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Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph Paperback – January 20, 2009
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This was clearly put together by some sort of scanned image to text program that has a ton of flaws! Punctuation, capitalization, and paragraphs are all messed up - some letters are transcribed into numbers - because of this some sentences are puzzling to decipher, the publisher should be ashamed!
This is especially terrible when one considers the amount of time T.E. Lawrence put into obsessing over the details while writing this book (punctuation, how paragraphs began and ended on specific pages, etc...)
I'm disappointed this review will probably be lost in the sea of appropriate praise for this book and more people will probably end up disappointed with this piece of crap.
T.E. Lawrence was an exceptional man, who lived an exceptional life. His years with the Arabs, in their country makes for a really good read . In fact, I found myself Googling the locations that he spoke of and actually seeing images of the land that spoke so reverently to him.
I loved reading it on the Kindle ... just being able to tap a word to get a definition is great.
It also explains to a great degree why that part of the world is in its current state.
Just an enjoyable read.
1) Alliances in the ME are volatile and unpredictable - who would have thought that the leaders of Mecca and Medina would ally themselves with the Christian British Empire and not with the Islamist leaders of Turkey? (The "Young Turks" while western oriented were unapologetically Islamist at heart).
2) Desert cultures look more at people than policies - Lawrence dressed like a Beduin, rode his camel like a Beduin, slept in Beduin tents and ate Beduin food - something the Americans in Iraq never understood. Even if in both cases imperial interests were pre-eminent (domination of the Suez Canal in WW1 and ensuring western oil reserves in 1991 and 2003) Lawrence succeeded by embracing the host culture while both Bush Sr and Jr failed because they never thought to empathize with the Iraqis as people. (I heard once that until 9/11 there were only 2 CIA senior staff who were fluent in Arabic - but maybe this is apocryphal).