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

Paperback | June 3, 2014

byScott Anderson

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Now available as a Signal paperback, a thrilling and revelatory narrative of one of the most epic and consequential periods in 20th century history: the Arab Revolt in World War I, 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 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

Now available as a Signal paperback, a thrilling and revelatory narrative of one of the most epic and consequential periods in 20th century history: the Arab Revolt in World War I, 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 to a s...

SCOTT ANDERSON is a veteran war correspondent who has reported from Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Northern Ireland, Chechnya, Sudan, Bosnia, El Salvador and many other strife-torn countries. A contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, his work has also appeared in Vanity Fair, Esquire, Harper's and Outside. He is the author of nove...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:624 pages, 9.18 × 6.1 × 1.23 inPublished:June 3, 2014Publisher:McClelland & StewartLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:077100768X

ISBN - 13:9780771007682

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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 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 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 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

 • "Its thorough research clothed in smoothly written prose, Anderson's history strikes a perfect balance between scope and detail about a remarkable and mysterious character." -- Booklist, starred review • "A well-fleshed portrait of T.E. Lawrence brought in burnished relief against other scoundrels in the Arabian narrative. . . . A lively, contrasting study of hubris and humility." -- Kirkus Reviews • "Readers seeking to understand why turmoil has been so omnipresent in the Middle East will benefit from Anderson's easy prose, which makes liberal use of primary sources and research, but reads like a political thriller." -- Publishers Weekly • "Renders painfully clear how deeply the political structure of the Middle East has been born of eccentric fantasies." -- Esquire