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Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph (The Authorized Doubleday/Doran Edition) Paperback – June 1, 1991

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Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph (The Authorized Doubleday/Doran Edition) + Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East + A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This is the exciting and highly literate story of the real Lawrence of Arabia, as written by Lawrence himself, who helped unify Arab factions against the occupying Turkish army, circa World War I. Lawrence has a novelist's eye for detail, a poet's command of the language, an adventurer's heart, a soldier's great story, and his memory and intellect are at least as good as all those. Lawrence describes the famous guerrilla raids, and train bombings you know from the movie, but also tells of the Arab people and politics with great penetration. Moreover, he is witty, always aware of the ethical tightrope that the English walked in the Middle East and always willing to include himself in his own withering insight.

Review

"It ranks with the greatest books ever written in the English language.As a narrative of war and adventure...it is unsurpassable" -- Winston Churchill "Round this tent-pole of a military chronicle, T. E. has hung an unexampled fabric of portraits, descriptions, philosophies, emotions, adventures, dreams" -- E.M. Forster "I am not much of a hero-worshipper but I could have followed T.E. Lawrence over the edge of the world" -- John Buchan "Seven Pillars of Wisdom is one of the major statements about the fighting experience of the First World War" -- Angus Calder "Emotional and mythic" Guardian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reissue edition (June 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385418957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385418959
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (396 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #780,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

T.E. Lawrence was born on 16th August 1888 in Tremadog in Wales. He was one of five illegitimate children born to the Seventh Baron of Westmeath. He studied at Jesus College, Oxford where he became interested in the Middle East. He worked for British Intelligence during the First World War and fought with the Arab forces to defeat the Turks. His exploits earned him the title of "Lawrence of Arabia" back in Britain.Her resigned in 1922 and sought anonymity in the RAF where he enlisted as John Hume Ross. He later changed his name by deed poll to T.E. Shaw. Shortly after retiring from the RAF, T.E. Lawrence died in a motorcycle accident on 19th May 1935.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

323 of 337 people found the following review helpful By frumiousb VINE VOICE on April 16, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is difficult to describe the experience of reading The Seven Pillars. It is by turns beautiful and ugly. It is military history. It is a subjective view provided by a man very much of his time. It is an apology and an excuse for the necessities of war. It is a portrait of a tribe that Lawrence came to respect and even love. It is a travel book about life in the desert at the time of writing. It is inevitably a mix of fact and history and fiction and probably at least a little bit of wishful thinking.

It is, ultimately, a pretty amazing book to read.

A few notes:

Before you read the book, do some quick background reading on the history that's involved. This will help avoid confusion.

Be prepared for a long read! It's not only a long book, it's an extremely dense book. The choppiness and frequent changes in tone make it hard to put on the reading cruise control.

Read it as a product of its time. Lawrence was a fascinating man, but not without his prejudices or faults.
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184 of 198 people found the following review helpful By Alamanach on October 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
(This review pertains only to the BN Publishing company's hardcover edition of T.E. Lawrence's "Seven Pillars of Wisdom.")

I bought this edition of "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" because it was the only hardcover version available at the time. I'm a big advocate of hardcover books, but avoid this one. I get the sense that the publishers simply took an old copy of the book, scanned it, converted the scan into a basic word processing document, and published it. If that is what happened, they never bothered to read through their generated document to check for basic typographical errors.

For example, on page 488 the text reads: "They circled off We, watching their line of/light, noticed a great cloud of apparent dust added to the slow smoke rising from the ruined yard at Mafrak station." In that sentence, it appears that a period has been omitted, a slash has been inserted, and a capital S has been rendered in lower case. That one is easy enough that I can work out what the text is supposed to say. But there are errors of this sort on almost every single page, and Lawrence employs a difficult writing style as it is. These excessive typographical errors significantly detract from the readability of the book.

A second serious problem-- there is not a single map in this book, though Lawrence did include a map in earlier editions. There are points of the story where it is necessary to know where things are situated in order to appreciate what is going on. It got to the point where I found and downloaded some maps from the internet, and taped them inside the covers of my book. I refrenced these maps constantly. The publishers did include some photographs in the back matter, but they were either too cheap or too lazy to include a map.

T.E. Lawrence has written a book that is worth reading (coming from me, that's pretty high praise), but avoid thie error-ridden fly-by-night edition.
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150 of 161 people found the following review helpful By Susan Shwartz on May 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM would be that rarity, an extraordinary tale of action, adventure, politics, and introspection, told by a writer who was also a first-rate intellectual and man of letters (the two -are- different), if it weren't also part of a tradition in English letters: the man or woman such as Charles Doughty or Gertrude Bell or Hester Stanhope or Freya Stark, or the men who went off and played the Great Game in India and Afghanistan who willingly entered cultures alien to them and returned changed, with books for us.
Of all of these, Lawrence has fascinated me most. I first read SEVEN PILLARS when I was twelve, and I've read it every couple of years since then. As I grow wiser, it grows richer.
Lawrence was an unlikely defender of empire, an unlikelier man of action who forced himself into a kind of ascetic mental and physical preparation for the great deeds he felt himself called upon to play. Living as he did from 1888 to 1935, he was practically born in the last age where someone could express that claim without being ridiculed; and he found his war in the Arab Revolt, that long-lasting sideline to the War to End All Wars that produced more war -- and some great writers, among whom Lawrence was one.
This is a story of war. It's also a story of heroism and of anguish, written by a man who not only shaped events, but was shaped -- and warped -- by them. It can be read as military strategy, political history, travel story, or pathology.
But it's better to read it as itself: a unique and complex book written by a man who was loved and admired by the most famous people of his time, but who, in the end, wanted only obscurity and the anesthetizing speed of one of the motorcycles that killed him.
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70 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Doug Vaughn HALL OF FAME on December 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book stands alone in the history of military memoirs. The book as a literary achievement and the subject of the book as a personal achievement are both unparalleled. What Lawrence did in WWI - unite the Arab tribes in a common fight against the Turks - was remarkable not only because no one thought it could be done but also because it was done by a man with no power or influence beyond what he could inspire by his own presense. Lawrence, a scholar before the war working as a mapmaker for the British army, was about as far removed from anyone's ideas of a military hero as could be. He nevertheless did the impossible and that story, no matter who tells it, is as fascinating as any that ever came out of warfare.
Equally fascinating is the book itself. A blend of truth and evasion, the book is told in a beautiful lazy style that suggests it had been thought out with the vast Arabian desert and ancient way of life in mind. It is helpful to have read another account of Lawrence's life, just to be sure of what is happening when he chooses to be vague, but the beauty of the writing and the insight of the keen intelligence from which it springs, is a great delight to experience.
Even more amazing is to realize that after this monumental book was completed, Lawrence left the complete manuscript - the only copy - on the London subway and had to recreate it from scratch using just his notes. This is a remarkable testiment to both his focus when he needed it, and his tendency to be frequently apart from the real world. A remarkable man. A remarkable book. Unique and worthy to be read and enjoyed.
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Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph (The Authorized Doubleday/Doran Edition)
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