Lawrence In Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly And The Making Of The Modern Middle East

Hardcover | June 8, 2016

byScott Anderson

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The Arab Revolt against the Turks in World War I was, in the words of T.E. Lawrence, "a sideshow to a sideshow." As a result, the conflict was shaped to a remarkable degree by four men far removed from the corridors of power. Curt Pruefer was an effete 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. William Yale was the fallen scion of the American aristocracy, who traveled the Ottoman Empire on behalf of Standard Oil, dissembling to the Turks in order gain valuable oil concessions. At the center of it all was Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence. In early 1914 he was an archaeologist digging ruins in Syria; by 1919 he was riding into legend at the head of an Arab army, as he fought a rearguard action against his own government and its imperial ambitions.
     Based on four years of intensive primary document research, Lawrence in Arabia definitively 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.

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From the Publisher

The Arab Revolt against the Turks in World War I was, in the words of T.E. Lawrence, "a sideshow to a sideshow." As a result, the conflict was shaped to a remarkable degree by four men far removed from the corridors of power. Curt Pruefer was an effete academic attached to the German embassy in Cairo, whose clandestine role was to fome...

Scott Anderson is a veteran war correspondent, a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, whose work also appears in Vanity Fair, Esquire, Harper's, Outside and many other publications. Over the years he has reported from Beirut, Northern Ireland, Chechnya, Israel, Sudan, Sarajevo, El Salvador and many other war-torn countr...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:592 pages, 9.51 × 6.44 × 1.52 inPublished:June 8, 2016Publisher:McClelland & StewartLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0771007663

ISBN - 13:9780771007668

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Customer Reviews of Lawrence In Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly And The Making Of The Modern Middle East

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Fascinating Book! Few of us know that the woes that trouble the Middle East geopolitics originate in the scramble for oil and land after WWI and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. This book focuses on the individuals who shaped history in the desert with TE Lawrence in the middle of it all. Not an easy read nor a book for a non-political persona but worthwhile and educational in the end.
Date published: 2014-12-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Lawerence in Arabia Interesting individual. Well written
Date published: 2014-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Excellent Book This book offers a great insight into the intrigues in the middle east in WW1. It was an entertaining and informative read. It has sparked my interest and I will be following this by reading Paris 1919.
Date published: 2014-10-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A brilliant relook at the history Lawrence of Arabia was my father's hero. I have read Seven Pillars and other books on the war and post-war outcome but this one tells the story better than most.
Date published: 2014-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A brilliant relook at the history Lawrence of Arabia was my father's hero. I have read Seven Pillars and other books on the war and post-war outcome but this one tells the story better than most.
Date published: 2014-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Don't Miss It ... Never a student of history ... 'til now.  Scott Anderson's writing style is compelling.  Not an easy read, but well worth the time (and Google Map printing to familiarize the reader with  pre-war WWI and post-war WWI territories).  Absolutely fascinating! 
Date published: 2014-03-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A brilliant relook at the history Anderson has written a remarkable biography of the complicated T.E. Lawrence and the equally complex time during which he rose to prominence. He has done an excellent job at weaving several parallel narratives into and out of one another, converging, most often, back upon Lawrence and his time in the Middle East. Perhaps greatest of all -- and uncommonly so -- he has written a thoughtful, detailed, and entirely readable history book.
Date published: 2014-01-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A brilliant relook at the history This book gives an excellent insight to the cause of much of the current turmoil in the Middle East. The Allies at the Paris conference in 1919 couldn't have got it more wrong. An important book to read.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A fascinating story Normally I do not like the "great man of history" approach to historical analysis or writing.  This is very much that sort of detail of 'who said (and did) what and to whom and when' sort of retelling of the story, but I found it absolutely spell-binding.  It  is a wonderful description of a at-the-edge-of the-picture set of events that is hard to put down.  The book exceeded my all expectations for it.
Date published: 2013-12-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A timely book After seeing a review of this book in Outside magazine, I just had to read it for myself. Despite being about events almost 100 years ago, this book has many things to speak to for our times. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the history of the 20th century or who wishes to examine the long history of the futility of war and empire. Putting a human face on the events of the Middle East during the First World War and showing the disintegration of the European empires exposes lessons that we should be learning to deal with our own times.
Date published: 2013-08-26

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Editorial Reviews

“Lawrence of Arabia is said to have reinvented warfare, and Scott Anderson has now reinvented Lawrence. By placing him alongside the other adventurers and spies who roamed the Arabian war theater, Anderson brilliantly illuminates how the modern Middle East came to be. The research in this book is so daringly original, and the writing so spectacular, that it feels like I'm reading about the topic for the first time. A deep and utterly captivating reading experience.” —Sebastian Junger, New York Times bestselling author of WAR and THE PERFECT STORM"A startlingly rich and revealing portrait of one of history’s most iconic figures. Equally satisfying is the cast of obscure German and American agents nearly as eccentric as Lawrence himself. They exercised such outsized influence on shaping the world as we know it that reading about them here is not only revelatory but practically surreal. Anderson is an exquisite writer and dogged researcher, whose accounts of century-old brutalities are made utterly convincing by the knowledge that he has personally witnessed the sort of offhanded horror he’s unearthed in archives. Lovers of big 20th-century history will be in nirvana." —Tom Reiss, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of THE BLACK COUNT and THE ORIENTALIST"An amazing accomplishment. LAWRENCE IN ARABIA captures the bravado, surreality, grandeur of the Middle East in the birth throes of the 20th century. Anderson employs the highest order of dramatic narrative to create an indelible portrait of a great and enduring figure of war and politics. Along for the show is a cast of characters drawn straight from Graham Greene. This is history of the most vivid and relevant order."—Doug Stanton, New York Times bestselling author of HORSE SOLDIERS and IN HARM’S WAY“LAWRENCE IN ARABIA is a work of serious research and powerful insight, but it is so rich in incredible stories and glittering details that it felt like a guilty pleasure while I was reading it. Completely absorbing, sweeping in scope and riveting from the first word, this is a book that will stay with me for a long time.” —Candice Millard, New York Times bestselling author of DESTINY OF THE REPUBLIC and RIVER OF DOUBT“Few characters in history can match T.E. Lawrence for adventure, intrigue, or sheer enigma. Scott Anderson, an indefatigable reporter well-acquainted with the Arab world, has carefully reconstructed Lawrence's shadowy realm. Anderson shows how Lawrence, along with a surprisingly small cast of lesser-known rogues and operatives, laid the groundwork, wittingly or not, for the mess that is the modern Middle East. Here is an intimate history painted on a very large canvas, with one fantastically charismatic—and fabulously flawed—man at the dusty center of the tale.”—Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author of GHOST SOLDIERS and HELLHOUND ON HIS TRAIL