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Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East Paperback – 3 Jun 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor Books; Reprint edition (3 Jun. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307476413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307476418
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 3 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,944,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"'Lawrence in Arabia is a fascinating book, the best work of military history in recent memory and an illuminating analysis of issues that still loom large today' (Janet Maslin, New York Times) '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.' (Sebastian Junger, bestselling author of The Perfect Storm) '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, bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers) 'A startlingly rich and revealing portrait of one of history's most iconic figures... Lovers of big 20th-century history will be in nirvana.' (Tom Reiss, bestselling author of The Orientalist and The Black Count) 'Thrillingly, Scott Anderson's Lawrence in Arabia does [real justice to the bureaucratic fumblings, the myriad spies, heroes and villains, the dense fugue of humanity at its best and worst operating in the Mideast war theater of 1914-17...] weaving enormous detail into its 500-plus pages with a propulsive narrative thread.' (USA Today)" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Scott Anderson is a veteran war correspondent who has reported from Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Northern Ireland, Chechnya, Sudan, Bosnia, El Salvador and many other war-torn countries. He is the author of two novels, Moonlight Hotel and Triage, two non-fiction books, The Man Who Tried to Save the World and The 4 O'Clock Murders, and co-author of War Zones and Inside the League with his brother Jon Lee Anderson. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By HK on 16 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Before commenting on the excellence of this book, I would like to mention my credintials on the subject. Lawrence and I were both conceived i my family home. His father was tenant at the time. As a result I have always taken an interest in him and have read most of the work by and about him. My father served in Mesapotamia in the 1914-18 war (DSO.) and his uncle (General Lionel Dunsterville ) commanded the Dunster force there at that time.

The book is excellent and deserves the praise it has received. There are a few trivial inaccuracies on his early life but are not relevant. He has put Lawrence in the right perspective in that sphere and has made some acute observations about him, plus the rather suspect role of the Standard oil company. Considering what a broad sweep he has taken of that area I am surprised that there is virtually no mention of Harry St John Philby (British spy) and his close association with Ibn Saud. It was he that was mainly responsible for having him elevated from a tribal warrior of the Wahhabi's to being the most powerful influence in the area. He rather than Lawrence got the ear of Churchill in supporting him. It is interesting that Philby's son also was a spy, but for the Russians. This theatre of war has been somewhat overlooked because of the carnage that took place in France. The fact that this book has been written by an American .gives it added weight and should be put on top of the reading list for anyone studying the 1914 - 18 war. Read this and Max Hastings book on the European end of the same war.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Fleisig TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Sept. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Scott Anderson's "Lawrence in Arabia" is a compelling account of T.E. Lawrence (and to a lesser extent his German, American and Zionist counterparts) and the Middle-Eastern world they tried to make during the Great War. Meticulously researched and well-written Anderson takes the reader on a journey that covers much of the Ottoman Empire, the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, and what is now Syria and Israel. Given the tumultuous history of the region since the Great War, and particularly since the Arab Spring and the complicated turmoil that is now rocking Syria, Anderson's book has contemporary resonances that buttress its examination of a bygone era.

Although the book focuses mostly on Lawrence, Anderson sets out the parallel stories of three other "adventurers" who influenced the events covered in the book. The German Curt Pruffer, was a lower level academic who saw the war (as many did) as an opportunity to rise above the glass ceiling faced by many who were not of the right social caste, took upon himself the role of a shadowy figure who sought to turn native opinion against the British. William Yale was an American executive of Standard Oil of New York. His goal was to use his influence to secure oil concessions from the crumbling Ottoman Empire and try to ensure that those concessions would be viable no matter who ended up controlling the region. There was also Aaron Aaronsohn who, in order to secure promises from the British about Jewish emigration and protection of Jewish emigrants into what is now Israel, created a spy ring that passed on information about Turkish troop movements to the British. And then there was Lawrence. Although only a bit above 5'1" (not the image one may have taken from the move), Lawrence bestrode Arabia like a colossus.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By I. S. Glendinning on 1 Oct. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Is there anyone not interested in "the Middle-East situation" in the 21st century, and understanding how it arose out of the post-colonial 20th century? A refreshing read from a current journalistic perspective. Sufficiently free from any debunking agenda, that even through the complex and conflicted motives and actions of the many parties involved a little heroism shines through. That coupled with Scott Anderson's witty delivery, despite the far-reaching seriousness of the subject matter, ensures it nevertheless reads like a good yarn, or rather three intertwined yarns. Stories anyone with an opinion on mid-east politics should know.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D B. on 9 Dec. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Superb book. Nothing to add to other positive reviewers' comments. I bought the Kindle version and am disappointed it is incomplete compared with the paper version, hence the two stars. The paper version includes pages of photographs from the period showing images of key players and places as they appeared at the time. These images are not included in the Kindle version. Had I known this at the point of purchase I would not have chosen the Kindle version. It would have been helpful if Amazon had made it clear and warned potential purchasers that their Kindle version is an incomplete version of the book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Hillmann on 28 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The title is designed for selling the book. It misleads. The strength of the book is the representation of the conflicting forces – the demise of the Ottoman Empire shored up by the German army, the last throes of the British and the French empires, the horrifying arrogance and stupidity of conventional war strategy of the British, Turks and Germans, the rise of Zionism, the lure of oil in Palestine and the organisation of Arab nationalism. This is not just about Lawrence. Yes it features Lawrence and is sympathetic to his knowledge and understanding of Arab language and life, his independent views and willingness and ability to contravene conventional strategy whilst maintaining his reputation at the highest levels of command, but the message is the War, Deceit and Imperial Folly bit.

The attention is held by the technique of telling the story from the experiences’ of four spies. Lawrence was ostensibly initially in Palestine as an archaeologist in search of biblical ruins – in fact operating a covert British military operation mapping the Ottoman Empire’s southwestern frontier. William Yale posed as a wealthy American playboy on the Holy Land tourist circle – in fact an agent of the Standard Oil Company of New York in Palestine in a secret search for oil. Dr. Curt Prufer, apparently an innocuous German scholar conducting an extended tour of the Upper Nile, in fact was reporting to the German Embassy in Cairo and cultivating alliances with a wide array of Egyptian dissidents seeking an end to British control of their homeland. And Aaron Aaronsohn was a thirty eight year old Jewish émigré from Romania and a preeminent agronomist in the Middle East with a reputation cemented by his1906 discovery of the genetic forebear to wheat. .
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