Setting the Desert on Fire: T. E. Lawrence and Britain's Secret War in Arabia, 1916-1918
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Setting the Desert on Fire: T. E. Lawrence and Britain's Secret War in Arabia, 1916-1918

4.3 11
by James Barr
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0393060403

ISBN-13: 9780393060409

Pub. Date: 02/18/2008

Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

Greed and intrigue combine explosively in this gripping tale of how the mercurial Lawrence of Arabia changed the Middle East forever.
It was T. E. Lawrence’s classic Seven Pillars of Wisdom that made the Arab Revolt a legend and helped turn the British intelligence officer into the mythical “Lawrence of Arabia.” But the intrigue behind the

Overview

Greed and intrigue combine explosively in this gripping tale of how the mercurial Lawrence of Arabia changed the Middle East forever.
It was T. E. Lawrence’s classic Seven Pillars of Wisdom that made the Arab Revolt a legend and helped turn the British intelligence officer into the mythical “Lawrence of Arabia.” But the intrigue behind the revolt and its startling consequences for the present-day Middle East have remained a mystery for nearly one hundred years. James Barr spent four years trawling declassified archives in Europe and crossing the hostile deserts of the Middle East to re-create the revolt as the international drama it really was. A colorful cast of Arab sheiks, British and French soldiers, spies, and diplomats come together in this gripping narrative of political maneuvering, guerrilla warfare, and imperial greed. Setting the Desert on Fire is a masterly account of a key moment in the history of the Middle East, and a portrait of Lawrence himself that is bright, nuanced, and full of fresh insights into the true nature of the master mythmaker.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393060409
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
02/18/2008
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
1,047,583
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

Key Figures in This Book     vii
Maps     xi
A Note on the Text     xv
Prologue     1
A Clear-Thinking Hatchet Man     9
Will This Do?     21
The Uprising Starts and Stutters     34
The Blame Game Begins     43
The French Arrive     55
This Was the Man     62
Crisis over Rabigh     74
Turning Point     86
Wajh     97
The First Railway Raids     107
Differences over Tactics     124
Fighting for Us on a Lie     135
Stalemate in the Hijaz     146
Triumph at Aqaba     153
The Impact of Aqaba     160
Impolitic Truths     168
Difficult Times     180
Gaza and Yarmuk: Victory and Failure     189
Dara or Azrak: Where Was Lawrence? (15-21 November 1917)     201
The Balfour Declaration and Its Aftermath     207
Fighting De Luxe     219
New Conditions     229
A Complete Muck-Up     241
Preparing for the Push     252
Holding Operations     262
The Dara Raid     273
TheRoad to Damascus     287
A House with No Door     298
Epilogue     314
Notes     324
Bibliography     355
Acknowledgments     363
Permissions     365
Photograph Credits     367
Index     369

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Setting the Desert on Fire: T.E. Lawrence and Britain's Secret War in Arabia, 1916-1918 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Setting the desert on fire is a historical account of British Army missions in the Middle East during the First World War. However, its impact is a great deal more wide ranging than that sounds. Given the current delicate situation in this part of the world, this book takes the reader on a fascinating journey to the heart of the region, and certainly helped me to place some of our current follies in context. At the heart of this book is T.E. Lawrence 'Lawrence of Arabia', and his extraordinarily daring, brave and probably short sighted actions. There seems to be tendency these days to dismiss the Legend of Lawrence 'partly created by his own writings', but Mr. Barr¿s assessment of his involvements take an intelligently balanced point of view. His involvement in the story does provide a dynamic end engaging drive, but there are many other equally important characters in the narrative. The author gives particularly welcome insight into the significant parts that Sharif Husein and Sharif Feisel play in the encouragement of Arab revolt against the Turks. As a whole this book takes us through the events in detail, carefully mapping out the positions of the Turks, British, French and Arabs along the way, whilst placing the whole vital but small-scale actions in the context of the mass slaughter going on in France at the time. However, what really brings this book alive, and completes its important accessibility are the contemporary insights of the author. A trip by Mr. Barr to the site of the Hijaz railway and the various towns in the area provides numerous connections to the present day. This creates a freshness and energy that helps the reader to visualize the place and time with clarity and texture.
Capt-Nemo More than 1 year ago
After reading T.E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom I read this work which fills in the missing political background. The reader still gets the Legend of Lawrence of Araba, but the reader also gets to know how others felt about him. Along with the politics the was actually going on behind the scenes between France and England. Should the reader never have heard of the Balfor Declaration and its affect not only on the Arab revolt, but the creation of the situation that exists today between the Arab's and Jews you will learn it here.The author also traces the original routes taken by Lawrence and relates such interesting annodotes as seeing still in 2004 one of the train engines destroyed during the Arab revolt right in the middle of desert.
arethusa More than 1 year ago
This is a review of the ebook data, not the content of the book. I wish reviews who read ebooks would comment on the format and function of the data . This book was well done within current limits of ebook data at this time. Links to chapters work, and function well with the Nook Chapter search. There are many footnotes, largely to the original source of the quotations within the text. They are correctly linked, and the return to the reading page works well. This is the level of data management I expect from ebooks I pay for, but I fear this is not always what I get. As to content, I've read several books on Lawrence's actions during WWI and find this book makes clear the political background and broader motivation of British policy during that period. The author has done substantial research in the British archives and has taken a look at the landscape in which Lawrence's activities took place. It presents a clear view of the events and their motivation. I recommend it to anyone who wants an historical view of the Hijaz and vicinity in 1916-1918.
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Rioghan_Celt More than 1 year ago
When the Germans allied themselves with the Ottoman Turks in WWII, the British sent T.E. Lawrence to the Middle East to foment an uprising in withing the Arab Empire. In the spirit of special operations to come, Lawrence lived and fought alongside the Arabs, conducting sabotage operations on rail lines, and even the first Close Air Support mission.