Scott Anderson's fine, sophisticated, richly detailed Lawrence in Arabia is filled with invaluably complex and fine-tuned information…Beyond having a keen ear for memorable wording, Mr. Anderson has a gift for piecing together the conflicting interests of warring parties…Lawrence in Arabia is a fascinating book, the best work of military history in recent memory and an illuminating analysis of issues that still loom large today.
Janet Maslin - New York Times
Anderson's setting of Lawrence among other foreign agents is an interesting and creative idea…the multi-character approach has the great virtue of opening up the story's complexity. Through his large cast, Anderson is able to explore the muddles of the early-20th-century Middle East from several distinct and enlightening perspectives. Furthermore, while he maintains an invigorating pace, his fabulous details are given room to illuminate.
Alex von Tunzelmann - New York Times Book Review
Cuts through legend and speculation to offer perhaps the clearest account of Lawrence’s often puzzling actions and personality.... Anderson has produced a compelling account of Western hubris, derring-do, intrigue and outright fraud that hastened—and complicated—the troubled birth of the modern Middle East.
Thrilling....a work as galvanizing and cinematic as Lean’s masterpiece.... It’s a huge assignment, explaining the modern roots of the region as it emerged from the wreckage of war. But it is one that Anderson handles with panache.... Anderson brilliantly evokes the upheavals and head-spinningly complex politics of an era.... His story is character-driven, exhilaratingly so—Prufer, Yale, and Aaronsohn’s stories are richly sketched....shows how individuals both shape history and are, at the same time, helpless before the dictates of great power politics."
No four-hour movie can do real justice to the bureaucratic fumblings, the myriad spies, heroes and villains, the dense fugue of humanity at its best and worst operating in the Mideast war theater of 1914-17. Thrillingly, Scott Anderson's Lawrence in Arabia (4 out of 4 stars) does exactly that, weaving enormous detail into its 500-plus pages with a propulsive narrative thread”
Anderson’s easy prose...makes liberal use of primary sources and research but reads like a political thriller. The central message seems as relevant today as it was a century ago: revolutions whose success is dependent on the patronage of external powers come at a high price—a "loss of autonomy" and an influx of foreign carpetbaggers who show little concern for the inhabitants of the newly "free" land.
(Starred review.) Follows four men, including Aaron Aaronsohn and T.E. Lawrence, in the World War I Middle East as imperialism, revolution, intrigue, and ambition defined the Western role there. Their legacy is still with us.
(Starred review.) Readers seeking to understand why turmoil has been so omnipresent in the Middle East will benefit from Anderson's easy prose, which makes liberal use of primary sources and research, but reads like a political thriller.
A well-fleshed portrait of T.E. Lawrence (1888–1935) brought in burnished relief against other scoundrels in the Arabian narrative.... Anderson thoroughly explores the making of the Lawrence legend, from the effortless taking of Aqaba to "the fantasy of the 'clean war' of Arab warriors." A lively, contrasting study of hubris and humility.
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