The wistful specter of what might've been if only he'd been listened to
July 1, 2014 4:18 PM   Subscribe

From his time in Cairo, Lawrence was aware of the extravagant promises the British government had made to Hussein in order to raise the Arab Revolt: full independence for virtually the entire Arab world..............His first act of sedition — and by most any standards, a treasonous one — was to inform Faisal of the existence of Sykes-Picot.....The True Story of Lawrence of Arabia . Previously and Previously
posted by lalochezia (11 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
I always like to link this book (get the hardcover edition) when Lawrence pops up in conversation. It's really quite a read.
posted by curious nu at 4:43 PM on July 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

And this Smithsonian article looks great, thanks for posting.
posted by curious nu at 4:47 PM on July 1, 2014

The Wilson bio really is excellent. It can be a little dense for some, so I usually suggest the other decent bio, "Hero" by Korda. On phone so I can't link, but it's a little more accessible.

If you get to thinking you'd like to know TEL a little better, his collected letters are also a fascinating browse, though less insightful about the political situation and more about him personally.
posted by blnkfrnk at 5:53 PM on July 1, 2014

Really enjoyed reading this informative piece. Thanks. Nice job of tying the past and the present together.
posted by CincyBlues at 5:55 PM on July 1, 2014

Wow. Timeless until the last paragraphs. Excellent.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 5:56 PM on July 1, 2014

It is a great read. What might have been indeed. If it hadn't been for the empire grubbing of the Allies, the Middle East might have been in a much better place than it is.
posted by arcticseal at 7:41 PM on July 1, 2014

Scott Anderson's book "Lawrence in Arabia" (ISBN 978-0-385-53292-1) is a fuller length work that goes nicely after that piece - covers Lawrence in detail, and puts his activities in context of the Ottoman, German, protoZionist and other powers at play during the period. A gripping read.

Thanks for the pointer!
posted by esinclai at 7:58 PM on July 1, 2014

I believe there was an episode of NPR's Fresh Air dedicated to Scott Anderson's book on Lawrence. I think the episode is available via podcast.
posted by RedShrek at 8:54 PM on July 1, 2014

Author Scott Anderson on Fresh Air (6/13/2014 repeat from 8/19/2013, 41 minutes)

The interview made me want to read the book. The Smithsonian article adds to that.
posted by pmurray63 at 9:38 PM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Great read, thank you. I knew some of this, but so much of it is really heartbreaking.
posted by korej at 7:36 AM on July 2, 2014

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