December 21st 2008

Seven Pillars of Wisdom T.E. Lawrence

Seven Pillars of Wisdom T.E. Lawrence. 1933. ISBN 0140016961. Lawrence of Arabia wrote this book and Revolt in the Desert – the story behind the raising of the Arab Army which allied with the British to take on the Turks during  WW1 in the Middle East. This book was recommended by an old college buddy  Paul Edgecombe, and I thank him.  As an insight into the multitude  of peoples, tribes, ethnics  with terrific blood feuds raging across Syria, Arabia, Persia, Palstine, Lebanon there is really nothing that I have read that gives you this insightful  look.  This area  makes Bosnia and Serbia look like bastions of civility and peace.  As well Lawrence became a man torn between the ultimate perfidy of British, French & Russian politics and the anarchistic, yet noble “freedom” of the Bedouin and other tribes.  He lived right in it, sleeping on the ground, replete with bugs, vermin, bad food, cold and hardship  for seven years into his thirties.  Too bad no politicians appear to  have  been curious enough about this book to read it.  But maybe knowing what Lawrence learned would have made life too complex for enlighted Westerners.

Photograph of T. E. Lawrence, cropped from
Image via Wikipedia
Costumes of Arab men, fourth to sixth century.
Image via Wikipedia

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