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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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.”
The Diary Kept by T. E. Lawrence While Travelling in Arabia During 1911
by T.E. Lawrence
The title says it all.
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.
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.
Lawrence of Arabia
by Sir Basil Liddell Hart
Hart’s long out-of-print biography unravels the many puzzling features of Lawrence’s story.
Lawrence of Arabia - The Battle for the Arab World (2003)
An exploration into the man behind the myth, from both Western and Arab perspectives.
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.
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.
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
Lowell Thomas and Lawrence of Arabia
Making a Legend, Creating History
T. E. Lawrence
T. E. Lawrence