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.
Engineer in St Louis, Missouri, United States
For the serious history reader, this is quality work
For the narrator sensitive, this book is very well performed, nice
Glad I bought it. Much in the way of Zionist politics I did not know.
This book is an interesting history of the Middle East before and during WW1. It is a good biography of T. E. Lawrence. However, it has some objectionable content that should have been more vague and objective.
Now I know who "Lawrence of Arabia" really was.
Enjoyed it and picked up lots of new information and insights. Narrator was good. I would certainly recommend this to anyone interested in this subject.
Absolutely phenominal. Incredible research that ties the lives of key players together, yet in a poetic and more humanistic portrayal than typical historical biographies. Don't be deterred by the length. Completely worth it.
"Can't we all just get along?" (Rodney King). Answer is NO! We can't and don't, and we don't learn from our mistakes. If you love history, cause and effects, you will like this book.
If you had to be there to understand, Anderson's book transports you there as if the sands were dusting your sanded feet. Context of of the time, the modernization of war and nascent importance of oil were laid out in relevant digestible morsels. Influential characters were developed until you felt you knew them physically and psychologically. You felt for them; got to know what motivated them; lived their adventures as they made history and history made them. Engaging narrative. Superbly read. Interested in WWI or not, this tale, these characters, this history narrative will expand your curiosity about people, places and how world events develop. You'll enjoy every twist in the saddle!
The history alone made this a most fascinating listen. If I didn't have to work I would have listened through to the end at one sitting.
Thanks to the narrator for doing a fine job.
Really made me think about the role of Western civilization in shaping modern Syria, Iraq and the rest of the middle East. I had no idea all of the things in modern events that stemmed from the events of WW1 in that region. Very timely read with the Syrian crisis
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