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“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 their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.”
T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)
Soldier and Author, 1888 - 1935

Thomas Edward (T.E.) Lawrence was born on August 16, 1888 at Tremadoc in North Wales. He was the second of five sons of Sir Thomas Chapman and Sarah Junner. Popularly known as Lawrence of Arabia, Lawrence became famous for his exploits as British Military liaison to the Arab Revolt during the First World War.

Lawrence had been fascinated by archaeology since childhood. After graduating with honors from Oxford in 1910, he served as an assistant at a British Museum excavation in Iraq (then known as Mesopotamia). It was in Mesopotamia that Lawrence first met British writer, archaeologist and political officer, Gertrude Bell, working with her on the British excavation of the Hittite city of Carchemish. He and Bell would work together many times over the years.

When war broke out with Germany in 1914, Lawrence spent a brief period in the Geographical Section of the General Staff in London, and was then posted to the Military Intelligence Department in Cairo. In 1916, the Arabs rebelled against the Turkish empire. Lawrence was sent to Mecca on a fact-finding mission, ultimately becoming the British liaison officer to the Arabs. His account of the revolt is chronicled in his classic books, “Seven Pillars of Wisdom, A Triumph” and “Revolt in the Desert.”

After the war, Lawrence served in the British Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference, where he promoted the cause of Arab independence. Despite his efforts Syria, Palestine and Iraq were mandated to France and Britain. Lawrence returned to England exhausted and disappointed. By the end of 1920, British attempts to impose a colonial rule in Iraq had provoked an open rebellion. Winston Churchill was appointed by the British Colonial Office to find a solution, and persuaded Lawrence to join him as adviser. By the summer of 1922 Churchill, with considerable aid from Lawrence, had achieved a settlement of the situation.

In 1922 Lawrence resigned his position with the Colonial Office and enlisted in the RAF under an assumed name. After four months he was discovered by the press and discharged. With the help of a highly-placed friends he re-enlisted in the Tank Corps as Thomas Edward Shaw. Between 1922 and early 1927 Lawrence revised “Seven Pillars” for publication, and edited an abridgement of the “Revolt in the Desert.” Half way through this work he succeeded in transferring back to the RAF.

In March 1935 his twelve-year enlistment came to an end and he retired to “Clouds Hill” (the name of his cottage) in Dorset, England. Two months later he was thrown from his motorcycle while on a local errand. He suffered severe head injuries and died some days later without regaining consciousness.

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Resource Menu
Books By/About Lawrence

Seven Pillars of Wisdom Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph
by T.E. Lawrence

A monumental work that assured T.E. Lawrence’s place in history as “Lawrence of Arabia.” A consummate military history, a colorful epic, and a lyrical exploration of the mind of a great man who helped shape the Middle East as it exists today. Line drawings throughout. Click here for the Lucidcafe Review of “Seven Pillars.”

Purchase this hardcover edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdom

The Diary Kept by T. E. Lawrence The Diary Kept by T. E. Lawrence While Travelling in Arabia During 1911
by T.E. Lawrence

The title says it all.

Purchase this hardcover edition of The Diary Kept by T. E. Lawrence

A Prince of Our Disorder A Prince of Our Disorder: The Life of T. E. Lawrence
by John E. Mack

This Pulitzer Prize-winning biography explores the relationship between Lawrence’s inner life and his historically significant actions. Mack examines the pertinent history, politics, and sociology of the time in order to weigh the real forces with which Lawrence contended and which impinged upon him. Extensive interviews, far-flung correspondence, access to War Office dispatches and unpublished letters provide the basis for penetrating biography.

Purchase this hardcover edition of A Prince of Our Disorder

T.E. Lawrence in War and Peace T.E. Lawrence in War and Peace: An Anthology of the Military Writings of Lawrence of Arabia
by Malcolm Brown

Despite being written more than seventy years ago, the thoughts of T.E. Lawrence remain remarkably pertinent given the current situation in the Middle East. This collection includes Lawrence's wartime reports from the desert, along with later writings in which he attempts to cope with the consequences of war in the circumstances of peace.

Purchase this hardcover edition of T.E. Lawrence in War and Peace

Lawrence of Arabia Lawrence of Arabia
by Sir Basil Liddell Hart

Hart’s long out-of-print biography unravels the many puzzling features of Lawrence’s story.

Purchase this paperback edition of Lawrence of Arabia

DVDs About T.E. Lawrence

The Battle for the Arab World Lawrence of Arabia - The Battle for the Arab World (2003)

An exploration into the man behind the myth, from both Western and Arab perspectives.

Purchase this DVD edition of The Battle for the Arab World

Lawrence of Arabia Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

David Lean directs and Peter O’Toole stars as Lawrence in one of cinema history’s greatest epics. This is truly a fabulous film, especially the 1989 reissue version that restores many of the cuts made over the years.

Purchase this DVD edition of Lawrence of Arabia

A Dangerous Man A Dangerous Man (1991)

This film picks up Lawrence’s story after the war as he tries to help the king of the Syrian gain Arab independence at the 1919 Conference of Peace in Paris. The film shows Lawrence in a phase of reflection and politics, defending the Arabs against the pretensions of England and France.

Purchase this hardcover edition of A Dangerous Man

Lawrence eTexts

T.E. Lawrence Papers
Catalogue of the papers of T.E. Lawrence and A.W. Lawrence c.1894-1985

A Report on Mesopotamia
By T.E. Lawrence, The Sunday Times, 22 August 1920

The 27 Articles of T.E. Lawrence
Lawrence on dealing with Arabs, from The Arab Bulletin, 20 August 1917

Related Websites

T. E. Lawrence Studies Homepage

Lowell Thomas and Lawrence of Arabia
Making a Legend, Creating History

T. E. Lawrence

T. E. Lawrence

The T. E. Lawrence Society

John Dziadecki’s Lawrence Page

An Internet History of The Great War

Lawrence of Arabia

Other Authors in the Lucidcafé Library

Other Military Figures in the Lucidcafé Library

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