Ü Read À Lawrence in Arabia by Scott Anderson ↠´ This book is not Lawrence of Arabia but instead concerns the activities of Lawrence in Arabia as well as those of several other major characters who were determined to create a Middle East that suited their purposes once the Great War was over.
Britain and France had no intention of allowing their hold on the countries in the East to be broken for independence They also were determined to break up the faltering Ottoman Empire and so the Sykes Picot treaty came into being a semi secret document between those two countries dividing up the spoils of war However, they failed to tell those countries involved and kept up the masquerade of liberators rather than that of absentee landlords To add complications to the situation was the Zionist movement which was For those wanting to read about Lawrence of Arabia, STOP, read the title again flip the title about so it reads War, deceit, imperial folly the making of the modern middle East which features Lawrence in Arabia Now don t be put off by that opening gambit, Just wanted to make it clear as to what the book is about as probably like many folk you would gravitate to this book at the mention of Colonel TE Lawrence AKA Lawrence of Arabia Yes TE Lawrence is the major player used subtly to sell the book which I have no problem with as he does feature heavily in the geopolitics of the time.
Ok Still here Good as otherwise you would miss a most EXCELLANT tale of adventure, espionage, political intrigue warfare.
Normally I read bios non fiction in piecemeal as can find them a touch heavy but this book reads akin to a fiction novel I did so in three, albeit protrac Lawrence was no ordinary man Brave, resolute, passionate, intelligent, reflective, quiet, cold, distant, stoic, conflicted, righteous, deceitful, independent, eccentric Anderson digs into the psychology of Lawrence and the constant mind games he was engaged in as much as his military exploits While Lawrence is the main story, Anderson weaves in and out of several others, these include Aron Aaronsohn A Jewish agronomist living in Syria turned spymaster to help the British in hopes of establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine William Yale A Standard Oil of New York agent who secured oil concessions in Syria then becoming an American intelligence agent in Cairo Curt Pr fer A German intelligence agent Djemal Pasha The Ottoman governor of Syria With all these characters and many we learn about Ottoman rul Was Lawrence of Arabia the man you thought he was Some famous person probably urged us never to delve too deeply into the lives of our heroes since we re so likely to become cruelly disappointed In any case, if you ve cherished a vision of Lawrence of Arabia as one of the few genuine heroes of the 20th Century a vision probably nourished by David Lean s film masterpiece you can t read Scott Anderson s study of Lawrence in the context of the First World War in the Middle East and emerge with that image unscathed T E Lawrence archaeologist, author, diplomat, warrior was a piece of work In Anderson s expert telling, Lawrence was moody, arrogant, deceitful, possibly masochistic, and even, in one dramatic episode, traitorous Of course, he was also brilliant, courageous to the point of foolhardiness, and an extraord Lawrence in Arabia is a well researched and well written book.
The best review I read about this book is here are many other reviews which are also excellent, as well I agree with them, up to a point The avarice behind the Western powers superficial alliance with the tribes of the Middle East in fighting World War II against the Germans is supported by actual letters, documents and recollections from hundreds of sources, many listed in the book Without question, France and England planned to be in control of the Middle East, making this regional bit and that part which were soon to be countries as subservient puppets of their own empires The Western World wanted to defeat Germany and her allies, but they also wanted to sneak in some looting and theft from their Middle Eastern allies
I found this a fascinating look at World War I in the Middle East Mr Anderson basically looks at the war through the experiences of four people They are a British Archeologist T.
E Lawrence better known as Lawrence of Arabia, an American oil man William Yale, a minor German Diplomat Curt Prufer and finally a Jewish Palestinian agronomist Aaron Aaronsohn In telling the story of these four men, the author attempts to explain how World War I created the modern Middle East While Lawrence s story is the main storyline, the other three men s tale is also fascinating I found Prufer s story particularly fascinating A frustrated minor official Germany s Cairo Embassy during the war he rose to be Germany s chief intelligence office in Constantinople.
The author tells Lawrence s story using his own writings mainly The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, recollect This is a fascinating book, for the most part well written While the key character is T E Lawrence, the book is formally structured as an examination of the roles of and sometimes interaction among four characters T E Lawrence of Arabia , Curt Prufer umlaut over the u , Aaron Aaronson, and William Yale.
A brief note about each Lawrence began World War I on an archaeological expedition and ended up as a celebrity Prufer was a German who worked for German interests in the Middle East Aaronsohn was a Zionist and an agronomist trying to enhance agriculture in Jewish areas He also developed a spy network as World War I broke out Yale was of the family after whom the college was named He was, at the outset of WW I, an official for Standard Oil of New York now Mobil seeking access to lands that might be rich in oil During the war, he became a representat As I write this review, the horrors of the civil war in Syria fill the headlines and the US is considering yet another disastrous intervention in the Middle East Scott Anderson, following the celebrated figure of TE Lawrence through the deserts of Arabia, has written an excellent history of how the debacle began Britain and France scrambling over the Great Loot of the collapsing Ottoman Empire their perfidy toward the Arabs they had encouraged to revolt, including the portentous Balfour Declaration that set the stage for Israel s disenfranchisement of Palestinians and the origin of the US tradition of fundamentally misreading the situation in the Middle East that the American intelligence community would rigorously maintain for the next ninety five years The story has been well told before, but Anderson s account is sha