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With Lawrence in Arabia

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  333 ratings  ·  47 reviews
It was 1918 in Jerusalem, when the admiring young American scholar and journalist Lowell Thomas first met T.E. Lawrence. He went on to write With Lawrence in Arabia, a book that sparked the Lawrence of Arabia legend and was the basis of the celebrated film. With brilliant narrative verve, Lowell recounts the exploits of the young British agent who managed to weld disparate ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 1st 2002 by Carlton Publishing Group (first published 1924)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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Tom Oman
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was written by Thomas in his characteristic sensationalist style intended for consumption by the hysterical masses. He simplifies the people and events involved and often takes liberties in order to exemplify one trait or another. This book is not high on integrity or staying true to facts. It is written in an almost Gonzo style of journalism, running through the quick and dirty highlights of these exhilarating events.

Besides the fact that this book is not the academic authority on TE Lawr
This was originally written in 1924. Thomas' grasp of ancient and medieval history is suspect. His description of modern Arabs often displays the prejudices of his era. He also hero-worships Lawrence. That said, he offers some very good first hand reporting on Lawrence and interesting descriptions of key battles in the asymetric and conventional sides of the Middle Eastern campaign. He also does some justice to Arab culture. Unlike most of the faculty I encountered in my Near Eastern studies pro ...more
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Lowell Thomas was obviously awe-struck by the shy and slender young Englishman, T.E. Lawrence, dressed as an Arab prince but if his book is tainted with hero-worship there is no individual in modern times more deserving of it. The exploits of Lawrence in uniting the many contentious Bedouin tribes of Arabia into a cohesive fighting force to overthrow the rule of the Turkish Ottoman Empire are staggering to say the least. Thomas captures the story of Lawrence's exploits in such a way that they re ...more
Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
In this 1967 edition, Lowell Thomas added forty pages of brief biographical material concerning some of the men who served with Colonel T. E. Lawrence during the Arabian Revolt of 1916-18. He focused primarily on their career highlights and anything they had personally to say about Lawrence.

In his added forward, Thomas points out that the 1963 David Lean film "Lawrence of Arabia," although a cinematographic marvel, was a historical disaster and its rewrite and distortion of history to portray La
Thomas Simpson
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
A lot of it is pure sensationalist, orientalist exaggeration, I'm sure. Much of the attitude presented by the book towards Arabs or the Turks is wildly out of date and reflective of the attitudes during the war. So that gets the book dinged a little book. The bigger problem is that Lawrence, despite much praise given to him throughout the account, also seems oddly missing through much of the book until the last third or so. This is fine, I suppose, since Thomas gives a lot of detail about Arabia ...more
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Lowell Thomas was one of those breathless sorts who was quite adept at putting himself into a good story. He was there, reporting on the Arab campaign, an imbedded reporter before the phrase came into use. Lawrence cut a unique swath of success in a war that seemed to create nothing but disaster for most commanders and their troops. His photographs and reports were a sensation and helped propel Lawrence into the public arena. This book, and Lawrence's own account of the Arab campaign in his book ...more
Jun 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, wwi
This book had been my briefcase read for a while. Thomas wrote this before Lawrence's Revolt in the Desert and Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Thomas also created one of the first slide shows which he delivered to audiences around the world. It was this traveling slide show that made Lawrence famous and Thomas very rich.

While the language Thomas reads makes it an easy read, it is a somewhat cartoonish in its characterizations. Every Arab (save one) is a great fighter, of solid character, a good guy. Ev
May 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-to-a-friend
I picked this book up at a rummage sale years ago and it's finally resurfaced on a long lost bookshelf. I remember reading it way before the turmoil of current day in the middle east. Back then I dog-earred a page where Lawrence said: 'The handling of Arabs might be termed an art, not a science, with many exceptions and no obvious rules ... Your success will be in proportion to your mental effort.' That was in 1924!! Not much has changed. ...more
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A superb story of the Arab Revolt led by Major T.E. Lawrence, as witnessed by correspondent Lowell Thomas. Numerous hand-drawn portraits and photographs convey the character of the war in the Middle East, and the personalities of the participants.
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes I grow weary of fiction..... this historical account of WWI in the Middle East is history that reads like fiction. FANTASTIC book.
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lowell Thomas was an insightful writer. I enjoyed his view of the young Lawrence and also his interest in the Arabian people.
Peter Henne
Sep 17, 2017 rated it liked it
A well-written book, with a lot of good historical information (if you take it with a grain of salt). Lawrence complained that Thomas exaggerated his achievements for the purposes of spectacle, although I'm not sure which of Thomas' stories he didn't like. But this provides an interesting first-person perspective of the Arab Revolt by an outsider.

One major issue is the time in which it was written. It was still acceptable to make stereotypical, vaguely racist comments, about other cultures, and
Kelsey Dionne
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
I originally read this book because I found an old, enticing copy in a Dublin bookstore that had handwritten notes by previous owners dating back to the early 1900s.

There's an air of mystery and adventure in this story that, while likely exaggerated, amended or omitted in certain areas, still creates a stunning tale.

It's rare to find a story, especially based in factual events, that follows a heroic figure from his humble beginnings through his unlikely and unbelievable achievements. Whether or
Laura Brose
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read a much older edition which included in the back reprints of some letters to the editor written by Lawrence concerning the Western Powers' treatment of their Arab allies and fact that they did not act in good faith towards them in all instances. Some of this led to the Middle East being the powder keg that it became in more recent times. It is too bad that in spite of gaining some popular recognition (the book went through several editions and printings shortly after Lawrence's return to B ...more
Mike O'brien
Dec 22, 2007 rated it did not like it
This book sucked. I stuck with it because I just lived where he worked his magic, but the book was more of an admiring report than a narrative of what happened. It's the only time in my life that I can say the movie was better than the book, and you know how slow and long the movie is? ... Well, try reading the book. Or rather, don't. ...more
Len Knighton
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
I remember listening to Thomas' final newscast. I loved him on the radio; I have not loved him in print. This was the second book I've read by Thomas and both were disappointing. Too much superfluous material, in my opinion. ...more
R.W. Clark
Oct 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read this when the film Lawrence of Arabia first came out. Both inspired me to study T.E. Lawrence's life and then this lead to my reading the tracts, memoirs, and stories of other historical and contemporary guerrilla fighters. ...more
Dec 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Lawrence is large, unassuming contributor to ww1 and the fall of the Ottoman empire. The conception of a common goal, and the push towards it is memorable. It is unlikely a feat like this will ever be repeated.
Apr 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
My copy of this book is actually the 1967 copy. It was my dad's. =) ...more
Jul 10, 2009 marked it as to-read
I found a 1st edition of this book (Sweet) hope the book show a little insight into the mind of the not only the T.E. but also the author.
Michael Manzano
Oct 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
I found a copy of the 1967 edition with the new forward by the author discussing the David Lean film starring Peter O'Toole. ...more
Good introduction to T. E. Lawrence.
David Butler
Sep 30, 2014 rated it liked it
This title but not by this author.
Nearly 100 years ago a young Lowell Thomas wrote a follow-up to his widely viewed production of the Great War fought in the mid-east by the Arab bedouins led by a diminutive and little-known British archeologist turned intelligence officer named Thomas Edward Lawrence. The book doubled as a brief history of the people who populate the vast desert spaces of Arabia and a survey of the exploits by the man called "the uncrowned king of Arabia."

Blending these two elements created an uneven account an
Roger Burk
Apr 12, 2021 rated it liked it
Don't look for a connected account of the Arab Revolt in this book. It's a collection of impressions of and stories about Lawrence based on time with him in Jerusalem during the war, in Paris during postwar negotiations, and an interview afterwards. It is romantic hagiography. It gives much praise to Emir Faisal, who formally led the revolt but had a quarrel over Arabia with the House of Sa'ud and had to settle for the throne of Iraq. It also paints a picture of the Bedouin Arabs unconstrained b ...more
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
A bit of a slog at times - I just couldn’t engage with all the individual battles, which in many cases are simply tallies or deaths on each side. But when it succeeds, it’s more interesting. I wanted more of a personal story and less of a sensationalist series of headlines, which is what this felt like (and a money grab to capitalize on the mythos).

I still don’t have a very clear picture of Lawrence as a person, only as a demigod - did the Arabs really revere him or was he simply a means to an
Kirill Abbakumov
Jan 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
The book that introduced the world to the genius of the Lawrence of Arabia. While Lowell Thomas' writing is sensationalist and biased, the book is still an intoxicating read that offers a glimpse into the Arab Revolt and a great man accomplishing great things.

At first it is difficult to follow the historical events that are staggered chronologically, but the book then breaks up the pace into random and fascinating episodes on life in the Arabian desert and it's people fighting for freedom.
Deborah  Cleaves
Jul 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Read the original 1924 edition, not this new forwarded edition. Clearly an effort by a neophyte writer, it is clumsy and awkward for about the first third, then begins to pick up after that. Like many books of that period, it fairly reeks of prejudices rife at that time. Okay overall albeit poorly begun, but despite having created the Lawrence mythos, it is a far cry from a compelling read.
Kira Nerys
Aug 26, 2021 marked it as family-owned-not-read  ·  review of another edition
Kinda amazed I was able to find the actual edition my dad owns. I believe he picked it up secondhand, but it's inscribed with a name and 1927 inside the cover, so this is one of the earliest printings. I have not read it. ...more
Maybe 2 1/2 stars -- first third was well written and interesting. Last half was more a travelogue with too many details that have little meaning for me.
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Lowell Jackson Thomas was an American writer, actor, broadcaster, and traveler, best remembered for publicising T. E. Lawrence. He was also involved in promoting the Cinerama widescreen system.

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