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Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence
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Seven Pillars of Wisdom (original 1926; edition 1935)

by T. E. Lawrence (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,010381,897 (4.05)130
Member:kdweber
Title:Seven Pillars of Wisdom
Authors:T. E. Lawrence (Author)
Info:Jonathon Cape of London (1935), Hardcover, 672 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:first edition, biography, war, Arab, history

Work details

Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence (1926)

  1. 40
    Lawrence of Arabia: The Authorized Biography of T.E. Lawrence by Jeremy Wilson (KayCliff)
  2. 10
    Lawrence: The Uncrowned King of Arabia by Michael Asher (amerynth)
  3. 10
    Setting the Desert on Fire: T. E. Lawrence and Britain's Secret War in Arabia, 1916-1918 by James Barr (arethusarose)
    arethusarose: covers the politics and policies that led to Lawrence's activity, and work done by others in more detail than I have seen in other books. The author appears to have examined the territory covered in 1916-1918 as it is today
  4. 00
    Eden to Armageddon: World War I in the Middle East by Roger Ford (Artymedon)
  5. 00
    More Great Railway Journeys by Benedict Allen (John_Vaughan)
    John_Vaughan: Chapt 1 for more on Hejaz - Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph, T E Lawrence
  6. 00
    1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West by Roger Crowley (John_Vaughan)
  7. 01
    T.E.Lawrence: An Arab view by Suleiman Mousa (Sylak)
    Sylak: Dispelling the myths and digging out the truth behind the Arab Revolt.
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» See also 130 mentions

English (35)  Dutch (3)  All languages (38)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
The book in its depth, scope and subject matter reminds me of A Bright and Shining Lie. As with that book, it suffers from an overload of details that are distracting to someone unfamiliar with the events. I'm sure that to so one more intimately familiar with the historical events of the time the book would be a fascinating and informative read. I though came away with the most from the chapters that stuck with broader historical and political commentary, rather than the specific names of who slept in what tent when, who owned which camel (and said camel's gender) and what ulitmately killed the camel (mange, dehydration, neglect, etc). ( )
  pussreboots | Sep 2, 2014 |
I have listened to a few hours of selections read out loud on the Naxos label.

I admire T.E. Lawrence aka Lawrence of Arabia. Lawrence is a very good writer and communicates well what the fuss was about in Arabia during World War I. ( )
  Benedict8 | Jul 16, 2014 |
I selected this book to read as part of the research I was doing on my novel. I had seen the film "Lawrence of Arabia" in the past and now wanted to mine the book for details I needed to know about life among the Bedouin in 1920. I had planned to only read the parts I needed for my novel, but ended up devouring the whole thing. Then I read it again, parsing out what had now become an intense interest in TE's psychology. I then retreated to a biography and selected John Mack's "A Prince of our Disorder", not only because it won a Pulitzer, but because it was a psychological biography rather than the more materialistic ones that focused on TE's war efforts. (I do not care how Lawrence learned to blow up a train). As Lawrence's personality was dissected in that fabulous biography, I could not help but draw on a curious aspect of human-ness. There is a correlation between being deeply psychologically disturbed and fantastic achievements in some of history's greatest artists. Van Gogh, is the first who comes to mind, but Beethoven and Mozart and Wagner all had personality problems (I am being polite here), Degas, Cezanne, Gauguin: not particularly well-balanced. There are any number of examples, too many to discuss here. The opposite is true as well, as other men who are infamous rather than famous, and their achievements might be better categorized as harmful to humanity rather than having enriched it (these men tend to enter politics rather than the arts). But the point I am making is that in order to step out of the ordinary, the mold has to be broken, and cracking that mold often corresponds to a cracking the psyche. Reading Seven Pillars again after reading Mack's biography underlined the most poignant parts of the book, and watching the film again after being immersed in the two books brought out the fierce intent of the filmmakers to illustrate in sound and color what Lawrence meant to other people and to history, but not what that medium could convey to us what was churning in Lawrence's soul. They tried, they tried, and Peter O'Toole does a fantastic job looking like a tormented soul, his eyes at times full of humor and then pathos and then fear. But the screenplay cannot put the words in our ears that we need to hear in order to understand Lawrence. Only his own words can do that, and they are heartbreaking. ( )
  Annmarie_Banks | Jan 26, 2014 |
Brilliant. I've had a hopeless crush on Lawrence since I saw Lawrence of Arabia, but once I grew up I realized that, as dashing as Peter O'Toole is, the real T.E. is even better. His writing is amazingly descriptive and I found myself tearing up a little several times. ( )
  liz.mabry | Sep 11, 2013 |
Unnuanced generalizations about nations, peoples, etc. Not engaging. ( )
  ohernaes | Jul 4, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
added by KayCliff | editThe Indexer, Hazel K. Bell (Aug 3, 2009)
 

» Add other authors (80 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
T. E. Lawrenceprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gatrell, AnthonyMapssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kennington, EricIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lawrence, A. W.Prefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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[None]
Dedication
To S.A.

I loved you, so I drew these tides of men into my hands

    and wrote my will across the sky in stars

To earn you Freedom, the seven pillared worthy house,

    that your eyes might be shining for me

        When we came.

Death seemed my servant on the road, till we were near

    and saw you waiting:

When you smiled, and in sorrowful envy he outran me

    and took you apart:

        Into his quietness.

Love, the way-weary, groped to your body, our brief wage

    ours for the moment

Before earth's soft hand explored your shape, and the blind 

    worms grew fat upon

        Your substance.

Man prayed me that I set our work, the inviolate house,

    as a memory of you.

But for fit monument I shattered it, unfinished: and now

The little things creep out to patch themselves hovels

    in the marred shadow

        Of your gift.
First words
Mr Geoffrey Dawson persuaded All Souls College to give me leisure, in 1919-20, to write about the Arab Revolt.

Author's note, Cranwell, 15 August 1926.
The seven pillars of wisdom are first mentioned in the Bible, in the Book of Proverbs (ix. I)

Preface by A. W. Lawrence.
The story which follows was first written out in Paris during the Peace Conference, from notes jotted daily on the march, strengthened by some reports sent to my chiefs in Cairo. Afterwards, in the autumn of 1919, this first draft and some of the notes were lost. It seemed to me historically needful to reproduce the tale, as perhaps no one but myself in Feisal’s army had thought of writing down at the time what we felt, what we hoped, what we tried. So it was built again with heavy repugnance in London in the winter of 1919–20 from memory and my surviving notes. The record of events was not dulled in me and perhaps few actual mistakes crept in—except in details of dates or numbers—but the outlines and significance of things had lost edge in the haze of new interests.

Introductory Chapter.
Some Englishmen, of whom Kitchener was chief, believed that a rebellion of Arabs against Turks would enable England, while fighting Germany, simultaneously to defeat her ally Turkey.

Introduction : Foundations of revolt.
Some of the evil of my tale may have been inherent in our circumstances

Chapter I.
Quotations
Tallal had seen what we had seen. He gave one moan like a hurt animal; then rode to the upper ground and sat there a while on his mare, shivering and looking fixedly after the Turks. I moved near to speak to him, but Auda caught my rein and stayed me. Very slowly Tallal drew his head-cloth about his face; and then he seemed suddenly to take hold of himself, for he dashed his stirrups into the mare's flanks and galloped headlong, bending low and swaying in the saddle, right at the main body of the enemy.
Later I was sitting alone in my room, working and thinking out as firm a way as the turbulent memories of the day allowed, when the Muedhdhins began to send their call of last prayer through the moist night over the illuminations of the feasting city. One, with a ringing voice of special sweetness, cried into my window from a near mosque. I found myself involuntarily distinguishing his words: 'God alone is great: I testify there are no gods, but God: and Mohammed his Prophet. Come to prayer: come to security. God alone is great: there is no god--but God.'

At the close he dropped his voice two tones, almost to speaking level, and softly added: 'And He is very good to us this day, O people of Damascus.' The clamour hushed, as everyone seemed to obey the call to prayer on this their first night of perfect freedom. While my fancy, in the overwhelming pause, showed me my loneliness and lack of reason in their movement: since only for me, of all the hearers, was the event sorrowful and the phrase meaningless.

Last words
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Book description
Copy 1169 of a 1,225 limited edition of the 1922 text of Seven Pillars of Wisdom, by T.E. Lawrence. The text was edited from the manuscript in the Bodleian Library and T.E. Lawrence's annotated copy of the 1922 Oxford Times printing. The full text was first published in 1997 by Castle Hill Press in an edition of 752 three-volume sets. Copies 1-45 of this printing are bound in full goatskin, copies 46-225 are bound in quarter-goatskin. Copies 226-1225 are bound in cloth.

The 1922 text is a full 25% longer than the version known to readers since Lawrence's death in 1935.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385418957, Paperback)

This is the exciting and highly literate story of the real Lawrence of Arabia, as written by Lawrence himself, who helped unify Arab factions against the occupying Turkish army, circa World War I. Lawrence has a novelist's eye for detail, a poet's command of the language, an adventurer's heart, a soldier's great story, and his memory and intellect are at least as good as all those. Lawrence describes the famous guerrilla raids, and train bombings you know from the movie, but also tells of the Arab people and politics with great penetration. Moreover, he is witty, always aware of the ethical tightrope that the English walked in the Middle East and always willing to include himself in his own withering insight.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:23 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

The classic account of the Arab tribes' guerrilla warfare against Turkish forces during World War II and of Lawrence's part in and reflections on that warfare.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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