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Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia Paperback – November 1, 2011
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“[A] beguiling biography. . . . Korda is at his best describing, after the heroics in the desert, the touching antiheroics of Lawrence’s later life.” (New York Times Book Review)
“An unexpectedly fresh, engagingly written biography that adds substantially to our understanding of this strange, contradictory, curiously admirable and compelling subject’s life and contribution.” (Los Angeles Times)
“In case you thought there was nothing let to say about T.E. Lawrence . . . along comes Michael Korda with Hero: brilliant, illuminating, un-putdownable, a masterpiece of biography about quite possibly the most fascinating and complex personality of the 20th century.” (Christopher Buckley, author Losing Mum and Pup)
“The strength of Hero lies in its ability to analyze Lawrence’s accomplishments and to add something meaningful to the larger body of Lawrence lore. . . . Mr. Korda writes with authority...Sagacious and valuable. . . . Most important, Mr. Korda makes himself a credible authority on some of the most egregious misconceptions that surround Lawrence’s story.” (New York Times)
“The story of T.E. Lawrence’s life is one well worth reading, particularly for its insights about the history of the Middle East.” (USA Today)
“Michael Korda captures the indomitable, tormented spirit of this extraordinary man. . . . Well crafted and excellent in its depiction of T.E. Lawrence as a multi-dimensional figure. . . . A fine biography.” (Washington Post)
“This magisterial biography of British soldier and adventurer T.E. Lawrence celebrates a life spent subverting authority in the most glamorous--and bizarre--ways. Korda’s vivid portrait of Lawrence and his warring impulses captures the brilliance and charisma of this fascinating figure.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Michael Korda’s new biography of Lawrence of Arabia is big-hearted and provocative—a page-turner that also helps us understand how the Middle East became the confused mess it is today. Hero is a magnificent achievement.” (Nathaniel Philbrick, author of The Last Stand)
“A splendid biography about a most unusual and extraordinary individual.” (Hugh Thomas, author of The Spanish Civil War)
“T.E. Lawrence is next to impossible to fix on the page. Yet Michael Korda has done so, delivering up a crowded, improbable life in a page-turning biography, every bit as rich as its protean subject. A splendid read.” (Stacy Schiff, author of Cleopatra: A Life)
From the Back Cover
The story of an epic life on a grand scale, Michael Korda’s Hero is a gripping, in-depth biography of the extraordinary, mysterious, and dynamic Englishman still famous the world over as “Lawrence of Arabia.” An Oxford scholar and archaeologist sent to Cairo as a young intelligence officer in 1916, Lawrence was a born leader, utterly fearless and seemingly impervious to pain and fatigue. A bold and ruthless warrior, he was the virtual inventor of modern insurgency and guerrilla warfare; a writer of genius who alternately sought and fled the limelight. Korda digs deeper than anyone before him to expose the flesh-and-blood man and his contradictory nature—farsighted visionary; diplomat and kingmaker; shy, sensitive, and private man; genius military strategist; arguably the first modern “media celebrity” . . . and one of its first victims. Hero is the magisterial story of one of the most unique and fascinating figures of modern times—the arch-hero whose life was, at once, a triumph and a sacrifice.
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I picked this book up after enjoying Korda's book on R.E. Lee, released in 2013, so much. Found the same engaging writing style, thorough research, and mingling of fact, myth, and opinion to shine through in this book. I'm constantly amazed at how these biographers are able to weave so much into one congruent story. It's quite a talent and one that Korda should be very proud of. Writers like Korda, McCullough, Brands and Robert Dallek are national treasures.
Specifically in the book.... his inclusion of the political scene leading up to the war was somewhat lacking, but this was a book about T.E. Lawrence, not the World and WWI as a whole I guess. His even-handed treatment of the Arab cause set against the back drop of the world's great powers was very fair and also very easy to understand. I had a significant amount of background knowledge heading into this book but even a person that wasn't familiar could have followed along without any trouble.
I also appreciate the fact that Korda makes some eduucated guesses on subjects. I mean, after all, he spent what I can only think were years researching the subject. Who better to provide the opinion on things like... was T.E. Lawrence gay or just conflicted. And - as they said on Seinfeld - it doesn't really matter but it is just interesting to find out what a guy like Korda thinks on the subject.
cCearly this is the book to be reading if you want to know more about Lawrence and Korda is fair, balanced, and thorough.
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