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Lawrence of Arabia (Hardback)

Colonel T.E Lawrence CB, DSO – Places and Objects of Interest

Military > Frontline Books WWI

By Paul Kendall
Frontline Books
Pages: 256
Illustrations: 150 mono integrated
ISBN: 9781399071918
Published: 4th April 2024



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A twentieth century icon, Lawrence of Arabia, as Thomas Edward Lawrence is more commonly known, spent thirteen out of his forty-six years in the region from which he drew his name. This was as a scholar researching his university thesis, a spy surveying Sinai for the British Army before the First World War, an intelligence officer in Cairo, a liaison officer to the Arabs, and as a diplomat who galvanised and united the Arab tribes into an effective fighting force. He became an explosives expert and a guerrilla fighter who influenced Arab leaders in defeating their Ottoman occupiers.

The story of his achievements in Arabia, derailing Turkish trains and attacking enemy strongholds, has become the stuff of legend. But his life after the disappointment of witnessing the Arabs being denied independence at the end of the First World War is as intriguing as his more famous escapades in the desert.

Uncomfortable with the fame and celebrity status that Lowell Thomas’s lectures brought upon him, after a brief tenure as a civil servant working for Winston Churchill in an attempt to address the failure of achieving Arab independence at the Cairo Conference, Lawrence, the former Lieutenant-Colonel, remarkably sought a life in obscurity. In the years after the war, for example, he served in the Royal Air Force as an aircraftsman and spent a brief period as a private in the Royal Tank Corps under the alias John Hume Ross or Thomas Edward Shaw. He became a competent marine motor mechanic, and was personally involved in the development of the fast RAF 200 Seaplane tender and an armoured target boat. He also became a renowned author and could claim literary giants such as Thomas Hardy, E.M. Forster and George Bernhard Shaw as his friends.

In this highly illustrated book, the story of Lawrence’s fascinating life is explored through many of the places and objects associated with him, from his birthplace in Wales through to his grave at Moreton in Dorset. Lawrence of Arabia features his places of education in Oxford, sites where he served as a British Army intelligence officer in Cairo, as liaison officer and adviser to the Arabs, even where he fought alongside his Arab brothers against the Ottomans.

It also follows his life in the years after Arabia. Some of the fascinating locations Paul Kendall visits include RAF stations at Calshot and Bridlington, or the Tank Depot at Bovington Camp where he served in the ranks, his cottage at Clouds Hill and the homes of his famous friends that he frequently visited. The objects examined include Arab robes that he wore, his Khanjar, his service rifle, and even the Brough motorcycle which he enjoyed and valued.

This book is not just a journey across Arabia, Britain and Europe, but also a journey back in time through objects and locations into the life of one of Britain’s most enigmatic and celebrated individuals.

Review as featured in

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From desert hero to RAF cadet: Lawrence of Arabia’s Lincolnshire chapter

My Local Lincolnshire

Article: 'In Search of Lawrence of Arabia in London'

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Aspects of History

Article and competition as featured in

RAF News

Article: New book details Lawrence of Arabia's life in Dorset through objects

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Dorset Echo

About Paul Kendall

Educated at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, where he also served as an Honorary Midshipman with the University of London Royal Naval Unit, PAUL KENDALL is a military historian and author from Kent specialising in the First World War.

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