Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph (The Authorized Doubleday/Doran Edition) Paperback – June 1, 1991
|New from||Used from|
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Read it as reference material for a class. Lawrence of Arabia was quite aware of the complexities of war where things are never just face value.Published 1 day ago by RJB-Denver
Read this when I was about 15--didn't understand it. Written 100 years ago, its relevance to the current Middle East situation is amazing. Read morePublished 1 day ago by david l. thomson
Human history in pure terms with it's wonder, curiosity and flaws. A testament to a man's sacrifice for a cause - even recognizing it's hypocrisy and futility.Published 18 days ago by Enisa Harris
A good read. Descriptions of life among the Arabs while on the move in the desert brought back vivid memories of my own experiences camping in the Arabian desert, naturally sans... Read morePublished 20 days ago by David