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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic with a disturbing background
Richard Aldington (1892 - 1962) was a poet, novelist and biographer who had fought on the Western Front in World War I. Late in his life he agreed to write a biography of Lawrence of Arabia. He thought that it would be a quick potboiler but soon started to discover anomalies and contradictions during his researches. He spent several years, assisted by friends, in...
Published on 13 May 2010 by SAO

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3.0 out of 5 stars The De-bunking of a Legend?
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"Aldington was best known for his World War I poetry, the 1929 novel, Death of a Hero, and the controversy arising from his 1955 'Lawrence of Arabia: A Biographical Inquiry'."

"Aldington's biography of T. E. Lawrence caused a scandal on its publication, and an immediate backlash.[25] It made many controversial assertions. He was the...
Published 12 months ago by menzski


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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic with a disturbing background, 13 May 2010
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Richard Aldington (1892 - 1962) was a poet, novelist and biographer who had fought on the Western Front in World War I. Late in his life he agreed to write a biography of Lawrence of Arabia. He thought that it would be a quick potboiler but soon started to discover anomalies and contradictions during his researches. He spent several years, assisted by friends, in conducting and writing up his researches. He quickly grew to despise Lawrence as someone who lied and exagerated and helped create the legend of Lawrence of Arabia whilst pretending to dislike all the publicity. Aldington's research and writing was only the beginning. The disturbing story of how an influential group of people, obsessed with Lawrence, tried to prevent publication and denigrate Aldington was documented by the journalist Philip Knightly in 1973 and in much more detail by Fred Crawford in his fascinating and very readable book 'Richard Aldington and Lawrence of Arabia: a cautionary tale'. The role of Basil Liddel-Hart in this was particularly disgraceful and appalling. Crawford's work shows that the controversy continued for decades after publication. Aldington's book is understandably bitter and this threatens to undermine his story. However, the underlying points he made have generally stood the test of time and are accepted widely, including in books which continue the denigration of Aldington. He managed to achieve this when, in comparison to today, relatively few primary sources were available. Some people who knew Lawrence in Arabia were however still alive and many supported Aldington's views. Lawrence was a fascinating, complex, cultured and strange character. Before Aldington there were only hagiographies; after Aldington the true story with all its complexities started to appear. This is rarely acknowledged. I look forward to the day when an academic historian, born after all these controversies took place, researches and writes the definitive story of T.E.Lawrence (or perhaps I should rather look foorward to the year when nothing is added to the exiating vast pile of works on this man)
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3.0 out of 5 stars The De-bunking of a Legend?, 2 Feb. 2014
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"Aldington was best known for his World War I poetry, the 1929 novel, Death of a Hero, and the controversy arising from his 1955 'Lawrence of Arabia: A Biographical Inquiry'."

"Aldington's biography of T. E. Lawrence caused a scandal on its publication, and an immediate backlash.[25] It made many controversial assertions. He was the first to bring to public notice the fact of Lawrence's illegitimacy. He also asserted that Lawrence was homosexual. Lawrence lived a celibate life, and none of his close friends (of whom several were homosexual) had believed him to be gay. He attacked Lawrence as a liar and a charlatan, claims which have colored Lawrence's reputation ever since. Only later were confidential government files concerning Lawrence's career released, allowing the accuracy of Lawrence's own account to be gauged. Aldington's own reputation has never fully recovered from what came to be seen as a venomous attack upon Lawrence's reputation. Many believed that Aldington's suffering in the bloodbath of Europe during World War I caused him to resent Lawrence's reputation, gained in the Middle Eastern arena".

(Copied from: imagists.org/aldington/lawrence_bureau.html)
"The daughter of T.E. Lawrence's physician, Clarissa Dickson Wright, has (written)" -------- "but that may be because I inadvertently sent my introduction which describes his life as one of the great Boy's Own adventures of the 20th century, despite the fact that he was an alcoholic, a runt and a homosexual in the days when that was still illegal. He was a patient of my father's so I was talking from an informed position."

(See also: samilitaryhistory.org/vol092mm.html} for a fairly impartial view by Prof W D Maxwell-Mahon

And make your own mind up.
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Lawrence of Arabia (Pelican)
Lawrence of Arabia (Pelican) by Richard Aldington (Paperback - 25 Feb. 1971)
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