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To Begin the World Over Again: Lawrence of Arabia from Damascus to Baghdad Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230617425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230617421
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,365,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for To Begin the World Over Again:

 

"The fate of empires seems inevitably linked to their persistent desire to impose their cultures and systems on foreign soil.  Employing the endlessly fascinating story of T.E. Lawrence, John Hulsman colorfully argues from history that, if you set out to liberate other nations, it is best not to undertake to liberate them from themselves.  If we learn his lesson, our Baghdad will not become Lawrence’s Damascus."-- Senator Gary Hart

 
"In To Begin the World Over Again, John Hulsman tells us that 'in reality Lawrence was far more important as a thinker' than a warrior-prince. If our purpose is to discover a better nation-building strategy, Hulsman is correct, for as a thinker T.E. Lawrence offers us just that. President Obama, General David Petraeus, and a host of other western leaders would do well to study that strategy. And concerned Americans, as well as others, would do well to read this book." -- Lawrence Wilkerson, Visiting Professor of Government, the College of William and Mary and former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell
 

"Hulsman at once tells a compelling story and identifies foundational principles for guiding U.S. foreign policy. By mining Lawrence's thinking and experiences, this timely book yields vital lessons for America's efforts at nation-building in Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond." --Charles A. Kupchan, Professor of Government, Georgetown University and member of the Council on Foreign Relations

 

"Well written and engaging, this book provides a concise historical overview and much food for thought.  The message is as urgent today as it was in Lawrence's era."  --Library Journal Reviews

About the Author

John C. Hulsman holds a PhD in International Relations and received his MA (Hons) Degree in Modern History from St. Andrews University in Scotland. A life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, he is the President of John C. Hulsman Enterprises, an international relations consulting firm, where he writes for such outlets as the International Herald-Tribune, Harper’s Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times. To Begin the World Over Again is his fifth book. He lives in Berlin.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 100 REVIEWER on January 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is fascinating in several areas; it is a biography, it is a war record, a political history and a guide to build successful nations - all in less than 250 pages. It mainly concerns the enigmatic figure Thomas Edward Lawrence/T. E. Lawrence/ Lawrence of Arabia. His intelligence is emphasized as well as his passion for the Arab nations and descriptions of how he used guerilla tactics in the Arab cause. The desert became an advantage to them rather than an hindrance
John Hulsman uses Lawrence`s quotes and writings to help describe Lawrence`s problems and his victories from Aqaba to his entrance into Damascus; all amazing and in fine detail. He tells of the way Lawrence waged war with his Arab armies to the dividing up of the Middle East in the peace conferences after WWI. He includes the fame that followed Lawrence on so many fronts after WWI, including the world wide publicity brought about by Lowell Thomas - his show and his book `with Lawrence in Arabia'. Lawrence and his ally Churchill's crusade to change the methods of imperialism after the war are well explained.

The purpose of this book seems not so much to be a biography, although it is a rather good one, but to give a lesson in nation building. The idea is often repeated that to be successful in building or rebuilding a nation one must work with the existing cultural realities and not against them. The author also uses the supporting examples of Edmund Burke and Hans Morgenthau among others to preach against the `top down' approach - having natives learn and copy their conqueror's lifestyle rather than what suits their culture and geography.

Hulsman never says those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, but the meaning is clear.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Efrem Sepulveda on March 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
John Hulsman's book on Lawrence of Arabia offers a look into the events during the closing year of World War I and the period shortly thereafter. In brief, the book contends that a top-down governance of areas from faraway places without local input and substantial home rule proved to be disastrous in the Middle East. T.E. Lawrence worked tirelessly to install local rule in the Greater Syria region after the Arabs with his input overthrew the Ottomans, only to be frustrated by the political intrigues between France and Britain which handed Syria to France. Prince Faisal was to be the ruler of this region, but when the French shut the door on that option, Lawrence, steeped in the tradition of gentleman's honor, arranged to offer Faisal a "consolation" prize of ruling Mesopotamia which was the area of present-day Iraq. His rule was greeted by the locals with scorn as he had no familiarity with the area and spoke a different dialect of Arabic.

Paternalistic rule from London and Paris eventually led to constant uprisings in other colonies and mandates across the colonial world as well as the Middle East. Hulsman alluded throughout the book that the blunders of this time period led to the problems that our current occupational force in Iraq are facing today. It is my opinion that we should heed the paraphrase of T.E. Lawrence statement that it would be better for the Arabs to rule themselves tolerably than for us to do it perfectly. The book is a quick read at 231 pages with a short endnote section and a brief bibliography and index. Let's hope that one can read this book to make sure that we can stop the cycle of history repeating itself.
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By Dubaijoe on February 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book and good history lesson. We are dealing with the repercussions today. The western world has failed to learn from the mistakes of the past.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Niki Holroyd on April 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is another book I am reading inbetween novels. It is very interesting and I like the way John Hulsman writes. I have not finished but will continue reading now and then.
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