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.
Believe you me...
The narration is superb, never getting in the way of the story at all, which is in and of itself incredibly engaging. Excellent research brings new light on some of the most troubling and debated events in the story of T.E. Lawrence. The story is well-rounded out with other fascinating and influential people, and I have a much better understanding of the events of WWI in the Middle East, and their far-reaching effects.
T.E. Lawrence is a difficult person to like and to understand, but the author makes him understandable and in that understanding I commiserated with him. He is a rare person in human history and these events have had such long-lasting effects, certainly to modern times, and possibly much further.
I have not listened to this narrator before, but I am actively seeking other books he has narrated based upon what an excellent job he did.
I never intended to listen to this in one sitting, (the narration is over 22 hours), nor should anyone try. There is so much here to take in! I will listen to this one again, I can tell you that for certain, and have purchased the hardback to read at home as well.
I purchased books to listen to while I work or while travelling, times when I cannot read a physical book. This was totally worth it and I have spent a very enjoyable month listening to this, rewinding and listening to parts over and over. It makes some of my drudgery work go faster. This is the best recording yet!
Extremely well written. What you always wanted to know about why the middle east is the way it is as a result of western power manipulation. As an Audible audio book: Extremely well narrated. An excellent choice if you like history. A well told story.
A fan of Samwise Gamgee & John Calvin
This book delivered exactly what I expected: The truth about the life of a man who became a cliché. But it also delivered something unexpected, and that is a clear and sensible look at the causes and course of the First World War. And it's also true to the part of its subtitle that promises an understanding of the making of the modern Middle East.
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!
I was fascinated to learn about T.E. Lawrence. I had never before understood how he became "of Arabia" and the movie had confused me even more!
Now, thanks to this book, I can make sense of the situation, if not of Lawrence's rather troubled life and personality
The author intertwines his story with that of three other characters in the region at the time. There is certainly interest in their stories, but I found it broke up the narrative just when I was finding it most engrossing.
A well researched and well read version of events in the Middle East in WW I. The character of T. E. Lawrence was larger than life, but was he just another pawn in the British game of imperialism? A great story of Lawrence and other players in that war to end all wars. The narration is outstanding, bringing all of these characters to life.
This is well-told story of 4 characters' lives and exploits in the Middle East that helps explain the origins of the border and territorial disputes that live on a century later.
Hillgartner has a "professorial" tone that suited the book's material. He added a few accents in order to indicate the words of different individuals, and that made the book feel more "alive" than if I had read the words in the book.
This book offered an insight into the life of T.E. Lawrence who is not the same character displayed on the big screen by Peter O'Toole in "Lawrence of Arabia". The backroom dealings of British and French diplomats created artificial and unnatural national borders after the collapse and defeat of the Ottoman Empire.
I learnt that there was no drive for Palestinian Arab nationhood in the 1910's. What we know as "Palestinian Nationalism" today is a movement that mainly developed after the UN Partition Plan and the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.
At the time of World War (the era covered by this book), Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca, led the struggle (against British and French interests) for an all-emcompasing unified Arab Nation that includes modern-day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Sinai Peninsula, Iraq, and the entire Arabian peninsula.
The painful after-effects of the events covered by this book live on until the present day.
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.
A very hard to follow narrative.
The author had a need for adding all sorts of narrative color that only made following the complex specifics in the history line hard to follow.
The author needs to take a lesson from any documentary film maker. For complex history timelines keep it simple.
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