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Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia Paperback – November 1, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
Lawrence was very much a hero, as well as many other things. He was a military genius on a level with Napoleon. He also possessed a genius for guerilla warfare and his techniques are taught at West Point as we speak. Possessing a talent for writing, his Seven Pillars of Wisdom is considered a literary masterpiece. His direct actions changed the entire map of the Middle East, and the inability of politicians to adjust to the realities of this region that Lawrence saw so vividly have led to the chaos that we see in the Middle East today.
Sheikh Hamoud had it right when he wrote so many years ago of Lawrence:
My heart was iron, but his was steel
If you love great, gifted, writing on an immense topic describing a man that truly impacted and changed the world that he saw, than Michael Korda's biography of Lawrence of Arabia is for you. This is a 700 page narrative before footnotes and biography. The quality of the paper used in the book is fabulous, and this is due to Korda's lifetime in the publishing industry. The selection of the font and the feel of the book left nothing to chance. Korda thought through every aspect of this project and brought it off with flair, and panache.Read more ›
However, there are 1-3 typos on almost every page of the book I have read so far and I'm on chapter 4. Almost all of the typos involve one, two or sometimes three words bunched together to form word-abominations such as:
"himhave" "timewas" "anadventure" "discribinghis" etc.
I guess these errors were introduced when the book was digitized. I also guess that the book was not proof-read after this procedure.
These errors are begining to distract from my reading pleasure. A corrected version would be appreciated.
Despite the book being a bit uneven I found HERO a wonderful read. The first part through page 114 is a rather dry telling of Lawrence's major accomplishment in World War One. It covers Lawrence's meeting with Prince Feisal the background of the Arab revolt against the Turks and the Arab taking the port city of Aqaba. (The actual events are significantly different than shown in the great David Lean film.) This early flashback section contains important information and sets the tone for what follows but I doubt many will find it to be page turning reading. But keep going and don't give up.
Because then the book takes off and is quite an enjoyable ride as Korda goes back in time to Lawrence's childhood, family, education (at Oxford), and his interest in archeology, the middle east, and crusader castles. Korda frames all this so we can see how Lawrence swept himself along with heroic self images (and many self doubts). As if Lawrence knew he was preparing himself for something big for he became one of a few who understood the Middle East. (In fact after the war Lawrence had Middle East solutions that if implemented may have minimized many of the events we see today.Read more ›
The Preface is remarkable in that it points precisely to Lawrence's unique appeal, that he was "a hero not by accident, or even by singular act of heroism, but ... made himself a hero by design ... [and] became the victim of his own fame."
The closing pages of Chapter 12 provide a touching account of Lawrence's funeral and the gifted description of his friend Robert Storrs of the moment the casket was closed.
The collection of photographs is, to me at least, by far the best I have yet seen and is well-placed in the text.
The clue to the full name of "S.A.", to whom Seven Pillars was dedicated, always and still assumed to be Dahoum, is something I have not previously noticed.
One of Lawrence's many deadpan remarks which I have seen in passing before, but which struck me as particularly stinging and even more true today, was his cynical observation that America had a "particular combination of idealism and commerce." That style is so very like many statements made by Feisal and directed at France. Of course anyone who has ever had the misfortune of working with a Frenchman is automatically an admirer of all things for which T.E. Lawrence fought.
On Iraq, Lawrence, 90 years ago, "saw very clearly that the object should never be to invade or occupy territory with troops -- a waste of time, manpower, and money -- ... but to threaten punishment from the air, and only when necessary, carry it out.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Package arrived promptly and intact. A story of a great man.Published 1 month ago by Ms. Angela Elkington
Michael Korda is an amazing writer and he didn't disappoint here at all other than at the end where I thought it dragged slightly. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Sean Claycamp
A great story about the Lawrence of Arabia that we didn't get to see in David Lean's classic movie.
Well worth the read.
Great read. I never saw the movie, Lawrence of Arabia, and didn't have any ideas about what he had done to become famous. He was one heck of man.Published 6 months ago by Kindle Customer
Riveting book about one of history's greatest adventurers. Korda has style!Published 7 months ago by Madcap Mary
Great insight on the culture and events that shaped the Middle East as we know it today.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
Lawrence of Arabia is one of my favorite movies, but I was left with a lot of gaps after reading 7 pillars. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Seth Bouchelle
I liked the book very much. I read it on my KIndle so struggled to read the maps but the maps found on line were excellent and enhanced my limited geographical knowledge of the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by joan chick
A little too much Hero worship by the author. A good adjunct to Fall o Ottoman Empire and Churchill's World CrisisPublished 10 months ago by Marianne