A thrilling and revelatory narrative of one of the most epic and consequential periods in 20th-century history: the Arab Revolt and the secret game to control the Middle East.
The Arab revolt against the Turks in World War I was, in the words of T. E. Lawrence, "a sideshow of a sideshow". As a result, the conflict was shaped to a remarkable degree by a small handful of adventurers and low-level officers far removed from the corridors of power. Curt Prüfer was an academic attached to the German embassy in Cairo whose clandestine role was to foment jihad against British rule. Aaron Aaronsohn was a renowned agronomist and committed Zionist who gained the trust of the Ottoman governor of Palestine even as he built an elaborate anti-Ottoman spy ring. William Yale was a fallen scion of the American aristocracy who traveled the Ottoman Empire on behalf of Standard Oil, dissembling to the Turks in order to gain valuable oil concessions. At the center of it all was Lawrence. In early 1914 he was an archaeologist digging ruins in Syria; by 1917 he was riding into legend at the head of an Arab army, as he fought a rear guard action against his own government and its imperial ambitions.
Based on four years of intensive primary document research, Lawrence in Arabiadefinitively overturns received wisdom on how the modern Middle East was formed. Sweeping in its action, keen in its portraiture, acid in its condemnation of the destruction wrought by European colonial plots, this is a book that brilliantly captures the way in which the folly of the past creates the anguish of the present.
©2013 Scott Anderson (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
If you are seeking a greater understanding of how and why the Middle East has become the "headlines" of today, you must listen to this book!
Heard about "Lawrence in Arabia" in an interview of Scott Anderson. Sounded interesting and what with my being a T.E. Lawrence fan…
T.E. Lawrence is fascinating, and the information Mr. Anderson presents is engrossing. The historical context is presented particularly well. But the story is destroyed by its uninspired and annoyingly amateurish writing. So much so it gets in the way of the story.
The narrator does a journeyman's job, but it gets outright silly when doing voice characterizations.
I started this on a long drive and listened several hours, but they felt wasted--I just couldn't follow. He jumped around too much, there were too many names. I guess one needs to already be familiar with the overall story first. Or if I was reading it, I could flip back and remind myself who someone is. But yeah, not being able to do this, I was lost most of the time
20th-century history of the Middle East is particularly confusing. Scott Anderson presents the subject in a way that is easy to understand but also accurate. I highly recommend this book.
This is an epic and engrossing tale. There are so many characters and events and names it can be hard to follow at times but the final power of the tale comes from the depth of the research and the full accounting of events. I found the opening half less accessible than the high drama of the war, but upon completion appreciated how far the story had traveled to get us to the end.
I have listened to this book twice and enjoyed it very much. I find it flows very well, keeps my interest with it's look at T. E. Lawrence's life and finally I am just fascinated by this incredible man.
Imaginations blaze with the romantic pictures that come to mind when thinking of Arabs rising in revolt lead by a relentless blue eyed young British officer.
Anderson's story has plenty of adventure, intrigue, and heroic moments. However, he also digs into the more honest moments when T.E. Lawrence faced overwhelming personal despair as well as frustration that all his effort was built on a foundation as shaky as a house of cards.
Anderson also provides concurrent stories and spends time stepping back and giving context for the events in the Middle East. Diplomats and spies set the stage for Lawrence and were also the frustration of his plans.
But in the end Anderson's story not only tells the tales of one of the most remarkable men of the 1900s, but he also paints a picture that allows us to see the foundation for many of the issues we see in the Middle East today.
Well written and engaging, I recommend this book if you want to catch a glimpse of the sunset of the concept of European empire and follow the adventures of the renown Lawrence of Arabia.
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