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Showing 1-10 of 162 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 232 reviews
on March 25, 2016
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.

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.
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on December 15, 2010
This is one of the best biographies which was published this year. It is not an easy task to write a biography for many reasons. The writer must get to know as many angles,facts and events about his subject as possible,and he or she must also have a very good command and knowledge of the various sources which will be used to convey to the reader the best and most accurate pictureof his chosen topic.
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.
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on August 22, 2016
Hero: Lawrence of Arabia is a REALLY good biography. It tells the entire life story of T.E. Lawrence, the British hero of the Arabian revolution during World War I. The author is non-judgmental, straightforward and holds nothing back. Honestly, Lawrence's true story often sounds stranger than fiction, but all the facts are documented and the opinions of the author are based on solid evidence. I recommend this book highly.
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on September 3, 2017
I just discovered this great book. I am a fan of Korda's and this is just a great can't put down story of an incredible person and legend. This is my fourth Lawrence biography and it is the best. Have not read Harts or Graves but Korda does a great job of discussing the other major biographies.
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on March 23, 2017
great book amd will enjoy reading all of it.
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on September 10, 2014
This book is a remarkable in depth look into the life and times of the enigma that was T.E. Lawrence. With the Arab world currently in turmoil, it is an excellent primer on why it is now so and the major players involved. Greedy imperialists forever changed the events of history. All of this swirled around or was influenced by Lawrence. There might not be ISIS, Al Qaeda or many of the "dictators" of the 20th century. Maybe, just maybe, the Americans backed the wrong side in World War I. An axis victory and (conditional) Ottoman survival might have softened some nationalistic and terroristic fervor. The Hashemites, not the Saudis would be the stronger influence in the Arab world. The three Pashas and Wilhelm are whispering from the grave: we told you so. An informative read. Do not mind the conversion errors pointed out by other reviewers. They would probably complain if hung with an old rope.
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on December 11, 2016
Wonderful book about a major player in history
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on January 26, 2017
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on August 16, 2014
Michael Korda's biography of TE Lawrence is well written and goes into substantial detail on the major periods that influenced Lawrence prior to his involvement in the Arab Revolt. Notably, he also addresses the posthumous fame afforded 'Lawrence of Arabia', a caricature of the actual man and his various strengths and failings.

All in, I found it to be an exceedingly good book on the subject, with a good balance of detail and high level discussion of relevant topics.
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on August 25, 2014
I found this biography of T.E. Lawrence to be very informative and insightful. In fact, I am now reading Lawrence's "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom" and Korda's biography helped me immensely to make sense of Lawrence's book in terms of the historical context, the cast of characters, and especially Lawrence's subtle (or not so subtle) sarcasm which otherwise might have gone over my head. Korda also helps one to see where Lawrence may have exaggerated or distorted some events, as well as helping a great deal to understand the psychology of Lawrence's illegitimate birth, his strained relationship with his mother, and his repressed sexuality. Highly recommended.
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