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أعمدة الحكمة السبعة

"أعمدة الحكمة السبعة" ـ كان أول ظهور لهذه العبارة في الإنجيل ، في كتاب الأمثال ؛ وقد اقتبس المؤلف هذه التسمية لأنه كتب مسودة الكتاب أو نشر أجزاء منه في سبع مدن ، من بينها عمّان ، وجدّة ، ولندن ، ونيويورك . ولم يشأ المؤلف تيودور إدوارد لورنس ، الشهير بـ "لورنس العرب" ، نشر هذا الكتاب لأنه اعتبره "غير ناضج" ، وقام بكتابته على عدّة مراحل ، ولم يطبع كاملاً خلال حياته ، بل طيع"أعمدة الحكمة السبعة" ـ كان أول ظهور لهذه العبارة في الإنجيل ، في كتاب الأمثال ؛ وقد اقتبس المؤلف هذه التسمية لأنه كتب مسودة الكتاب أو نشر أجزاء منه في سبع مدن ، من بينها عمّان ، وجدّة ، ولندن ، ونيويورك . ولم يشأ المؤلف تيودور إدوارد لورنس ، الشهير بـ "لورنس العرب" ، نشر هذا الكتاب لأنه اعتبره "غير ناضج" ، وقام بكتابته على عدّة مراحل ، ولم يطبع كاملاً خلال حياته ، بل طيع بعد وفاته عام 1935 م .لقد قال لورنس بأن هذا الكتاب لا بمذكرات ولا يوميات ، وإنما هو عبارة عن تذكّرات . وأثير حوله العديد من الجدالات والانتقادات إلى حد الهجوم عليه في أحيان كثيرة من قبل العديد من الكتّاب والشخصيات والجهات المختلفة ، إلا أن الكتاب يمتاز بسرده لأحداث تاريخية في غاية الأهمية وقعت في بدايات القرن الماضي "العشرين" ، وتتعلق بمجملها بالثورة العربية الكبرى . كما أن يمتاز بوصفه العديد من الشخصيات التاريخية التي أثّرت في مسار حركة التاريخ في تلك الحقبة ، إضافة إلى وصفه المميز الدقيق والمسهب للمناطق الطبيعية في الجزيرة العربية وبلاد الشام ، وبخاصة للأماكن الأثرية والجغرافية المختلفة . ويعتبر هذا الكتاب واحداً من المؤلّفات المهمة التي لا غنى للقارئ عنها ....

Title : أعمدة الحكمة السبعة
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 8091968
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 796 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

أعمدة الحكمة السبعة Reviews

  • James
    2018-12-27 11:52

    "All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible."The source of the title of T. E. Lawrence's masterpiece is the book of Proverbs:"Wisdom hath builded a house: she hath hewn out her seven pillars." (Proverbs, 9:1)This quotation is used as an evocative phrase for the title of a book that Lawrence compared to Moby Dick and The Brothers Karamazov, and Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra. He considered these "titanic books" that were distinguished by "greatness of spirit". I would agree that his literary achievement at least approaches those levels and also demonstrates the bravado demonstrated by his comparison to them. His book was published in 1926 even though he wrote most of it about 1919 following his return from the desert. Reading this classic account of Lawrence's exploits is both exhilarating and informative. I was impressed by his depiction of Arab culture of the time and its seeming connection with past and present. The importance of tales told around the hearth as the heart of Arab culture seems to be similar to the culture encountered by Muhammad as he was growing up centuries earlier. Under the most arduous conditions, Lawrence found time for keen analysis: he applied that analysis to the differing forces that were interdependent within the Arab culture and did so with out betraying his loyalty to all or surrendering his loyalty to any. Further, Lawrence's keen ability to describe his surroundings and bring the events, of which he was often the center, alive is shown in almost every chapter. He is able, through the extensiveness of his narrative, to share both bristling detail and a sense of the intricacy of the events he portrays. He often takes time to share descriptions of the terrain and the weather which provide background for his continuing struggle. At the same time this detail provides as sense of both a documentary approach and also the drama of his escapades. The portraits of the Arab leaders from Abdulla and Auda to Feisel are fascinating in their detail and psychological insight. Lawrence, it seems, was born for this journey and fated to share it with us. T. E. Lawrence acted upon his dream 'with open eyes' and made it happen. In a book filled with deception he gives us a view into the world before the end of World War I changed everything. We see the various Arab factions and the deals made with the British. More importantly we are given insight into the men through Lawrence's eyes, his acute judgement, and his poetic narrative. He notes the keys to the Arab Revolt in the common language they shared and their heritage of the greatness that existed under the Caliphs going back to the six centuries following the death of Muhammad. We share in his pangs of conscience and his judgements of others and his own life and actions.He notes that "feeling and illusion were at war within me" and it reminded me of the birth of modernity with Faustian man. Also important are his comments on the British in the Middle East and the nature of the soldier in war. Reading this treatise was a moving experience as I gradually found support for my own subjunctive mood in this inspirational book.

  • Brent
    2018-12-29 17:05

    Well, I've been working on this one for a while. It is by turns majestic, tiresome, enigmatic, and written in the grand manner of the 19th Century. It is interesting to find the big moments of the film, "Lawrence of Arabia", almost made light of in his memoir. He seems to be vain about all the wrong things. I imagine he wasn't a very likable chap but you have to admit he did remarkable things, and I marvel at some of the writing here.

  • Rebecca
    2018-12-26 16:04

    I was deeply disappointed by this book, but it's possible that was my fault.Lawrence somehow manages to be self-deprecating and completely arrogant at the same time, in a way that's startlingly oblivious. (At one point, he compares his book to Gibbon's Rise and Fall. Umm, no.) I had hoped that by the end of the book, I would understand both the history of the Arab Revolt during World War I and Lawrence the man better. I'm not sure I actually understand either one better than when I started.One of the most frustrating problems that quickly emerges is that Lawrence completely assumes that the reader is intimately familiar with all details of the chronology of the war, all of the history of the region, all of the people involved. We're dropped right into the middle and never given the slightest orientation. If events happen off page, we're lucky to ever hear about them. Allenby is tossed off as if we are as familiar with him as we are with Churchill--we get no real description of him, we never even get a first name, and I don't think there's even a title attached at first. (He's the British general in charge of the entire theater, by the way. The only reason I know this is because I saw the movie. God knows, I wouldn't have figured it out until halfway through the book, otherwise.) Allenby's capture of Jerusalem, a major turning point in the war? Mentioned in the second half of a sentance. It's like this for everything. One can never tell how important a given event might be. Major battles Lawrence is in may get two pages. Major battles Lawrence was not in are lucky to be a passing reference. The capture of major intelligence is "we found letters of interest" (whose contents are never disclosed), the thwarting of a would-be spy is a nondescript paraphrased conversation. But a description of a completely random and meaningless feast? Four pages, in great detail. A very lame joke Lawrence once made? We get every detail, from the set-up, doubling back into the backstory of why it's funny, and then a detailed description of everyone's reaction. We find out that they've run out of supplies two chapters ago when there's finally an off-hand reference to the fact they've had no food for days. There's no way to actually understand the course of the war or any of the decisions made. There's no sense of tension, because it's never possible to evaluate stakes. It's just a never-ending round of meeting Arabs who will never be mentioned again and blowing up train tracks without a description of how it affects anything. The events of the book are as featureless as the desert itself.As for Lawrence himself, we hear a great deal of meaningless detail but very little of importance. I know all about his costume, but not why he chose that particular costume. I know about how one time, he lay down and when he woke up, there were lice that crawled out of his hair. But I have no idea of why he was in Arabia in the first place. I know about his very mixed feelings about the English using the Arabs, but I don't know how he got himself into the situation. There is one shockingly intimate chapter in which he is captured in Deraa, tortured, possibly raped (or "just" sexually assaulted, it's not entirely clear). At the end, he declares that the citadel of his integrity has been breached, but it's never really mentioned again. The combination of English reserve and the overall oblique style makes it difficult to see how such a life-shattering event affected him. We know all about external details. He gives tiny hints of interal torment here and there. But we never get enough information to really understand how his mind works, despite spending almost 700 pages in it.What we do know is that he likes flowery language. The writing is lyrical unto purple, with bits of elaborate racist theories thrown in for spice. It's beautiful, all right, but nearly opaque. Makes great cover, added to all that English reserve, so that you have to read paragraphs three times to actually figure out what the heck just happened.Not helping are some typographical choices that I don't know who to blame for. There's a certain inability to stick to spellings. Feisal is spelled Faysul at random sometimes, for example; Jidda is Jeddah, and so on. When there's a new person introduced every other page (and usually dropped two pages later), it makes it difficult to keep track. Also, while the chapters are not named but just numbered, the top of every page has its own name. These names, however, are vague enough as to be no help at all in understanding what's going on or in finding a certain section. Someone spent a great deal of time labelling every single page with things like "Hunger and Precaution", followed by "Messengers", or "Safely Away"/"Over the Plain"/"Hot Winds"/"Until Sunset". ("Until Sunset" is a paragraph and a half. Seriously. This was worth taking the time to give its own name?)The story is a fascinating one. It's a shame I didn't get to read it.

  • Richard
    2019-01-04 11:42

    Thomas Edward Lawrence's meticulously written account of his fascinating life during World War I is one of the literary treasures of the Twentieth Century. Lawrence had graduated with honors from Oxford University in 1910. He had a fascination with medieval history, and had traveled as a student to study Crusader castles in France and Syria the summer before his graduation. He worked professionally as an archaeologist in the Middle East until 1914, with extensive travel through the Ottoman Empire's possessions, including the current Jordan, Syria and Iraq. During early 1914, he was part of a geographical survey of the Negev Desert, which served as a cover for the British government in its attempts to gather intelligence on the terrain of this Ottoman-controlled area which would become important to military operations in the event of a war. When that war came, Lawrence was commissioned as an intelligence officer assigned to British army headquarters in Cairo. He would later function as the liaison officer working with the Arab irregulars and guerrillas fighting an internal insurgency against the Ottomans. The British plan was to funnel large amounts of money and munitions to the Arabs, letting them distract and weaken the key German ally, Turkey. Lawrence became a key advisor of Emir Faisal and a trusted subordinate of the British commander in the area, General Edmund Allenby. His years of fighting on behalf of the Arabs, wearing the desert robes while traveling everywhere on camelback, helped him identify intensely with the cause of Arab independence. He was involved with the guerilla operations against the Hejaz railway and, in 1917, was instrumental in the successful surprise attack against the strategic town of Aqaba. The culmination of his military exploits in the desert was his participation in the conquering of Damascus late in 1918, and the consequent installation of a provisional Arab government under Faisal.After the shooting stopped, Lawrence would become disillusioned over the knowledge that the cause of Arab independence had been undermined by the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement negotiated during the war to divide the Middle East under French-British influence.Many of Lawrence's exploits are chronicled in "Seven Pillars of Wisdom." However, the text available to most readers today is from revised editions of the original. Lawrence wrote a manuscript from his notes and his memory in 1919, reported to contain 250,000 words. The title is from the Book of Proverbs, and is also the name bestowed by Lawrence on a rock formation at Wadi Run (now located in Jordan) during the war. This first manuscript was the one that was lost in a railway car and never recovered. A second, longer, text was reconstructed from Lawrence's memory in 1920. During 1921, a third edition was published; this is referred to as the Oxford edition, and was printed in just eight copies. Later, in the mid-1920's, a subscribers' edition with a printing of 200 copies was released. Lawrence lost money on all of these editions. Finally, an abridged version was authorized by Lawrence to be printed for more general circulation; this edition was titled "Revolt in the Desert." Lawrence assigned the profits from this book, which became a best seller, and from his other writings to trusts which generously funded the RAF Benevolent Fund. His surviving brother A.W. Lawrence later (in the 1930's) sold the U.S. copyright to "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" to Doubleday Doran, of which this reviewed edition derives. As you can see, Lawrence's need for frugality and privacy trumped trying to get rich from his war adventures, even though he did feel strongly that the events occurring in Arabia at that time needed to be recorded. There was little chance for Lawrence to live in post-war obscurity, however, since media exposure from Lowell Thomas made him famous. Thomas was a war correspondent who traveled with Lawrence and Faisal. He took many photographs and even had a cameraman to film some of the action surrounding the battles with the Turks. After the war, Thomas became rich as the narrator of a slide show of the Arab revolt which toured the world; it was especially well received in London. He was shrewd enough to exploit Lawrence's dashing persona, going so far as to have additional photographs taken of Lawrence in his robes in London after the war in order to add to the visual appeal of the picture show, which was titled: "With Allenby in Palestine and Lawrence in Arabia."All of this unwanted attention, disillusionment, war-and-literary fatigue caused Lawrence to literally drop out of public view. By 1922, when he was still in the process of directing the printing of various editions of his memoir, he joined the Royal Air Force as an enlisted man. This former officer (I think he rose to the rank of Lt. Col. in the war) served humbly, if bizzarly, under the names of John Ross and T.F. Shaw; he also served for a time in the Royal Tank Corps, until the age of 35. He died at the age of 46 in a motorcycle accident. I had wanted to read "Seven Pillars ..." for some time, having read a biography of Lawrence when I was in high school. That book, by an author I don't recall, gave an interesting account of Lawrence's life, but referred to the literary beauty and authenticity inherent in Lawrence's own words. It would be interesting to be able to read through one of the exquisitely bound and illustrated early, rare editions of "Seven Pillars ..." , regardless of how many hundreds of thousands of words are contained therein, but a later, widely available abridged edition will have to suffice and, in the end, is very satisfying.

  • John Farebrother
    2019-01-05 15:05

    I've read this book twice now, and seen the film countless times. When a colleague once asked me which was my favourite war film, I didn't need to think about it for long.But as is usually the case, the book blows the film away. For detail of the inside story of the war in the East, description of life with the Arabs in the desert, and sheer adventure, it's unparalleled. It is also directly relevant to our day, for as TE Lawrence wrote:"We could see that a new factor was needed in the East […] No encouragement was given us by history to think that these qualities could be supplied ready-made from Europe. The efforts of the European Powers to keep a footing in the Asiatic Levant had been uniformly disastrous […] Our successor and solution must be local".A shame Tony Blair with his privileged education didn't read that passage. And as for Syria:“the Syrians had their de facto government, which endured for two years, without foreign advice, in an occupied country wasted by war, and against the will of important elements among the Allies”If people like TE Lawrence who know what they are talking about, were listened to, the Middle East wouldn't be in the mess it is now. But it's always the same in politics: the decision-makers are by definition those who are closest to the fount of all power, and furthest away from the real world.

  • زاهي رستم
    2018-12-29 12:11

    يتحدث الكتاب عن الثورة العربية ضد تركيا العثمانية، وأول ما يستغرب تسميتها بالثورة العربية.. فحتى قائدها هو لورنس وليس الشريف حسين.. وهو ما صرح به لورنس في كتابه أكثر من مرة مباشرةً أو مواربة، مثل قوله في الصفحة 187: "... خولني أن أصبح في أقل من ستة شهور رجل الثقة التامة في سوريا. مما حملني على أن أقسم بيني وبين نفسي على أن أجعل من الثورة العربية أداةً تعمل لغاية ذاتية، أكثر منها خادمة لجيشنا البريطاني، وأخذت عهداً بأن أقودها، بأي ثمن، إلى النصر عل الرغم من انتهازية الدول الكبرى...". وطبعاً لم تكن الثورة إلا أداة للآخرين.بل كان يعتبر نفسه أحياناً نبياً، حيث صرح في الصفحة 96:" كان على المستشارين أن يعلموا أن العرب إذا ما ركبوا متن عقيدة واسلموا زمام أمرهم إلى نبي مدجج بالسلاح وأوكلوا إليه توجيه جهودهم غير المحدودة فإن في استطاعة الأيدي الماهرة أن تصل بهم ليس إلى دمشق فحسب بل إلى القسطنطينية أيضاً".وفي الصفحة رقم 10 يصف لورنس مهمته مع العرب: "لقد انتدبت للعيش مع هؤلاء العرب كغريب عاجز عن مجاراتهم في التفكير والمعتقد، مجبراً على تدريبهم وتوجيههم في الاتجاه الذي يتفق مع مصالح بريطانيا المتحاربة مع عدوهم. وإذا كنت قد عجزت عن تفحص شخصيتهم، فقد نجحت على الأقل في إخفاء شخصيتي عنهم واستطعت أن أندمج كلياً في حياتهم دون احتجاج ولا انتقاد. وبما أنني كنت رفيقهم فلن أحاول اليوم وقد عدت إلى ارتداء الزي البريطاني الثناء عليهم أو الدفاع عنهم. بل سأحرص على أن أصور الأحداث كما عشتها". يعني بصريح العبارة ضحك عليهم..ومن الأمور التي استغربتها، وجود العبيد حتى ذلك الوقت عند العرب. وعدد الجيوش التي ساهمت في الثورة العربية (البريطاني بفرقه من الهنود، الفرنسي، والاسترالي، وكذلك الخيانات والتناحرات من الشريف حسين وجر. والأكثر غرابةً أن الدافع الأكبر للثورة كانت الغنائم والأسلاب وأعطيات الأنكليز..أنا بالأساس لست مغرماً بالثورات، وإذا أردنا تشريح ما حققته هذه الثورة من أهداف يمكنكم معرفة أسبابي. هدف الثورة العربية الأساس كان التخلص من دولة الخلافة العثمانية الظالمة والفاسدة. وتحقق هذا الهدف بالصدفة لأنه كان هدف بريطانيا ودول المحور. والتي حققت أهداف أكثر مما كان يحلم به الشريف حسين وابنه فيصل.. فتم تقسيم ما حرر حسب اتفاقية سايكس بيكو.. واستبدل الحكم العثماني بحكم فرنسي أو انكليزي حسب الاتفاقية.. وكإجرة لخدمات الإنكليزي دفع العرب ثمن ما قامو به من وهب فلسطين لليهود.. فهل كانت ثورة ناجحة؟؟!!

  • Hadrian
    2019-01-08 11:43

    In bare terms, this is an autobiographical account of a British liaison officer and his adventures leading an Arab rebellion against the Turks. But there is much more than that. An account by a philosopher-traveler-soldier about war and adventure and heroism and all that.It is a product of his time. And Lawrence does seem a bit patronizing about the Arabs and Turks. But in other times, he is astonishingly sensitive and well-attuned and insightful to their needs. How else could he have helped led a successful guerrilla campaign?A book which still shines and has much to teach. If only he was in charge of the post-war partitioning of the world.

  • Kelly
    2019-01-19 10:54

    I’m going to first off state something very confusing. I really loved this book. I love T.E. Lawrence, I think he’s an enigmatic, mysterious and overall heroic man... however, I didn't actually finish the book.If you aren’t quite sure of who this man is, simply think back to that amazing, award winning movie, “Lawrence of Arabia.” Lawrence’s main initiative in this book is to act as an intermediate between the rebel forces of Arabia and the English, who were organizing against the Ottoman Turk’s. More then anything, the book is about the unification of Saudi Arabia and the many conflicts which helped to achieve that end.Although this is generally thought of as an Autobiography, especially since it was written by T.E. Lawrence himself, I hesitate in naming it as such. There is a lot of controversy that surrounds Lawrence, and, while the word of the man himself should be the most accurate, there are general rumblings about whether many events have been embellished. So, this is, as Charles Hill has stated, “”a novel traveling under the cover of autobiography.” (Spoiler) The books extends from Lawrence’s first rumblings of revolt against the Turk’s. It’s very clear by his writing that Lawrence has absolutely no respect for the Turk’s, whom he views as culturally absent and reliant upon numbers, rather then strategy and wit. He frequently travels across the country, eventually uniting enough tribes to push the Turk’s from nearly every major post by sabotaging the huge Hejaz Railway that extends from the north to the south. The main drive of the book is to capture Damascus for the Arabs, which can only be achieved by the outstanding military ambition of Emir Faisal. Faisal is one of the major individuals of the war, whom acted as a united front against the Turk’s and a close fried to Lawrence himself. Unlike in the movie, there is almost no mention of Ali, who seems to be taken from Faisal’s character and modified to suit the audience’s favor. There is definitely a sense of hero worship from Lawrence to Faisal, which seems to felt mutually. The level of respect that the English have for the authority figures of the tribes is interesting and increases the general romance of the book.And here’s where I explain why exactly why I gave this a 3 out of 5. Even though I loved this book and all of the individuals within it, I found it so incredibly difficult to read. As an Australian girl, who is culturally naive and has only visited America and Canada, it was almost incomprehensible to understand exactly what was happening. There is just so many new words, technical terms and long names to remember that I only understood what I was reading by about 150 pages. It’s difficult to admit this but I haven’t actually finished it because it is probably one of the most difficult books I have ever read. And I’ve read a lot of books. Lawrence does have a very poetic style of writing and I think that without that, I wouldn’t have been able to make it past 50 pages. For example:"For years we lived anyhow with one another in the naked desert, under the indifferent heaven. By day the hot sun fermented us; and we were dizzied by the beating wind. At night we were stained by dew, and shamed into pettiness by the innumerable silences of stars. We were a self-centred army without parade or gesture, devoted to freedom, the second of man’s creeds, a purpose so ravenous that it devoured all our strength, a hope so transcendent that our earlier ambitions faded in its glare."As you can see by the quote above, Lawrence is immensely talented in his writing and there are scenes that literally make the heart ache with its beauty. However, those moments are often separated by lengthy explanations of who is who, where they are and what strategies they have planned. It is also interesting to note that Lawrence himself is a very unusual and complex person, who is described as being sexually ambiguous, effeminate and strategizing. He isn’t a typical hero, in any sense.So, for the romance of the book, of Lawrence and of the landscape, I give this book a 3. However, I can not award this book points for readability, consistency of ideas and the quality of the every chapter. I do know that one day I will come back to this book, it’s hard not to when you fall in love with Lawrence, but I don’t think, as a young girl, that I can fully appreciate this book at this stage in my life. However, if you understand what it is to follow complex storyline’s and are interested in the man itself, please do read this book. After all, this is a personal review, based on my own experiences with it.

  • Steve Birchmore
    2019-01-16 16:11

    This is the book that the film Lawrence of Arabia is loosely based upon. I say loosely, because after finishing the book I rented the film and watched it all the way through for the first time since I was a kid. It was only then that I realised that although the film is a magnificent piece of film-making, it is very inaccurate in places and often just simply wrong. T.E. Lawrence was much more extraordinary and his achievements and much more astonishing even than the amazing portrayal of him in the film. But, I suppose the difficulty of making a film of 'Lawrence of Arabia' is, how do you compress so much into so little time and how do you explain certain things simply and quickly. Hence the film seems to me now like a series of snapshots of events that did happen and some that didn't, but perhaps including the made up stuff to make the story on screen flows better.T.E. Lawrence was like Indiana Jones and James Bond and some SAS type hero all rolled into one. This archaeologist’s assistant was turned down by the Army for being too short. He was no soldier, but he read Clausewitz and all the other great military theorists, created his own war and applied all he learned to great effect. Nobody told him to capture the strategic port of Aqaba - that was his idea. He didn’t even inform his superiors. He enrolled the Arab tribesman in the project, rode across the desert and took it. And that was almost just the start!There are two books I was reminded of when going through Seven Pillars of Wisdom and they are 'My War Gone By, I Miss It So' by Anthony Lloyd and'The Lord of The Rings'.The first because I think this book is surprisingly personal or intimate for a book written shortly after WWI. I was at times actually quite shocked and disturbed by Lawrence’s thoughts and feelings. Not so much that he had them, but that a national hero, who turned down a knighthood and a Victoria Cross not to mention two Croix De Guerres, writing shortly after World War One, would share such things with the general public.It made me think ofLord Of The Ringsnot only because what Lawrence did in mostly just two short years is an absolutely epic tale, but because so much of it revolves around ancestor worshiping/respecting tribesmen with bizarre sounding names from bizarre sounding places. So a typical paragraph may be Lawrences meeting with Maahmoud, renowned desert warrior of the Abu-Orense, son of Ali, scourge of the Waddi-Odd, blood enemies of the Abu Tayi, and so on. Fortunately It’s all online and you can search the text to see where those particular names came up before and avoid your head spinning with confusion.I’m no judge of prose but it seems almost poetic at times. According to Michael Korda, author of‘Hero: The Life And Legend Of Lawrence Of Arabia’, Lawrence was a skilled writer and examination of his letters demonstrate he would very much alter his style depending on who he was writing to. Korda also describes Lawrence’s description in ‘Seven Pillars Of Wisdom’ of the attack on the train at Mudowwara as the very best of war writing. So much happens in just ten minutes and Lawrence’s style is perfect: the mine is detonated, the Turkish troops on the roofs machine gunned, some Turkish troops take shelter behind a bank and are hit with mortars, the train is looted, some Austrian officers and NCOs are taken prisoner, one of them pulls a pistol and they are massacred by the Arabs, Lawrence has time to reassure and old woman passenger and find her servant/slave, a badly wounded Arab, who Lawrence should have protected is left behind by mistake and Lawrence is distressed as he should have been killed as they cannot take him with them and the Turks will horribly kill the badly wounded, and so on. It makes me think of the helicopter attack scene in the filmApocalypse Nowin that a lot happens in short space of time, much of it is horrible, some of it is incongruous and some of it weird, and you are on the edge of your seat trying to imagine what that must have been like. I found the battle scenes compelling. A.P. Wavell (later Field Marshall Wavell) wrote of Lawrence’s description of the battle of Talifah, that it was“one of the best descriptions of a battle ever penned”.Aside from the battle scenes, many of the descriptions of the Arabs and their way of life are marvellous. It’s just a fantastic book, because its well written and fantastic story nearly every part of which could be independently verified - which is just astonishing. How many men have had such an adventure? Alexander the Great maybe? That’s the sort of League T.E. Lawrence ended up in.

  • Nicole
    2018-12-24 10:59

    That was hard to read (one star for that!). Lawrence describes every hill, tree and shrub, gives the name of every man he has met and depicts his clothes, the meal they shared and the jokes that were told. On top of that military theory, philosophy, ethics, and theology. Heavy stuff. What you also get: a better understanding for today's near and middle east conflicts, insight into the Arab soul, and a glimpse into the soul of a very complicated man. Five stars for this.

  • Louisa
    2019-01-01 18:47

    Since battles and warfare are not really my thing, I am amazed how much I enjoyed reading Seven Pillars of Wisdom. In this beautifully written memoir, Lawrence presents us with an honest account of his role in the Arab revolt, his hopes on making Damascus the capital of the Arabs, but also his doubts about the whole endeavor. I love how he blended in with the Arabs, learning their language and their customs, riding the camels in the Arab way, becoming one of them. That they loved him and accepted him as one of their own becomes clear in the final chapters leading up to the taking of Damascus, when the Arabs saw him negotiating with the English to get supplies and ammunition to prepare for the capture of the city:Never could I forget the radiant face of Nuri Said, after a joint conference, encountering a group of Arab officers with the cheerful words, 'Never mind, you fellows; he talks to the English just as he does to us!'The history is fascinating, and so are his descriptions of desert life, the sand storms and mirages, the annoying insects, the camels, and the oases. I found it beautifully written, well worth reading.

  • Annmarie
    2019-01-02 13:43

    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.

  • Alanpalmer
    2018-12-26 16:10

    We all know about the film even if we have not seen it, or at least seen the end of it. But this is the story written bythe man himself. It tells the story of one of the forgotton parts of the First world War. Less famous than the Somme, Gallipoli and Jutland this is the story of an assault on the underbelly of the Ottoman Empire, how a British Army Officer united a rag tag group of nomadic Arabs and formed a fighting unit. It is fairly low on action scenes but does describe effective use of explosives and sabbotage. It is much more focussed on the mindset of T.E Lawrence and his understanding of Arab culture and customs. He was a rebel, a maverik but he could organise lead and get results. This book is even more relevant today than when I read it over a decade ago and describes desert warfare in the early days of airpower and before the largescale use of armour when men fought men as they did in Flanders, and when leaders rode or marched with their troops and did not sit behind computers.although the historical accuracy has been questioned it remains primarily an adventure story and even if it is only based on facts rather than being a true account it remains a fantastic story with much to teach about the arab culture.

  • Brian Bethke
    2018-12-26 18:57

    This is an amazing account of Lawrence's experiences in Arabia during WWI, and one of my favorite books of all time. His vivid and tireless description of the Arabs, the war and the desert combined with an intimate view into his moral struggles provides an unparalled kathartic read. His exhausting description can seem to get monotonous at times but whether intentional or not this style "works" for writing about the desert. It is not a "quick" read, but dreamy and wondering, and laden with fascinating portraits of those who shaped the modern face of the Middle East. Simply put, the man was as brilliant as he was tragic.Interestingly enough Prince Feisal whom accompanies Lawrence in leading the Arab campaign against the Turks becomes the King of what would later become Iraq... This was how it all started, and a glimpse into what it was supposed to be about.

  • Maggie Emmett
    2019-01-07 10:48

    I first read Thomas Edward Lawrence's meticulous account of his fascinating life during World War I when I was 11 years of age. It had a profound effect on me. I think it is a literary treasures of the Twentieth Century. The title is from the Book of Proverbs. It was a name bestowed he used to name a rock formation at Wadi Run (now located in Jordan) during the war.Lawrence graduated with honors from Oxford University in 1910. He had a fascination with medieval history. He travelled,studied abnd wrote about the Crusader castles in France and Syria during the summer before he graduated.He worked as an archaeologist in the Middle East until 1914, travelled externsively through the Ottoman Empire, including places such as the modern Jordan, Syria and Iraq. In early 1914, he participated in a geographical survey of the Negev Desert, which was really an attempt by the British government to gather intelligence on the terrain for possible military operations in the event of a war.When the war came, Lawrence became a commissioned intelligence officer assigned to British army headquarters in Cairo. He worked as a liaison officer working with the Arab irregulars and guerrillas fighting an internal insurgency against the Ottomans. The British plan was to provide large amounts of money and munitions to the Arabs, letting them distract and weaken the key German ally, Turkey. Lawrence became a key advisor of Emir Faisal and a trusted subordinate of the British commander in the area, General Edmund Allenby. He spent years fighting on behalf of the Arabs, wearing the desert robes and traveling everywhere on camelback. He spoke arabic and he strongly identified with the Arab cause of independence. He was involved in planning and taking part in guerilla operations against the Hejaz railway. In 1917, he planned and helped organise the successful surprise attack on the Turkish held coastal town of enormous strategic importance, Aqaba. His military exploits in the desert culminated in his participation in the conquering of Damascus late in 1918, and the consequent installation of a provisional Arab government under Faisal.Lawrence quickly became disillusioned after learning that the cause of Arab independence had been undermined by the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement negotiated during the war to divide the Middle East under French-British influence.Seven Pillars of Wisdom tells the stories of Lawrence's exploits. Lawrence wrote a manuscript from his notes and his memory in 1919, reported to contain 250,000 words, so what most people read is a significantly abridged version. The first manuscript was supposedly lost in a railway car and never found. A second manuscript was reconstructed from Lawrence's memory in 1920. In 1921, a third edition was published; this is referred called the Oxford edition, though only eight copies were printed. In the mid-1920's, an abridged edition with a printing of 200 copies was released. Lawrence lost money on all of these editions. Finally, a version was authorized by Lawrence to be printed for more general circulation; this edition was titled Revolt in the Desert.Lawrence was a very private man and despite this amazing story to tell he didn't get rich from his war adventures He never stopped believing in Arab independence and he felt strongly that the events in Arabia had to be recorded - to show there were promises made to the Arabs , unkept in the WWI post war carve up.He could not live post war in obscurity thanks to the media exposure from Lowell Thomas.Thomas was a war correspondent who traveled with Lawrence and Faisal, taking photographs and even filming some of the military action of the battles with the Turks. After the war, it was Thomas who became rich narrating a slide show of the Arab revolt. He toured the world and was adored by Londoners. He was shrewd enough to exploit Lawrence's dashing persona, going so far as to have additional photographs taken of Lawrence in his robes in London after the war in order to add to the visual appeal of the picture show, which was titled: "With Allenby in Palestine and Lawrence in Arabia."Lawrence found this attention as unbearable as the disillusionment he felt with his own givernment and their treatment of the Arabs. After the war he was physically and psychologically exhausted, trying to write; so he literally dropped out of the public sphere. In 1922, he was still organising for the printing of various editions of his memoir, yet he joined the Royal Air Force as an enlisted man. This former Lt. Colonel in WWI enlisted somewhat bizzarly, under the names of John Ross and T.F. Shaw. Also, he also served in the Royal Tank Corps, until he reached the age of 35years. He died at 46 years old in a strange motorcycle accident. I think he was a homosexual who had to live a series of lies in a very hypocritical post war British Empire, which had served with honour. He felt betrayed. He undoubtedly enjoyed the relationships he was able to have in Arabia with young men and it must have been dreadful to return to all the constraints and limitations of his historical time in England.Yes I saw the movie, fell in love with Omar Sharif and Peter O'Toole - but it was the book and not the film that made him real for me. He was an obsessive, research focussed intelligent adventurer and idealist and he was my hero for many years.

  • Ron
    2019-01-14 18:48

    “Wisdom has built her house; she has set up its seven pillars.” (Proverbs 9:1)This eyewitness report of the Arab revolt against Turkish rule during World War One is exhaustive in scope and detail. Lawrence fills six hundred plus pages with details of who, what, where, why and even the weather. Much of it will only interest academics and students of war and rebellion. But hidden in all that dry, sandy strata are nuggets of wisdom about politics, war and irregular warfare in the middle east—some of it relevant today.“They were weak in natural resources … otherwise we should have had to pause evoking in the strategic center of the Middle East new national movements of such abounding vigor.”This is Lawrence’s second draft. The first and many of his notes were lost. I can’t imagine what was left out. At every turn, Lawrence lists the principle players (and often names their camels), the name of the topography, the weather conditions, the water quality at this waterhole (vital in the desert), and comments on the quality of shade and local vermin. Did I mention it was exhaustive?“In mass they were not formidable. The smaller unit the better its performance.”Lawrence’s style is archaic. Some sentences required several readings to glean the meaning. He extends “thanks to Mr. and Mrs. [George] Bernard Shaw for countless suggestions of great value and diversity: and all the present semicolons.” There are lots of semicolons. I recorded over seventy quotes for extra attention. A few frame this review, unfortunately out of context.“The Wahabis [sic], followers of a fanatical Moslem heresy, had imposed the strict rules [of the desert] on easy and civilized [town folks]. Everything forcibly pious or forcibly puritanical.”No one escapes Lawrence’s magnifying glass, including himself. Some characters fare better than others. He is honest, but not necessarily politically correct. He indulges in the racial, class and national stereotypes common to an educated Englishman of that day, but he is frank in his admiration for those who suffered most: the common soldiers.“We should use the smallest force in the quickest time at the farthest place.”His analysis of the development of irregular warfare echoes in the tactics used worldwide today. The text suffers from many uncorrected OCR transcription errors. Added to Lawrence’s penchant for details, the reader often finds himself adrift in a trackless desert.“I know the British do not want [Arabia], yet what can I say, when they took the Sudan, not wanting it? Perhaps one day will seem to them as precious.” Feisal bin Hussein

  • karl
    2019-01-20 13:48

    This classic autobiography of over 700 pages was written 90 years ago by Lawrence covering his 1916-18 WW-I campaign to help organize and use disparate Arab tribes as a supplementary weapon to the British against the Turks, who were aligned with the Germans. I enjoyed and hated the book. The enjoyment was, to put it simply, “I was exposed to and learned so much about so many things.” In fact, ½ way through the book I downloaded and watched the 1962 movie of Lawrence of Arabia (which for a movie is more less consistent with the book). Lawrence, an Oxford man, had spent nearly 10 years in Arabia by 1918 when he was 30, the Turks were in rout, the Arabs (arguably under Lawrence’s indirect and direct leadership) captured Damascus, and the bookends.The hate was how tedious it can be to handle the geographical places, tribal names, and key tribal leaders. The few maps in his book were hard to read. Sometimes he went on and on about the terrain. Sometimes sentences don’t make sense. After often just doing a Google search for a map or city or village I couldn’t find it – Lawrence’s translations often aren’t current usage. I found it best to read the book on my Kindle but have my laptop open with several bookmarks available to supplement my reading. Among them were:• ataea.net/Hejazmap1.html, which is about the Hejaz Railway that plays such a major part of the campaign• yagitani.jpn.cx/tel/sp0904_en.htm, which is like a dictionary showing variants of all the names and places in the book. • www.telstudies.org.uk, which is a web site about T.E. LawrenceYou will finish the book with a much broader understanding of WW-I than just trench warfare in France or the massacre at Gallipoli. You will have a better sense of geography - from learning is it only about 160 miles between Jerusalem and Damascus, let alone where is Jordan relative to Syria and Iraq. You will learn that towards the end of the war airplanes were very important for bombing and surveillance. You read how dirty and grubby, lice infested, and hungry Lawrence and the Arabs often were. Without doctors there is reference to having others piss on another’s gun shot wounds. There is no booze. There is homosexual behavior. Oh, and it is not until 1918 that there Lawrence has access to armored cars along with the camels. The tribes often hated each other. Lawrence got them to work together. He was a guerrilla warfare advocate who preferred to isolate and cut off the enemy rather than trample them, who blew up over 70 bridges, who did not like to fight personally, who slept little, and who weighed 7 stones (I looked it up, 98 pounds). I could go on and on, but I leave that to you!

  • Gayle
    2019-01-17 17:59

    I couldn't possibly "review" this book with anything that has not already been said in the past eighty or ninety years so I'll just mention what makes it awesome for me.Although I usually find detailed descriptions of settings and how characters appear on the outside boring and tend to skip over them a lot-think James Michener-T. E. Lawrence's descriptions of the places he went and characters that he met on his treks through the Middle East leave me wanting more. He states that he was a reluctant participant in the events of the Arab Revolt, but his enthusiasm in these descriptions tells another story. It was pretty to look at the neat, brown men in the sunlit sandy valley, with the turquoise pool of salt water in the midst to set off the crimson banners which two standard bearers carried in the sun. --T. E. LawrenceLawrence experienced much inner turmoil regarding the difference between the British/French and the Arabs of the true mission of the revolt, and the true character of the participants. Vickery...was satisfied, but I could not share his satisfaction. To me an unnecessary action, or shot, or casualty, was not only waste but sin. I was unable to take the professional view that all successful actions were gains. Our rebels were not materials, like soldiers, but friends of ours, trusting our leadership. We were not in command nationally, but by invitation; and our men were volunteers, individuals, local men, relatives, so that a death was a personal sorrow to many in the army. Even from the purely military point of view the assault seemed to me a blunder. --T. E. LawrenceT. E. Lawrence was himself a multifaceted and complicated man and nothing presents that fact more than his own writings.

  • Akiva
    2019-01-09 19:07

    This is an incredible book. It starts out slow and it is quite long. After about the first half I was convinced I should have just gone to see Lawrence of Arabia again instead.But from there it picks up. Not that the storytelling gets more gripping per se. Indeed, the whole thing is kind of choppy, in a "We did this and then we went here" sort of way. They spend a lot of time blowing up trains.But the strangeness of Lawrence's situation and what it is doing to him comes though clearer and clearer.He's becoming super bitter about having to be loyal to both the Arabs who are his friends and companions, and the British who are making all sorts of promises they have no particular intent to keep.So he's helping to lead and foment an Arab nationalist rebellion while simultaneously trying to advance the goals of the Empire. And it's not even a cause that has anything to do with him except that World War I is going on in the background and this is his part. By the time they're marching on Damascus he is completely done. Fortunately the war almost is too. It's nuts.And that's without even getting into the grueling weather, the sleepless nights, the getting shot at, the endless killing, and the time he gets violently raped by an enemy leader while captured in disguise!Throughout he is brutally honest about his mistakes, strategically and emotionally, things that got his men killed or lead to them committing massacres.And even after that, at the very end you have no idea what he's even doing in Arabia in the first place and then he says, my strongest motivation for my actions has been totally unmentioned in this book.Unbelievable.

  • Frederic
    2019-01-21 18:52

    I have little to no interest in military tactics and strategy and only a limited generalist's view of The Great War...no interest,at all,in the topography,Flora@Fauna,Beduin(SIC)Customs of the early 20th Century...and only a superficial curiosity about "Lawrence of Arabia" of whom I was aware only as the subject of the film which I had found to be pretty but empty and totally incoherent politically and psychologically...obviously a minority opinion...but this book made all these subjects totally compelling for me with it's sophisticated(though never too complex for the layman)military and political insights,it's multi-faceted portrait of a Land and Society(alien to the Mores of The West),and the vulnerable,brilliant,wounded,incredibly brave self-portrait in which Lawrence reveals himself to readers(though trying to maintain a Stiff-Upper-Lip Distance)as a real Hero...just having read Korda's biography, coloured,I'm sure,my bias toward Lawrence but I find ample testimony in this book to confirm the idea that he really was quite remarkable,as both a figure on the periphery of the World Stage and as a Man...

  • David
    2019-01-17 12:42

    I bought this book when I was in High School, having just seen the movie version of Lawrence of Arabia. As a first person account, Lawrence freely chronicles his successes and failures. He even makes fun of himself at times, such as his harrowing experience of having a camel shot out from under him as he was charging a routed Turkish force prior to the attack on Akaba. It is only after the battle, having survived the fall from his beast that he realizes he has shot the poor creature in the back of the head himself during the attack. He tells of his realization of how a smaller force can keep a much larger force in check became a successful campaign allowing the eventual capitulation of Turkish forces in the region.This book is a must read for anybody interested in the history of this region of the world. From Iraq to Yemen, Cairo to Damascus, the shape of politics and power in the region was decreed by European authority. Lawrence was one of the Europeans who participated and tried to influence the shape of the region following the Armistice. The reader won't consider WW-I in quite the same way after reading this book.

  • Chris
    2019-01-02 10:44

    5 stars for the awesome parts, 0 stars for the mind numbing parts.I really wanted to love this book. I just hard a hard time getting through it. He is so descriptive and it makes you want to strangle him sometimes. But his story is a cool one. I have been meaning to read it for years. It gets good at about page 87 and then is on and off. Reading the last 200 pages is a genuine Herculean task.

  • Louise
    2019-01-02 13:01

    Gave up at 3%. Too much vague waffle, not enough nitty gritty, or more precisely, none whatsoever.

  • Ben De Bono
    2019-01-03 13:49

    About halfway through David Lean's masterpiece, a British soldier yells at Lawrence across a canal, "Who are you?" It's a practical question in the context of the scene but anyone who's given the movie some thought will recognize it has much larger thematic implications. Lawrence of Arabia is fundamentally about exploring that issue. It's a question that Lean never answers or, perhaps more accurately, answers in a million different ways. No matter what you think about Lawrence, there's something in the movie to back you up and plenty of other things to challenge your conclusions. Anyone who comes to Lawrence autobiography expecting to find a clearer answer to that question is bound to come away disappointed. The only thing I'm sure of after reading the book is that Lawrence himself didn't know who he was. Some passages read as triumphant reverie while others are full of self-loathing. Just as in the movie he by turns comes across as messiah and madman, hero and traitor, genius and fraud. In my own opinion, I think Lawrence genuinely set out to do good and intentionally used (or misused) the Arabian proclivity to look to prophets to do right for both his country and the Arabs. He reach exceeded his grasp and I think that led him into deep depression and self-loathing (if the Deraa incident was invented, as some people claim, I think it was his way of expressing this turn in himself). I think he was gay - definitely closeted and possibly repressed - with at least somewhat of a masochistic streak. I think he was incredibly charismatic and absolutely a genius, though perhaps not in the way you'd assume. I think his genius was more in adaptability - in being able to absorb new cultures and experiences almost instantly to a level others would take years to achieve. Though, as I said, there's plenty from his life you could use to argue against those conclusions. The unanswerability of the question, "Who are you?", is a big part of what makes him such a fascinating figure

  • Ahmed Salim
    2019-01-11 13:45

    إن قصة الثورة العربية من أولها لآخرها ليست سوى قضية أو موت بالنسبة للعرب . أما نحن فقد تبنيناها حبا بأنفسنا أو على الأقل طمعا بكسب مستقبل ولم يكن فى مقدورنا تحاشى ذلك فيما نشعر ونحس به من دوافع ....وبين العرب كنت الصاحى المتشكك وكنت أحسدهم على إيمانهم الرخيص الثمن وبالرغم من أنهم كانوا مخدوعين فقد كانوا يحاربون العدو بكل جوارهم وكانوا بالتالى أكثر شجاعة وبساطة وحبورا من سائر البشرعلى أثر ذلك بدأ فكرى يحيك نسيجه فى مجاله الكثير الغبار بين شعاعات الافكار وجزئياتها المتراقصة وعندئذ رايت اننا لا نربح شيئا بشرف من رفع المجهول هكذا الى عرش الله بل على العكس يعنى ذلك اختيار كبش المحرقة والتغنى بسلام موهوم...إنه من البطولة ان يضحى المرء بنفسه من اجل سبب لا يمكننى الاعتقاد به ولكن ارسال الآخرين الى الموت بإخلاص من أجل صورتى المنحوته ليس سوى عمل لصوصى ..لقدصدق هؤلاء العرب رسالتنا وآمنوا بحقيقتها فارتضوا الموت لانفسهم فى سبيلها ...بالنسبة للانسان الغريزى كل أمر يتشارك فيه أكثر من واحد يصبح اهلا لأن تضحى النفس البشرية من أجله أما فى نظر الانسان العاقل فالحروب الوطنية لا تقل خداعا عن الحروب الدينيةفما من شئ يستحق فى هذا الوجود ان يموت الانسان من اجله والمعركة نفسها فى جوهرها لا تحتوى اى جزء م الفضيلة الجوهرية الاصلية وقد كانت الحياةدائما قضية خاصة لذلك ما من شئ فى الوجود يبرر تسلط انسان على اخر ....وافضل ورقة فى ايدى معارضى السياسة البريطانية كانت اتفاق سايكس بيكو الذى قضى بان تتقاسم انكلتره وفرنسا ورسيا تركة الرجل المريض تركيا وقد قرا بنوده السريه فى حفل عام دعى اليه فى بيروت وبذلك سبب الكثير من المتاعب ولو الى حين فى وجه بريطانيااللتين ارادتا اخفاء نواياهما الحقيقة بشان البلاد العربية عن العرب هذا ملخص لبعض احداث الكتاب والتى يتحدث عن الثورة العربية ودعم الانجليز والفرنسيين لها

  • Samy seddiq
    2019-01-02 16:45

    هذا كتاب إستثنائي لتاريخ منطقة الجزيرة العربية والتحولات الهائلة التي حدثت فى تلك الفترة بسبب قيام الثورة العربية والتى كانت بالتزامن مع الحرب العالمية الأولي ،، الكتاب هو سيرة ذاتية للطابط والمستشرق الأنجليزي توماس إدوارد لورنس والشهير ب لورانس العرب الكتاب يقدم مسانده الظابط للشريف فيصل وهو الملك فيصل الذي حكم العراق فيما بعد وابن الشريف حسين الهاشمي ملك وحاكم الحجاز حتي قيام ابن سعودبتأسيس ما يعرف الأن بالسعودية ،، ما يميز الكتاب هو انه ليس سرد للأحداث والمعارك التي حدثت فقط لكنه يقدم رؤية شديدة الأحترام للشخصية البدوية العربية وكيف يكفي ان (العربي حين يصدق بك ويؤمن برسالتك، سوف يتبعك إلى أقاصي الدنيا، ولو بذل في ذلك حياته.)كما انه الكتاب يحفل بصراعات نفسيه وحوارات فلسفية تدور داخل عقل وفكر لورانس العرب ،،،واخيراً يلاحظ ان المؤلف قدم وصفاً تفصيلياً شديد الروعة وشديد الدقة لكل المعالم الجغرافية والجيولوجية لشبة الجزيرة العربية كما لو انه عالم جيولوجيا وليس ظابط فقط . لورانس العرب هو شخصية صنعت اسطورتها بنفسها وبمدي التأثير الهائل الذي أحدثته فى حركة التاريخ .

  • A.j. Bealing
    2018-12-22 13:52

    I read Seven Pillars of Wisdom because I was going to Jordan. It was a tortuous read and I had to bribe myself to finish it. This is unfair on Lawrence so I should explain that I am a middle aged woman with zero interest in the strategies and tactics of warfare. Lawrence's elephantine ego infuriated me, but without that he would never have achieved what he did. I guess it's a question of horses for courses, and some courses demand the elephantine ego. Read it if you are interested in the minutiae of war. Challenge yourself to read it if you are visiting Jordan. Then take a look at http://theislandatelier.com/jordan-la... which is a short and light overview.

  • Laurent
    2019-01-19 18:10

    ZEVEN ZUILEN VAN WIJSHEID OF DE TRIOMF VAN EEN BLONDE ARABIEREen paar jaar terug verscheen Zeven zuilen van wijsheid (voor het eerst gepubliceerd in 1922 als Seven Pillars of Wisdom: a Triumph), de eerste Nederlandse vertaling van het monumentale boek van T.E. Lawrence, beter bekend als "Lawrence of Arabia", de held van de gelijknamige film van David Lean met een magistrale Peter O'Toole in de hoofdrol. Lawrence' passionele relaas van zijn belevenissen tijdens de Arabische Opstand van 1916 tot 1918, is in de Angelsaksische wereld tot op heden het meest verkochte boek over de Eerste Wereldoorlog. Zo was het een persoonlijke favoriet van grootheden als Winston Churchill, E.M. Forster en John F. Kennedy. Tegelijkertijd is Zeven zuilen van wijsheid brandend actueel. Wie deze cultklassieker vandaag leest, zal de problematiek in het Midden-Oosten vanuit een andere invalshoek bekijken. De oorlog in Irak en het streven naar onafhankelijkheid van de Palestijnen vinden namelijk hun oorsprong in de periode die Lawrence zo uitvoerig beschrijft. De inkijk die Lawrence zijn lezers geeft in de diplomatieke gebruiken en politieke opvattingen van de toenmalige Arabische volkeren is vaak zeer verhelderend en transponeerbaar op de huidige problematiek. De Brit Thomas Edward Lawrence (1888-1935) had nauwelijks militaire ervaring toen hij in 1916 als verbindingsofficier naar de Hedjaz, een onafhankelijk koninkrijk van 1916 tot 1924 in het westen van het huidige Saoedie-Arabië, werd gezonden. Lawrence, die Arabisch sprak en zijn hart verloren had aan de volkeren van het Midden-Oosten, was op vele vlakken de ideale link tussen de Britse regering en de vertegenwoordigers van de Arabische Opstand tegen het Ottomaanse rijk. Zijn taak om een leider onder de Arabische opstandelingen te zoeken en een alliantie aan te gaan met de Britten, omschrijft hij zelf als volgt: "Ik stelde me ten doel een nieuwe natie te vormen, een verdwenen invloed te herstellen, om twintig miljoen semieten de grondslagen te geven waarop ze uit hun nationaal gedachtegoed een geïnspireerd droompaleis konden optrekken" (p.29).Hoe was de politieke situatie op het moment van Lawrence' indiensttreding ? Tijdens de Eerste Wereldoorlog was het door de eeuwen heen verzwakte Ottomaanse Rijk nog steeds uitgestrekt en schaarde zich aan Duitse zijde. Het bevond zich tussen de Russen in het Noorden en Britten in het Oosten en Westen in. Na de beruchte nederlaag van de Dardanellen ― de Britse poging om de oostelijke grenzen van het rijk te doorbreken ― was alle hoop gevestigd op het Zuiden, te weten Arabië en omstreken, met zijn tientallen nomadische volksstammen. In die tijd ontstond er een nationalisme dat als belangrijkste doel had de Turken terug te drijven en een verenigd Arabisch koninkrijk op te richten. De Arabische Opstand was een guerilla-oorlog onder leiding van Abdullah en Feisal, de zonen van sharif Hussein, een gerespecteerde vorst die als directe afstammeling gold van de profeet Mohammed en de opzichter was van de twee heilige plaatsen Mekka en Medina. Hussein ging in 1915 een alliantie aan met de Britten, om de Turken uit de Hedjaz te verdrijven, noordwaarts op te rukken en zo Egypte en Palestina van het Ottomaanse juk te bevrijden. De Britten zouden Hussein belonen door van dit hele bevrijde gebied één groot verenigd Arabisch koninkrijk te maken, met Hussein op de troon en Damascus als hoofdstad. Maar die beloftes werden nooit ingelost. Dit is meteen het grote dilemma dat doorheen Lawrence' boek waart: "Het kabinet bracht de Arabieren op de been om voor ons te vechten met de ondubbelzinnige belofte van naoorlogs zelfbestuur (…) Het was van meet af aan duidelijk dat als wij de oorlog wonnen deze belofte een dode letter zou zijn, en als ik een eerlijk adviseur van de Arabieren was geweest, zou ik ze hebben aangeraden naar huis te gaan en niet in de strijd voor zoiets hun leven te wagen (…) wel is duidelijk dat mij geen schijn van recht toekwam om de Arabieren buiten hun medeweten in zo’n gok te betrekken (…) en dat we beter konden zegevieren en ons woord breken dan verliezen." (p.30-31). Lawrence speelde dus een dubbelrol: van aan de start van zijn grote avontuur hield hij zijn Arabische kameraden moedwillig een leugen voor, maar toch probeerde hij tot het einde toe de Britse en Arabische belangen te verzoenen, gedreven door zijn onvoorwaardelijke liefde voor de Arabische cultuur. Die verscheurende gewetenskwestie is de rode draad doorheen Zeven zuilen van wijsheid en maakt er een onverbloemd spijtschrift van. Het heeft soms wat weg van schrijven als therapie, en na de zoveelste evocatie van schuldbesef en puriteins zelfonderzoek, moet je als lezer vaker dan gewenst even doorbijten. Deze vertwijfeling maakt van Lawrence' pleidooi voor de Arabische onafhankelijkheid een halfslachtige bedoening, want wat moet je als lezer die weet wat hij weet nog geloven van de vele, vaak prachtig beschreven loftuitingen op de Arabische wereld en zijn gewoontes ? De grote troef van dit boek is ongetwijfeld de grote spanwijdte, het literaire bereik. Zeven zuilen van wijsheid is meer dan een avonturenroman en meer dan een zoveelste boek in de traditie van de negentiende-eeuwse Angelsaksische woestijnliteratuur, met als belangrijkste vertegenwoordigers Charles Doughty, Richard Burton, Wilfrid Blunt en Benjamin Disraeli. Lawrence getuigt breedvoerig – soms zelfs té - van zijn zeer uitgebreide kennis van de fauna en de flora, de geografie, de stammen en de gewoonten van de woestijn, maar wat vanaf de eerste bladzijden meteen opvalt is dat Lawrence een geboren verteller én een groot stilist is, die de aandacht van zijn lezers weet te grijpen en vast te houden. Het is een boek dat je niet makkelijk naast je neerlegt. Zijn beschrijvingen van de woestijnlandschappen zijn bijzonder meeslepend en getuigen stuk voor stuk van zijn passievolle liefde voor de woestijn en zijn bewoners. De literaire kracht waarmee hij de verschillende aanslagen uiteenzet, de zeer tot de verbeelding sprekende en plastische schetsen van de diverse stamhoofden die hij interpelleert, of de kennis die hij tentoonspreidt over de gebruiken van de verschillende volkeren, maken de lectuur van dit boek tot een uitzonderlijke ervaring. Lawrence wilde oorspronkelijk schrijven over de zeven grote steden in het Midden-Oosten (Cairo, Smyrna, Constantinopel, Beiroet, Aleppo, Damascus en Mekka), maar besloot uiteindelijk een autobiografisch verslag te maken van zijn oorlogsherinneringen. Dat Lawrence aanvankelijk een fictiewerk wilde schrijven, verklaart indirect misschien ook waarom hij zo vaak een loopje met de waarheid neemt. Maar de voornaamste reden voor de vele historische onjuistheden is ongetwijfeld dat hij het oorspronkelijke manuscript, inclusief zijn aantekeningen, kwijt speelde en een tweede en zelfs derde versie uit het hoofd probeerde te reconstrueren. Sinds het ter beschikking komen van de relevante archieven is het bewezen dat Lawrence niet altijd de waarheid heeft geschreven of juist heeft verzwegen, en dat we zijn bijdrage aan de hele opstand, en bij uitbreiding zijn hele kroniek met een grote emmer zout moeten nemen. Lawrence is trouwens de eerste om de historische twijfelachtigheid van zijn verslag op de korrel te nemen: "Ik streed mijn eigen strijd, op mijn eigen stort. Zie het (i.e. Zeven zuilen van wijsheid, nvdr.) als een persoonlijke, uit het hoofd in elkaar gedraaide geschiedenis" (p.7). Het is meteen een van de grote verwijten die het boek te verduren heeft gekregen: het megalomane ophemelen van zijn bijdrage, het aandikken van de eigen leiderschapsrol, etc... We mogen echter niet uit het oog verliezen dat Lawrence al bij leven een legende was. Een legende die Lawrence zelf in de hand werkte, naar eigen zeggen om de Arabische zaak vooruit te helpen. Lawrence had zich bewust laten hypen door de Amerikaanse oorlogscorrespondent Lowell Thomas, voor wiens camera hij uitgebreid poseerde. De filmvoorstellingen die Thomas achteraf in Londen organiseerde waren bijzonder populaire spektakels, compleet met buikdanseressen en wierook. De mythe van de blonde, blauwogige Arabier was geboren. Wie het boek leest als een historisch verslag komt dus bedrogen uit; wie het leest als een literaire interpretatie van een zeer bewogen periode zal op vele vlakken beloond worden. Vertaler Commandeur verdient dan ook alle lof voor de manier waarop hij Lawrence' nu eens bombastische en verheven, dan weer zakelijk en ingetogen taalgebruik, heeft weten over te zetten naar een Nederlands dat het midden houdt tussen de toon van een historisch verslag en een grootse avonturenroman. Jammer dat het volledig overbodige en veel te dweperige nawoord van Guus Kuijer een smet werpt op een voor de rest onberispelijke uitgave van een wereldberoemde klassieker, die eindelijk ook zijn intrede maakt in het Nederlandse taalgebied. De ietwat onbescheiden ondertitel van Lawrence' boek is 'een triomf' en hoe je het ook draait of keert, dat is het boek zeer zeker, in meer dan één opzicht. - Laurent De MaertelaerZeven zuilen van wijsheid - T.E. Lawrence - vertaald en toegelicht door Sjaak Commandeur, met een nawoord door Guus Kuijer; ISBN: 9789025366940; Uitgever: Athenaeum-Polak & Van Gennep; Gebonden, 821 pagina's; Prijs: €44,95

  • Campbell
    2019-01-09 15:02

    I read this longer ago than I care to remember and still it burns within me. It's an incredible book written by an enigmatically fascinating man. The opening paragraph (which I leave you to google at your leisure) is one of my favourites in all of literature, of any genre. I urge everyone, anyone, to read it.

  • Julie Bozza
    2018-12-31 15:11

    Wow. This book just delighted and astonished me, and I am so very glad that I finally gave it a try. I have been putting it off for decades; I suppose it seemed so formidable in size, and about a place and a people with whom I wasn't familiar. I should have trusted my sister's good taste and enthusiasm ages ago. First and foremost, I fell in love with Lawrence's writing - and this was a man who feared he had no skill at writing. But his prose is clear and straightforward, deceptively simple - the classic style that I love and try to wield myself - with the occasional deft choice of unexpected words. One doesn't need anything more or less than 'sibilance' to describe the shells or bullets passing overhead, nor 'remnant' to describe the few poor survivors of a wrecked village. This simple and apt use of language evokes the awesome and varied country through which Lawrence moves. He obviously loved the land a great deal, and I was stirred with longing by his descriptions of its beauty. If only he hadn't also clearly evoked the trials and tribulations of travel through such heat and such cold, the accompanying insects, and the occasionally distasteful wells! Part of me desperately wants to visit the astonishing Wadi Rum myself now, but mostly I'm content to remain an armchair traveller. Lawrence obviously loves the Arab people as well, though his clear eyes and clear prose do not cast a veil over their less comfortable attributes, either generally or individually. He is equally clear-eyed about his own countrymen, his other allies, and their enemies. I loved his description of the Australian soldiers as being all long curves, with nary a straight line between them. Lawrence is unfailingly enthusiastic in his chosen cause of Arab independence, except where tiredness or injury takes its toll on him. Throughout his prose never falters in its clear descriptions, whether of the qualities of inspiring leaders such as Feisal and Allenby, of the reverential feelings inspired by the landscape, or of his own violation at the hands of Turks in Deraa. All are described in detail, and when Lawrence has reason to be tactful or to not name names, he says as much. His dry sense of humour and wry tones often had me laughing out loud. I can never fully love a book without comic touches, but there's no fear of the lack here. There were a couple of very high-level philosophical chapters towards the end that passed me by, but perhaps the meaning will be there for me on a return visit. I should add that the long tale is broken down into easily digestible chapters, and so I never felt wearied. And otherwise I loved that the whole story begins right at the start of Lawrence's Arab campaign, with no backstory for Lawrence himself other than an occasional mention of studies at Oxford - and it ends with his (requested) dismissal from the campaign once it had succeeded, and the immediate pang of regret that causes. While Lawrence himself presents the story as being inescapably from his own perspective, he certainly doesn't introduce anything extraneous to the story of the two-year campaign. An absolutely marvellous tale, highly recommended if you're at all interested in the Arab peoples or country, in Lawrence, or in the Great War.