Of course I knew OF Lawrence of Arabia, but I've not seen David Lean's movie, nor read any of the other books about Lawrence. I'm also not keen on war books. Somewhere I did learn that he'd been an archaeologist before WW I, and that's a subject I'm interested in. So I picked up this book, and was fascinated from the first page. Korda's a great writer, which helps. The organization of the book is unusual. Instead of a chronological order, Korda plunks his subject down in the beginning of WW I and shows the reader the stuff that Lawrence is made of, how the British high command and the Arabs respond to him. Once we know that, Korda goes back to Lawrence's parentage and how that makes him what what he is. Very clever, as it helps make sense of how Lawrence behaves both during and after the war. There's a bit of repetition, but otherwise, the only bio that compares with this is Stacy Schiff's on Cleopatra.
This is a must read for anyone interested in the life of T E Lawrence.
i really enjoyed this biography, which is commonsensical and compassionate toward Lawrence. It treats him as a man of his times, and is written fluidly. i was impressed that Korda could write a serious biography that reads as easily as a novel.
Not only an outstanding book, but easily the most historically and biographically accurate of all those I've previously read on T.E. Lawrence. Highly recommended if interested in that time period and Lawrence of Arabia. [I can personally attest to the authenticity of this work by Korda, as opposed to a number of other sketchy books on Lawrence, as my great-uncle was mentioned correctly and knew Lawrence for a number of years until his death.]
I disagree with Old Bill. The first hundred pages gets one into the story by sketching the events that went into the 1962 David Lean movie. The rest of the book fills in fascinating details about TE Lawrence's unusual family background, education, temperament, brilliance, and physical toughness. Korda makes it fun to read the details.
A fascinating topic marred by horrendously opaque writing. On one page, I encountered a sentence with 51 words, and, later on the same page, a sentence with 114 words.
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