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Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia Kindle Edition
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|Length: 797 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Well here we are - all these words and we haven't yet got to the point, i.e. is it good or bad? The problem, as you might have gathered, is a book this long and - to some extent, a tell all as much as a scholarly work and at this super length it can be both, bad & good! As other reviewers have pointed out - it does hit the mark - in many aspects and, as I agreed about others, it surely missed. But a 760+ page tome - about one of the most famous & heroic men of all time, needs to be GREAT! Korda can - and has, written great books. He has done a yeomans job here and if you care - as much as I do, for the man & subject(s) you need to get, read and enjoy this book. If you are not an enthusiast or only hold a mild interest, this book just may be a bit much...and probably isn't for you; even while being a great book about a
Mr. Michael Korda has managed to do all these in a big volume which does not have even one dull moment. What starts as a long chapter about the famous capture of Aqaba by Lawrence and his Arab fellows turns out to be just the beginning and the introduction to the whole book.
T.E.Lawrence was one of many illegitimate children of a British aristocrat who ran way with his daughters' governess. After having been sent to Oxford where he read archaeology, T.E.Lawrence wrote a famous thesis on medieval military architecture. It was this subject which introduced him to the Arab world. He served as a young intelligence officer in Cairo in 1916 and after that spent his time in Charchemish,the Hitttite city where he got acquainted with the Arab life and manners. He did study Arabic and it was here where he met a young boy,called Darhoum,who was perhaps his only true love in life. Lawrence was sexually repressed and this was the result of his mother's tough upbringing.Later on,he was brutally sodomized by a Turk and it was this episode which changed his life.
But this book is not about the erotic and homosexual experiences of Lawrence,who was also called Ned.It is about his major achievements and accomplishments both in the military field and the diplomatic ones. His destiny was to give the Arabs a land of their own and to cause "the sick man of Europe," namely the Turks,to disappear from those parts of the world. His mission was accomplished and Mr.Korda gives us an extremely balanced view about all the possible aspects of Lawrence's life. It was Lawrence who made it possible for states like Syria,Jordan and Iraq to emerge as independent ones, although he was attacked by both Arabs and Jews for being biased against them. He also made sure that King Feisal be convinced that a Jewish state would be only a good thing for the Arab world,but has not succeeded in this.
Among his many friends in England from whom he sought advice about his literary projects were also Bernard Shaw and the rest of the Fabian Society.
Mr.Korda emphasizes Lawrence's military successes,his connections with General Allenby his and guerrilla tactics as well as his difficult task at the 1919 Paris Conference to do everything to convince the Great Powers about his messianic mission to bring deliverance to the Arabs.
Lawrence was a very complicated man and full of contradictions,who achieved a celebrity status being a visionary ahead of his times,a brilliant diplomat,a serious scholar and a military genius. All these things turned Lawrence into a hero.
The legend of Lawrence has kept growing after his death and,as the author puts it,the Library of Congress "lists more than 100 books about him".
If you would like to enjoy a book written in the old-fashioned way and would also like to be entertained by a great figure and a great biographer,I advise you to read this book,which is a splendid and vivid portrait of one of the most enigmatic persons who has ever lived.