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The Complete 1922 "Seven Pillars of Wisdom": 'The Oxford Text' Hardcover – 25 Feb 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 193 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 864 pages
  • Publisher: J And N Wilson; 2nd Revised edition edition (25 Feb. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0954641809
  • ISBN-13: 978-0954641801
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 17 x 5.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 572,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

Lawrence's intense and personal account of the Arab Revolt that culminated in the disastrous redrawing of Middle Eastern boundaries is especially fascinating given the continuing troubled state of affairs there. McMillan voices Lawrence, half medieval knight, half clear-eyed chronicler, with utter conviction. --Christina Hardyment, The Times

Almost a century after the first Arab spring the 1916-18 revolt against the Ottoman empire, culminating in the triumphant capture of Damascus modern Arabia is still a war zone. More than half the articles in my latest Talking Newspapers Digest are about the Middle East what better reason to listen to a new unabridged version of this monumental account of the author's leading role in that earlier historic desert campaign, which made him one of the great legendary heroes of all time. --Sue Arnold, The Guardian

Known to most as Lawrence of Arabia, T.E. Lawrence was a passionate chronicler of Middle East military events during WWI, in which he was embedded. This book is his story. Narrator Roy McMillan conveys Lawrence's sincerity with a calm yet enthusiastic delivery, depicting a man fascinated with the world around him. Through McMillan's compassionate reading we can better understand how Lawrence found sympathy for the Arab cause of an Arab state at a time when the region was mostly tribal. Those seeking a wider understanding of the Middle East will be enlightened by Lawrence's observations of the land and its people during this pivotal development period. --F.T., AudioFile --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

'It seems to me as certain of immortality as anything written in English for half a century' John Buchan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
Whilst travelling through Wadi Rum in Jordan a few years ago i was haunted in my mind by images of the enigmatic character that was Lawrence of Arabia; part legend, part myth, part wrong person in the wrong place at the right time.
To read this book is to know the man, the journeys, the politics, the battles. Although he himself admitted to his own ambiguity and uselessness as a British Pawn in the middle east, this book goes some way to dispel the Myth.
A must for anyone who is interested in the middle east, british / arab politics and a very colourful man
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