Read: Hero, The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia

This was a BEAST of a book. I mean a real beast and in the best possible use of that word. Over forty pages of notes, more than any book I’ve read. And I could have created many more. If you are insecure, do NOT read this book. I repeat, do NOT read this book.

I burn through most books in a few days, tops. This book took a month of dedicated time. Dense but so filled with interesting data that it never felt like a chore.

Where do I begin with Lawrence? “Hero, The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia” by Michael Korda will forever remain on my top list. Let’s say you don’t give two s%$# about T.E. Lawrence. Okay, got it. This book is a history lesson, a photography lesson, a mapmaking lesson, a political lesson, an aviation lesson, and a lesson on many other things. I told you, I’m a dumbass. So just the detail about the unfoldings of WWI was enough for me to read this book. Especially from a non-American perspective.

We aren’t making people like Lawrence now. We aren’t. We are mostly a shallow body of water now. Lawrence was as deep, complicated and conflicted as the Pacific. There are over one hundred books about him. Not to mention films, docs, plays, etc. He is both revered and reviled.

My advice is to BUY this book. Get the hardcover. Get it, pass it around but write your name in it and make sure you hand it over ONLY with the threat of death if not returned.

12 Comments on “Read: Hero, The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia”

  1. “For him that steals, or borrows and returns not, a book from its owner, let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him. Let him be struck with palsy, and all his members blasted. Let him languish in pain crying aloud for mercy, and let there be no surcease to his agony till he sing in dissolution. Let bookworms gnaw at his entrails in token of the Worm that dieth not. And when at last he goes to his final punishment, let the flames of Hell consume him for ever.”

    an inscription at the library of the San Pedro monastery in Barcelona

  2. Thanks for the recommendation! I downloaded the sample on my Kindle a year ago as a reminder, but never did even read the sample. Reading it sounds like a solid Covid-19 lockdown exercise. I’ll take your advice and order the hardback.

  3. Thanks for recommending another good book, and mentioning taking notes.

    Been fascinated by him since my Mom took us to see Lawrence of Arabia at the movie theater back in 1962.

    “The printing press is the greatest weapon in the armoury of the modern commander.” – T. E. Lawrence

  4. A few years ago I got about a third of the way through Seven Pillars and gave up. Maybe it’s time to try again. I haven’t watched the film in over 20 years but I loved it. It’s partly responsible for all the travelling I did afterwards.

  5. Thank you for your recommendation! I got my copy in the mail today, and at 699 pages, it’s definitely a longford kinda deal. Please excuse the geekery, but what’s your process for note taking on books? Do you use the same journal as, uh, your journal, or do you have a dedicated notebook for your reading? Also — do you take notes as you go along, or do you wait until the end of a chapter or even the end of the book and go back through it? (I’ve taken notes on books on and off, so I’m very curious about how you go about it.) Again, thanks for the reminder about The Seven Pillars of Wisdom (think my copy’s still here) and for the lead on this biography.

    1. Hey Tim,
      I actually use Notability on my iPad Pro. It’s awesome. And then the notes are with me all the time and can be accessed no matter where I am. It works wonderfully.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *