• Seven Pillars of Wisdom

  • By: T.E. Lawrence
  • Narrated by: Jim Norton
  • Length: 3 hrs and 50 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (109 ratings)

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Seven Pillars of Wisdom  By  cover art

Seven Pillars of Wisdom

By: T.E. Lawrence
Narrated by: Jim Norton
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Editorial reviews

Lawrence's famous autobiographical history of the Arab wars of liberation from the Ottoman Empire during WWI is difficult to follow in this severe abridgment. The deeper historical milieu has to be known in detail by the listener for a full understanding. Nevertheless, Irish actor Jim Norton's voice aptly expresses this weary, steely, cultured Englishman with too much integrity for his times. Scenes of pain and horror are dryly presented, but Lawrence's anguish at governmental double-dealing comes clearly through. As usual, Naxos punctuates the narrative with well-chosen selections of stirring classical music.

Publisher's summary

Although Lawrence of Arabia died in 1935, the story of his life has captured the imagination of succeeding generations. The Seven Pillars of Wisdom is a monumental work in which he chronicles his role in leading the Arab Revolt against the Turks during the First World War. A reluctant leader, and wracked by guilt at the duplicity of the British, Lawrence nevertheless threw himself into his role, suffering the blistering desert conditions and masterminding military campaigns which culminated in the triumphant march of the Arabs into Damascus.
(P)1994 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.; ©1994 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.

Critic reviews

"It ranks with the greatest books ever written in the English language. As a narrative of war and adventure it is unsurpassable." (Winston Churchill)

What listeners say about Seven Pillars of Wisdom

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

decent documentary, but hopelessly mistitled

My last two books were "A Tale of Two Cities" and "Charlamagne", both rich, vivid, colorful tales told very well. "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" would be much more accurately titled "Technical and Administrative Details of the Arab Uprising, 1917-1918". While Lawrence was a fascinating character who lived a large life, this book is dry, boring, banal. Excruciatingly detailed descriptions of his meals of dates and sheep in the desert, of his illnesses, and of the details of mining the Turkish train lines. Almost no human interest, color, or illustrations of the feelings of the Syrians and Palestinians. You might expect these and much more after reading the title. You would be wrong.

This is an excellent book of technical and administrative details of desert adventures and battles of this campaign, a struggle of paramount importance in history. But no more than that. It does not help the reader understand why the Arabs want to cast off the yoke of the Turks, and it does not help the reader understand Arabs better. I think this book is famous only because T.E. Lawrence lived such an epic life.

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21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Simply Magical

Impossible to read this book and not be enthralled. Little wonder that Winston Churchill described Seven Pillars of Wisdom as ranking ''with the greatest books ever written in the European Language''. More relevant than ever given the current Palestinian struggle born directly out of England's duplicity. I dare anyone not to be mesmerized by the true-story of one man's "normal effort" in finding his destiny was to help shape the history of the Middle-East. At the climax of the tale, to hear the description of the Muezzin calling the faithful of Damascus to prayer is simply magical. A must read.

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16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Words can’t describe…

…what a masterpiece this is. I have listened to this story at least six times in my life. Capital A Adventure and a view behind the curtain of an S class intelligence.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good Book, wish it had better audio quality

Enjoyed the read extensively. Though definitely a book for someone interested in history. Adds a unique look into British conflict with turkey and the political climate of the region

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Norton is an excellent orator, albiet monotone

Though monotone sometimes, Norton still captures the epic scale, and high adventure of the narrative

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

I've always wanted to read this book

I was thrilled to see it listed on Audible. Not the best recording and not the worst. If you really want to read it then you can make your way through the (at times) somewhat flat narration. If you are looking for an exciting adventure (i.e. like the movie) this would not be the recording for you.

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