Korda's Hero is the story of an epic life on a grand scale: a revealing, in-depth, and gripping biography of the extraordinary, mysterious, and dynamic Englishman whose daring exploits and romantic profile - including his blond, sun-burnished good looks and flowing white robes - made him an object of intense fascination, still famous the world over as "Lawrence of Arabia".
An Oxford scholar and archaeologist, one of five illegitimate sons of a British aristocrat who ran away with his daughters' governess, Lawrence was sent to Cairo as a young intelligence officer in 1916. He vanished into the desert in 1917, only to emerge later as one of the greatest, and certainly most colorful, figures of World War One. Though a foreigner, he played a leading and courageous part in uniting the Arab tribes to defeat the Turks, and eventually capture Damascus, transforming himself into a world-famous hero, hailed as "the Uncrowned King of Arabia".
In illuminating Lawrence's achievements, Korda digs further than anyone before him to expose the flesh-and-blood man and his contradictory nature. And as Korda shows in his brilliantly readable and formidably authoritative biography, Lawrence was not only a man of his times; he was a visionary whose accomplishments - as a farsighted diplomat and kingmaker, military strategist of genius, perhaps the first modern "media celebrity" (and one of the first victims of it), and an acclaimed writer - transcended his era.
Korda examines Lawrence's vision for the modern Middle East - plans that, had they been carried through, might have prevented the hatred and bloodshed that have become ubiquitous in the region.
Ultimately, as this magisterial work demonstrates, Lawrence remains one of the most unique and fascinating figures of modern times, the arch-hero whose life is at once a triumph and a sacrifice and whose capacity to astonish still remains undimmed.
©2010 Success Research Corporation (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers
“Much has been written about him, but no one has succeeded in illuminating the quintessential Lawrence of Arabia so profoundly and so well as Michael Korda. Hero is a work of brilliance, discernment and meticulous scholarship that surely will be hailed as the gold standard.” (Henry A. Kissinger)
“This magisterial biography of British soldier and adventurer T.E. Lawrence celebrates a life spent subverting authority in the most glamorous - and bizarre - ways. Korda’s vivid portrait of Lawrence and his warring impulses captures the brilliance and charisma of this fascinating figure.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Comprehensive.... An accessible, textured story of one man who intimately knew the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” (Kirkus Reviews)
Lawrence was an enigma; at the height of his fame he retreated from the public eye. Korda captures the complexity without explaining it away. He presents Lawrence's life without simplifying it. The tone of the book is one of deep pathos and an ineluctable pitch towards disaster, but it's a lovely thing nonetheless.
I do wish we had had the option of an unabridged version.
Retired teacher of literature with an interest in religion and in science and in history. I have loved reading for 50 years.
This book is well written. Lawrence is known to most of us through the 1962 film about him, but hearing his story told is still quite interesting. He was certainly one man in ten thousand if not a million....multi-lingual, supremely confident, repulsed by killing but an expert in warfare who personally killed many men, a true friend to those whom he cared to be friends with, but a man who could not stand to be touched, even a handshake being repulsive to him. He accomplished what was considered impossible on the field of battle, and his British superiors betrayed him after the war by refusing to honor one of the goals Lawrence sought as a motivator for his actions: Arab autonomy in the Middle East.
His style of warfare has been copied by Mao Tse-dung, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro, and the enemy the US faces today in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The narrator does a very good job of interpreting this fine, suspenseful book.
I knew almost nothing about TE Lawrence before listening to this book. Now I feel pretty well informed on this amazing and historical figure. This also added to my knowledge of the Arab world. The book tells a great story, and one that is more interesting than fiction. It is long, but I enjoyed the whole thing. The most interesting was certainly the war years, but the aftermath was well told, and kept my interest.
An avid audio fan, I listen mainly whilst walking my dog. I enjoy many and varied subjects,history,travel,espionage,crime,anything good
An excellent account of the life of one of the 20th Century's most famous,and complex characters.From the vivid descriptions of guerilla actions in the desert to the skullduggery of Anglo-French politics and all the aspects of Lawrences' life after WW1,the book is always riveting.
Excellent narration,I thoroughly enjoyed the audiobook.
If you have watched the movie Lawrence of Arabia then Part 1 will be a rehash. If you have not watched the movie Part 1 will be a good and interesting introduction. I have watched the movie several times and the movie served as an anchor visually for Part 1. Actually the movie was very much better than Part 1 of the book. I almost quit listening several times going through Part 1 because of the repetition. I hung in there and continued to listen. Then came Part 2 and opened up the years after where Lawrence of Arabia leaves off. Part 2 was the "rest of the story" after WWI for Lawrence. It was very interesting and worth the book. Lawrence was such an interesting and multi-talented person it would be very difficult for a book to do his life justice.
A great book that tells the amazing story of T.E. Lawrence. The title is perfect. His life and legend are that of a hero in the tradition of Homeric epics... great feats by a great man whose flaws make him even more heroic. Narrator Robin Sachs sets the right tone and keeps Michael Korda's prose moving forward and the listener engaged.
Seldom do you see a person who becomes a celebrity through their heroic efforts, and doesn't want to be known or recognized for it. He essentially help create the kingdom of Jordan, Iraq and Saudi Arabian among others. He disliked the notoriety of being known as Lawrence of Arabia, and he didn't want to be paid for his book 7 Pillars of Wisdom, just to really break even. He died too young and too poor. How many men do you know of who changed the world and didn't want to be paid a fortune, achieve political gain, or even at least have a trophy wife. He didn't smoke or drink, mostly a vegetarian, and even though he portrayed depression and maybe PTSD he never complained, he just kept living and contributed to life mainly for others.
A brave man of integrity, courage, and exceptional intelligence. He had some strange habits and was eccentric, but all in all an exceptional man. The narration was terrific, and I would seek out the author and narrator again.
It turns out, I knew nothing about Lawrence of Arabia. He was a complicated, complex man, and his story was fascinating.
Excellent book. Very well written. I cast no judgements on the author nor the narrator. It is an interesting book delving into the complicated mindset of Lawrence, his life and the way he changed others.
I am not sure about the title. Was he a hero? He did many things, many things people thought where impossible. But his heroism in arabia cast a shadow that he could not live up too. I enjoyed the audiobook very much, until he returned to England. After he returned to England, his war fatigue seemed to drive him to be completely useless. Chased by the media, shuffling from home to home. I could not help but feel that, after a period of rest, he should either settle down and start living, or get up and do something. After Arabia, he led an empty life.
He was not a hero all the time. But in our imperfect world. He did a fine job.
This was a fascinating story. I've been ignorant for so long about the legend of Lawrence of Arabia. It's an amazing tale, and there's plenty of detail. There's a few academic and dry spots near the end, but it is a pretty good intro to the whole story. I found myself Googling for more info at the end of it (and this is a long book too). I really enjoyed it, the british narrator seems to really fit the tone of the writing too.
"A master piece"
Thoroughly enjoyed and excellently narrated by Robin Sachs. The book gives you a unique insight into T.E Lawrence not only the war years but his struggle post WW1. Engaging and easy to follow the thread if like me it has taken some time to get to the end. A must for anyone studying the middle east.
"An excellent book, a great listen, what a story."
This is one of the best books I have read on the subject of Lawrence. It explained a great deal about him, About his life after the desert, a lot of it I had never heard before. I thought this was very informative, Absolutely worth the money.
"Arab revolt in the Arab Spring"
Not having seen the David Lean film version of the life of T E Lawrence, not clearly understanding where Lawrence’s biography stood within British or Middle East history and knowing really nothing of the history of the Great War as played out in the Middle East, I set out to listen to all these stories and learn. The critics claim that Michael Korda has relied heavily on previous writings and biographies of Lawrence, but the average reader today will not have read in depth around the subject and, as such, those criticisms fall away quickly. The book plunges straight away into the hero-making milieu, with a vaguely familiar list of names and places. A couple of quick raids on-line soon helped me to locate the action and picture the main players, but required detailed reading and a bit of work. This, however, was swept away in the very much more immediate and satisfying account of Lawrence’s life after Arabia, which was well written, informative and page by page fulfilled my requirements exactly. At the end of Korda’s book, I felt that I had a very thorough insight into the character of the individual and could place chronologically, historically and in context all of the events and pre-occupations.The murkier aspects of Lawrence’s life are dealt with in a very even handed manner - as Korda has said in an interview I watched, previous biographers and writers have either sought to exalt Lawrence or subject his reputation to sordid nods and winks and question exactly what could actually have been achieved against what achievements have been claimed for Lawrence. The remarkable list of names and encounters places Lawrence at the centre of an understanding of The Great War, Middle East politics both contemporary and modern day and the fascinating world of England in the 1920s and 1930s. The subject-matter is fascinating, and Michael Korda is a really enjoyable guide.
"an excellent book well narrated"
This audiobook is a vivid and engaging account of the life of T E Lawrence. Never dry, extremely well written and superbly narrated, this is my favourite audiobook so far this year.
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