Skip to comments.Being T.E. Lawrence (Review of Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia by Michael Korda)
Posted on 04/11/2011 3:10:27 PM PDT by mojito
He was the best of England and the worst. A wastrel, in many ways, and a triumph, in others. A hero and a clown. A scholar and a soldier. A sophisticate and a naïf. A child and a grown-up. He was an adolescent, all in all: perhaps the greatest lifelong teenager the modern world has ever known, with every bit of the soaring self-confidence and crushing self-doubt the awkward years can bring.
His name was Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence. Or T.E. Lawrence, as he signed his books, or John Hume Ross and T.E. Shaw, the military pseudonyms under which he was concealed during the 1920s and 1930s and notice, even in the ways he named himself, the inverted boast and the adolescent fantasy of famously hiding from fame.
Of course, in his case, it wasnt fantasy. It was simple reality, for he managed to be that unique figure, that strange bird, for whom it all came true. And thats because, as Michael Korda notes in a new biography, he was always Lawrence of Arabia the strange short man (only five-foot-five) who towered above his contemporaries: an odd gnome, half cad with a touch of genius, as one soldier who served with him observed. What, in the end, are we to make of a nearly perfect soldier who was so psychologically crippled that, once he returned to England, he had to hire men to beat him? And that, even while he was producing the elegant prose of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, his magisterial account of the Arab Revolt during the First World War?
(Excerpt) Read more at hoover.org ...
Similar story with Thomas Hart Benton, whose book in the 1800s, "Thirty Years' View," burned up in a fire.
Sounds interesting - Korda is a pretty fair essayist and his subject Lawrence a supremely fascinating individual. The Seven Pillars of Wisdom is one of the most carefully written and challenging readings I’ve encountered.
I’ve long been intrigued by Lawrence. I’ll have to get my hands on a copy.
Lawrence....Lawrence of Arabia
He was an English Guy
He came to fight the Turkish
Does have a bit of a wang to it.
Wasn’t a wealthy woman named Gertrude Bell actually his ‘brain’?
I haven’t heard that before, but I’m not an expert on Lawrence by any means.
What I’ve heard of Lawrence was that he was highly intelligent and wouldn’t have needed to rely on anyone else.
Is there any other race that has produced as many eccentric and fascinating warriors as the British? I’ve been in a complete British Empire immersion for the last couple of years. Lawrence is only one specimin and not even the most interesting.
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