T E Lawrence

Michael Yardley, Author Scarborough House Publishers $19.95 (308p) ISBN 978-0-8128-3079-8
""T. E. Lawrence lies buried in a pyramid of half-truths,'' observes Yardley at the start of a crisp and interesting, albeit somewhat tentative, biography whose principal aim is to separate the media-created legend (initiated by Lowell Thomas) from the real man. With the aid of considerable new source material, Yardley, a British journalist, is able to confirm the opinion now generally received that Lawrence was not simply desert hero, neurotic show-off or cynical spy more interested in furthering British imperialism than the Arab cause, but a complex mix of all three. He illumines but does little to analyze Lawrence's tortuous psychological terrainhis obsession with his illegitimacy, death and his sexual defilement at the hands of the Turks; his lust for self-punishment (analysis of which was brilliantly undertaken by John Mack in A Prince of Our Disorderyet he guides us toward a clearer perception of how Lawrence's legend arose and how he sought, unsuccessfully, to escape it by changing his name and plunging into the ranks of the RAF. Photos. (March)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
Paperback - 267 pages - 978-0-8154-1054-6
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