on 13 September 2012
This is the best biography of Lawrence I have read, not least because it gives equal weight to his life beyond the Arab Uprising. To often biographies end when he leaves the desert, or the Paris Conference, as if nothing else he did in his life was of interest. Indeed one could argue that the years after were more fascinating, at least in understanding how the man truly was. Those who only know the David Lean myth will doubtless be surprised by his RAF service and time in India and at Clouds Hill
Mack is a psychiatrist and because of that, the text certainly has a psychological bent to it: trying to understand the man internally as well as recounting his achievements. Both are presented in forensic detail (though the narrative never drags). Unlike other biographies it avoids any sensationalism or romanticism and although TEL's sexuality is dealt with, it does not become an obsession; indeed it is relegated to a final section. Similarly with the Der'a incident.
In this very short review I cannot do this masterful biography justice. Please read it and make your own mind up.