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Seven Pillars of Wisdom [Paperback]

T E Lawrence , Robert Fisk
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
Price: 9.68 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 May 2008


Seven Pillars of Wisdom is an unusual and rich work. It encompasses an account of the Arab Revolt against the Turks during the First World War alongside general Middle Eastern and military history, politics, adventure and drama. It is also a memoir of the soldier known as 'Lawrence of Arabia'.Lawrence is a fascinating and controversial figure and his talent as a vivid and imaginative writer shines through on every page of this, his masterpiece. Seven Pillars of Wisdom provides a unique portrait of this extraordinary man and an insight into the birth of the Arab nation

Frequently Bought Together

Seven Pillars of Wisdom + Hero: The Life & Legend of Lawrence of Arabia + A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the Struggle That Shaped the Middle East
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Product details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099511789
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099511786
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 412,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


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

"Round this tent-pole of a military chronicle, T. E. has hung an unexampled fabric of portraits, descriptions, philosophies, emotions, adventures, dreams" (E.M. Forster)

"I am not much of a hero-worshipper but I could have followed T.E. Lawrence over the edge of the world" (John Buchan)

"Seven Pillars of Wisdom is one of the major statements about the fighting experience of the First World War" (Angus Calder)

"Emotional and mythic" (Guardian)

Book Description

'It seems to me as certain of immortality as anything written in English for half a century' John Buchan

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
By Rusty
I used to say that "Moby Dick" was the most challenging book I'd ever read, but Melville's prolific meditation on whale blubber has just been knocked off the top spot by Lawrence's "Seven Pillars of Wisdom". This epic tome took me more than 4 months to conquer. I'm a dedicated reader of fiction and my attention span struggles when confronted with history, especially from a military angle. Of course, some might argue that "Seven Pillars" isn't so much history as an embellished work of fiction...much of its content is considered inaccurate and egotistical. But I see no problem with this: I approached the work to learn about Lawrence himself and the Arab Revolt in equal measure. In fact, Lawrence openly admits that his account isn't perfect and that his actions were fuelled (at the time) by a thirst for greatness. He makes no secret of these flaws and opens himself up to criticism, making it all the more interesting to read about his own exploits in his own words.

But let me tell you, folks: it's seriously slow going. Here is a man so highly educated that his writing seems, at times, impenetrable. Be it the philosophy of guerrilla warfare, the wider scope of WW1 or the intricate tribal doings of the Bedouin people...whatever the subject, this man writes like a true Oxford scholar and his thoughts are hard to follow at times. I was tempted to give up on several occasions after rereading difficult passages (and there are many) up to three or four times...and still not quite grasping the meaning of it all. Making matters even trickier are the many names of Arabian families, factions and clans that float in and out of Lawrence's narrative. I found it hard just remembering who was who among the Allies, let alone the Egyptian/Arab/Turk/Syrian armies.
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83 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lawrence of Arabia from his own point of view 5 Jan 2004
Having been a geat fan of the David Lean film ever since my father took me as a 7 year old boy to see it when it was first released, I had intended to read Lawrence's own account of the events covered by the film for a long time. The book itself is a mixture of autobiographical recounting of the events covered by the film and a travelogue interspersed with almost essay type observations by Lawrence on a wide variety of subjects including the plight of the Arabs, their culture, his own motivation and the wartime life of soldiers in general. Most of the book is descriptive with very little in the way of dialogue and it can at times become very difficult to persevere with, particularly during the author's sometimes extreme moments of navel-gazing. However, the persistent reader is taken on a unique journey with Lawrence through his adventures, middle eastern culture and the spectacular desert scenery of the area. When the time came to part I was rather sorry that the journey was over as Lawrence is, if nothing else, an extremely knowledgeable guide. Taken as an adjunct to the film (which takes a certain amount of artistic licence with the facts) the book deepens one's understanding of its political, geographical and personal context and provides a unique insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the man himself.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If Nothing Else, Read it for the Style Alone! 18 Aug 2005
What surprised me most about this book is just how superb a writer Lawrence was. One can open the book anywhere and find sentences of extraordinary beauty and accomplishment, entirely evocative of the sometimes overwhelming landscapes and dilemmas Lawrence was living through. This isn't just a chronicle of a military campaign, it is a masterpiece of English Literature. The author bears comparison with Edward Gibbon, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy. Dare I say, all recent Booker Prize winners should read it as further instruction in just how to turn masterly prose!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fundamental 30 Jan 2008
By H
This book has continued to haunt me for ten years, ever since I first read it. It took me a whole summer, and I'm a pretty good reader. One of the reviews here has described it as "dry as a desert", and in a way I agree, since its beauty is not superficial and it takes effort and endurance, and it's definitely not easy to navigate, but in my case it was worth every step of the way.

It's not a book to learn the history of the Arab revolt. It's about its author, one of the most mysterious men that ever wrote a book. Lawrence's mindset and complex psychology is highly uncommon, no less than his talent for writing. This book was almost like a journey, and it changed me in subtle and enduring ways - but then again I'm quite a passionate person. I'm sure this is not a book for everyone. But it could be something big for some, something important.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Ever 9 Sep 2006
Brilliant. T E Lawrence poured his soul into this magnificently crafted autobiography. It takes you from his arrival in Cairo as an upstart academic, through his dramatic evolution into a desert soldier/strategist and leader of the Arab revolt against the Turks, to his ultimate failure to win justice for the people he'd grown to be part of. Lawrence was a gifted writer as well as an extraordinary soldier and I was fascinated by the insights that run through it: into his political naivety, his ambivalent loyalties, and the hints of concern (almost certainly ill-founded) about his own mental state. The combination of high politics and personal danger, played out in the dramatic and mysterious Arab world as it meets the West is quite magnificent.

The writing style is nineteenth century and the language and prose may be unfamiliar to many but this is the most rewarding book I have read. It's the one I unhesitatingly offer as the best ever.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars men of his generation saw the future.......
“…..Pray God that men reading the story will not, for love of the glamour of strangeness, go out to prostitute themselves and their talents in serving another race. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Reader File
What can one write. It is an electronic file which is delivered by whispernet.
Published 8 days ago by P. Lythgoe
4.0 out of 5 stars reflective
an in depth study of the arabic pennisular in the twenties which could help in understanding the present situationin the region
Published 1 month ago by james appleton
4.0 out of 5 stars Old fashioned take on a modern problem.
First read when a teenager - I couldn't get my head round it. Now I am over 80 I can appreciate the syntax. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Masterplanner
4.0 out of 5 stars Do you like sand?
I am an avid reader and always have at least 3 books in waiting! It took me a year to read this book - but I was determined as I hugely respect and admire the man T.E. Lawrence. Read more
Published 3 months ago by nicola rush
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic book
I bought this after seeing it recommended for current officers in the middle east dealing with assymetric warfare

the book is 5 times better than I thought. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Broken iPod owner
3.0 out of 5 stars Dated, which could make it historically interesting but it's so dull.
I got this book as a Christmas read after seeing and enjoying the famous film based on the same events. Read more
Published 5 months ago by A. R. Smyth
2.0 out of 5 stars Seven Pillars of Wisdom
The book is in poor condition and the print is small. The corners of the cover are bent. I would not have purchased the book had I seen it prior to purchase.
Published 6 months ago by Mrs. Belinda Ward
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good in historical and artistic view.
For 5 stars I can not stop reading. 4 stars is very good book, so for me this book is excellent.
Published 6 months ago by Neda Isakovic
5.0 out of 5 stars Seven Pillars of Wisdom
Eloquently written. Lawrences descriptions really create an image to the page, bringing the story to life. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Vearor
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