This is an excellent addtion to the literature on the Arab Revolt and thankfully does not concentrate on the 'Lawrence of Arabia' legend, that dominates most other histories of the subject. This book reflects the growing interest in the Ottoman army's tactics and dispositions, as well as the growing evidence and realisation that the Turks proved just as tough and resourceful opponents on this front as on the others such as Gallipoli and Mesopotamia. This provides a useful antidote to the usual narratives that normally relegate them to nothing more than comedy stooges for Lawrence's activities. One day we may get an english language translation of the Turkish official history for this campaign which would unlock even more detail. The inclusion of preliminary battlefield archaeology work currently being done in southern Jordan is particularly welcome and illustrates just how important these studies are.
I expected this to be all Lawrence, Lawrence, Lawrence. I was nicely surprised. An excellent short account of an important episode in 20th century ME history. It gives due mention to Arab leaders and also other British and French officers. A good selection of photos and maps. I have done some research on this subject and was amazed at the photographs - many of these I had never seen before. Successfully avoids falling into the trap of simply retelling the Lawrence story again.
As to some possible, I think it was necessary to include that section on the "Lawrence Myth". Having shown us the wider picture, I think it was wise of Murphy to actually explain how Lawrence came to prominence and why he eventually dwarfed all the others who took part in this campaign. Also, I don't think he is necessarily taking Hashemite claims at face value. Are there not implicit criticisms of Hussein and his sons in the final section on the aftermath of the revolt? Is Murphy not essentially saying that they kept their armies in the locality of the "main chance" (Mecca and Medina) and thus necessitated the wider involvement of ICC and Indian troops in the Jordan, Palestine theatre?
I would have liked some further detail on some aspects of this - such as the French involvement. But given the strictures of this format, this book covers a lot of ground in just 90+ pages and managed to do-in a few sacred cows on the way. Considering it has taken some historians hundreds of pages to cover this subject, I think Murphy has done a good job of distilling this down into a short readable form. The mention of the current excavations is interesting and I see from the GARP website, they are discovering more and more out there. I would recommend this. An excellent introduction to a complex subject and a story that stills seems to have some distance to run.
An excellent starter book which puts Lawrence in historical perspective, it avoids romantism and gives mention to the other British and French officers involved. A brief resume of the resulting political settlement in the former ottoman empire is given. This does not seek to explain in detail Lawrence's subsequent struggles against the betrayal of arab expectations, which still underscore Arab distrust of the West to this day. Nor his subsequent actions ( joining the army then the RAF as an enlisted man ) To be fair that is outside the remit of this book. Maps and diagrams are easily understood, photographs well chosen, recomended