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Lawrence: The Uncrowned King of Arabia

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  125 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
"Lawrence of Arabia" began World War I as a map clerk and ended it as one of the great figures of the war. He altered the face of the Middle East, and almost single-handedly formulated many of the precepts of modern guerrilla warfare. Yet he refused any honors for his achievements and spent much of the rest of his life in the ranks of the army and the Royal Air Force, in n ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 418 pages
Published October 26th 1998 by Viking Books (first published October 1998)
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Martine
Michael Asher's approach to Lawrence of Arabia is a bit different from most other biographers'. Rather than taking Lawrence's autobiography, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, as a starting point and finding additional material to shed light on Lawrence's own words, Asher starts from the premise that Lawrence, while unmistakeably heroic, was prone to embellishment, and sets out to detail where Lawrence's account of his life deviates from known facts and other accounts (including letters Lawrence himself w ...more
Caroline
This is not your typical biography of a legendary figure. Part pilgrimage, part travelogue, part mythological debunking, part psychological unveiling - it's all here in this book. T.E. Lawrence, known to posterity as Lawrence of Arabia, was an...interesting figure, to say the least, and Asher captures him here in all his strange, curious, contradictory glory.

I'm not sure I've ever read a biography that probed so deeply into a subject's psyche before (although the accuracy of that probing I'll le
...more
Nini
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I had no former understanding of TEL, I felt educated on both the man and the time. A complex historical perspective thoroughly explained in this volume.
Surreysmum
May 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, 2009, owned
Suffice it to say that by the end of this biography, Asher had me agreeing that a number of the most emotionally striking scenes in the movie have asterisks against their veracity because they're based on Seven Pillars, even if you don't already have asterisks against them because Robert Bolt conflated a number of incidents and characters from that book in order to make his screenplay.

On the other hand, it's a really fascinating and remarkably consistent picture of Lawrence, physically fearful a
...more
'Aussie Rick'
Dec 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book, first published in 1998, has been one of the best accounts I have read to date on 'Lawrence of Arabia'. For anyone looking for an easy to read but in-depth account of this amazing man then I think this book would be the one to read.

In 380 pages Michael Asher takes you along on a journey of discovery with T.E. Lawrence and what a journey it is. The author re-traces many of Lawrence’s desert journeys and presents the reader with a book that is part history, part travelogue and all dram
...more
Kelley
Mar 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very controversial bio of Lawrence. I traded some email with Michael Asher, the author, and he told me had recieved death threats since its publication.

Asher asserts that Lawrence was homosexual (long debated) and that at least two of his exploits of fame (the crossing of Sinai in 48 hours and his capture and rape at the hands of the Turks) never happened at all. Asher charges that Lawrence was a shameless self-promoter that came to despise the role he had created for himself.

At the sa
...more
Monte Dutton
Nov 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've had it a long time and finally got around to it. It was worth the wait. "Lawrence of Arabia" is my choice as the finest movie of all time. Now I have a vivid image of the real Lawrence, or at least Asher depicts him as well as any man could.
Stefan Meyer
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read many biographies of Lawrence, but this one stands out in my mind as the best overall. Asher indulges neither in hagiography nor in wild speculation, but presents a psychological portrait of his subject that is credible and ultimately convincing.
Ann Canann
Sep 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
An excellent biography of a man who has long fascinated me. The author, one of the great desert explorers was himself in the Parachute regiment and the SAS.
Haytham
Mar 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
one of the precious books i ever read.. high recommended !!
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Michael Asher is an author, historian, deep ecologist, and notable desert explorer who has covered more than 30,000 miles on foot and camel. He spent three years living with a traditional nomadic tribe in Sudan.

Michael Asher was born in Stamford, Lincolnshire, in 1953, and attended Stamford School. At 18 he enlisted in the 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment, and saw active service in Northern Ir
...more
More about Michael Asher

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“At last, in those far-off deserts, I finally knew that the observer is part of his subject: and I understood that there could be no definitive Lawrence, but only an infinite number of Lawrentian images, like crystals in the eyes of his beholders. What I discovered was my Lawrence and my truth, for ‘truth’ is of more than one kind: the kind which remains static, and the kind which bends and shifts according to the individual and the time.” 0 likes
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