Lawrence of Arabia's heroism during the Arab revolt and his disgust at the subsequent betrayal of the Arabs in the postwar negotiations have become the stuff of legend. But T. E. Lawrence's adventures in the Levant began long before the outbreak of war.Read more...
Lawrence of Arabia's heroism during the Arab revolt and his disgust at the subsequent betrayal of the Arabs in the postwar negotiations have become the stuff of legend. But T. E. Lawrence's adventures in the Levant began long before the outbreak of war. This intimate biography is the first to focus on Lawrence in his twenties, the untold story of the awkward archaeologist from Oxford who, on first visiting "The East," fell in love with Arab culture and found his life's mission.
Few people realize that Lawrence's classic autobiography, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, was not the first book to carry that iconic title. Lawrence himself burned his original draft. Anthony Sattin here uncovers the story Lawrence wanted to conceal: the truth of his birth, his tortuous relationship with a dominant mother, his deep affection for an Arab boy, and the personal reasons that drove him from student to spy.
Drawing on surviving letters, diaries, and accounts from close confidantes, Sattin brings a biographer's eye for detail and a travel writer's verve to Lawrence's extraordinary journeys through the region with which his name is forever connected. In a masterful parallel narrative, The Young T. E. Lawrence charts the maturation of the man and the incipient countries he treasured, both coming of age at a time when the world's foundations were coming undone.
- ISBN-13: 9780393242669
- ISBN-10: 0393242668
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
- Publish Date: January 2015
- Page Count: 336
- Dimensions: 10.6 x 5.2 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-11-24
- Reviewer: Staff
Sattin (Lifting the Veil), a travel writer with an extensive background in the Middle East, approaches the oft-profiled T.E. Lawrence from a new angle, focusing exclusively on the first half of Lawrence’s life, prior to the events that would make him famous. He wonders “how the second son of a quiet, comfortably off, apparently unexceptional Oxford family came to play a role—any role—in the Arab uprising.” An enterprising and brilliant archaeologist with a taste for adventure, Lawrence spent several formative years on a dig at Carchemish (on the modern Turkey-Syria frontier) and made a number of exploratory treks around the region. Noting the extent to which Lawrence adopted local culture, Sattin points out that he was, by Arab standards, “an extremely unusual for being wealthy and still wanting to walk alone, in the remote countryside, in the summer.” Brief and engaging, the book makes extensive use of Lawrence’s correspondence with his parents, brothers, and colleagues. Sattin argues that Lawrence fought for Arab self-determination because he viewed it as “an acceptable present for the man he had loved,” a teenager who taught him Arabic at Carchemish and died in late 1916 or early 1917, probably of typhus. Agent: Melanie Jackson, Melanie Jackson Agency. (Jan.)