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

by T. E. Lawrence (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,438481,566 (4.04)1 / 173
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: A Triumph by T. E. Lawrence

  1. 40
    Lawrence of Arabia: The Authorized Biography of T.E. Lawrence by Jeremy Wilson (KayCliff)
  2. 10
    Crusader Castles by T. E. Lawrence (BINDINGSTHATLAST)
    BINDINGSTHATLAST: includes a small selection of letters
  3. 10
    Lawrence: The Uncrowned King of Arabia by Michael Asher (amerynth)
  4. 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
  5. 10
    T. E. Lawrence: The Selected Letters by T. E. Lawrence (BINDINGSTHATLAST)
    BINDINGSTHATLAST: Affordable and robust book of letters.
  6. 00
    1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West by Roger Crowley (John_Vaughan)
  7. 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
  8. 00
    Eden to Armageddon: World War I in the Middle East by Roger Ford (Artymedon)
  9. 12
    T. E. Lawrence: An Arab View by Suleiman Mousa (Sylak)
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English (44)  Dutch (4)  All (48)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Difficult book to read through entirely; largely covers the history of the Arab participation and the outcomes of World War 1. My 1935 copy, a gift in 1936 to my father, was an abridged history (Lawrence lost the original manuscript and had destroyed his original notes by then). The insights from a different era are interesting, especially in light of the later formation of Israel and the modernization of the original Palestine. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Jul 3, 2017 |
The first time I read this book was many, many years ago, but I never forgot it. I also watched the 1960’s movie—more than once on TV and once during a special screening in Brazil, after it had been restored; the desert scenes are absolutely gorgeous, breathtaking. Nevertheless, the movie took many liberties and left off many interesting parts of his campaigns. Lawrence’s book is very technical, has lots of details about his campaigns, so if you are not into war history, this is not the book for you; watch the movie instead. ( )
  MrsRK | Nov 21, 2016 |
Finally, finally got around to reading this book. I wanted to ever since I first saw the film almost 20 years ago. It is a remarkable story told in much detail - and in very beautiful language. I'm not much interested in the strategic details, but I found Lawrence's descriptions of his own thought processes and his personal journal enlightening and somewhat inspiring.
( )
  BrokenTune | Aug 21, 2016 |
Tonight I finished [Seven Pillars of Wisdom], a book I've started reading half a dozen times before without making it to the end. It's very long, and can be tedious at times, but then there will be a thrilling scene of setting explosives while the enemy is near or a painfully beautiful description of the desert.

Lawrence's account of the revolt in the desert should not be taken as the definitive--or even reliable--history of the conflict, but he never intended it to be. As he writes in the introductory chapter: "In these pages the history is not of the Arab movement, but of me in it. It is a narrative of daily life, mean happenings, little people. Here are no lessons for the world, no disclosures to shock peoples. It is filled with trivial things, partly that no one mistake for history the bones from which some day a man may make history, and partly for the pleasure it gave me to recall the fellowship of the revolt." It is the romanticized, deeply personal truth of one man.

Throughout the book, Lawrence comes off as a very complicated person: self-aggrandizing and self-deprecating; highly intelligent, but inexperienced; romantic, but often clear-sighted and cynical. By the end, I found myself even more fascinated by this quixotic figure who found himself torn between conflicting loyalties.

I shall leave off with one of my favorite passages:

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. (Chapter CXX) ( )
3 vote amanda4242 | Jul 2, 2016 |
The book that created the movie Lawrence of Arabia" that wonderful adventure story." ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
That is what the book is about, and it could only be reviewed authoritatively by a staff officer who knows the East. That is what the book is about, and Moby Dick was about catching a whale. For round this tent-pole of a military chronicle T.E. has hung an unexampled fabric of portraits, descriptions, philosophies, emotions, adventures, dreams.... He has also contributed to sociology, in recording what is probably the last of the picturesque wars. Camels, pennants, the blowing up of little railway trains...
added by KayCliff | editAbinger Harvest, E Forster (Oct 18, 2014)
 
The author himself had described Seven Pillars in these terms, in a letter to Charlotte Shaw in 1923:
... it's more a storehouse than a book - has no unity, is too discursive, dispersed, heterogeneous. I've shot into it, as a builder into his yard, all the odds and ends of ideas which came to me during those years ... (Lawrence, 2000: 33)
And he proved himself no indexer's friend in the matter of consistency. He wrote:
Arabic names won't go into English, exactly ... There are some 'scientific systems' of transliteration... I spell my names anyhow, to show what rot the systems are. (Lawrence, 1935: 19)
added by KayCliff | editThe Indexer, Hazel K. Bell (Aug 3, 2009)
 

» Add other authors (46 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
T. E. Lawrenceprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gatrell, AnthonyMapssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kennington, EricIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lawrence, A. W.Prefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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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Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Original language
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
Camel riding in the desert
can be fun whilst shooting
Turks left in the dirt
white skin and all looting
while blowing up little railway trains
(ironjaw)

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:06 -0400)

(see all 7 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

Legacy Library: T. E. Lawrence

T. E. Lawrence has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

See T. E. Lawrence's legacy profile.

See T. E. Lawrence's author page.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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