With Lawrence in Arabia (1924)


With Lawrence in Arabia (1924)


Title: With Lawrence in Arabia
Author: Lowell Thomas
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap, 1924.
Condition: Hardcover, with dust jacket wrapped in plastic. In excellent condition for its age. A few sentences underlined in Preface, no other markings. Minor foxing to end papers, but not to text.

SKU: thomas-lawrencearabia Categories: , ,


About the book (from dust jacket):

This is the famous book that spread the name of Colonel T. E. Lawrence throughout most of the world. It was the first telling of the fabulous adventures of the shy young British scholar who became “The Uncrowned King of Arabia”. It remains, three decades later, the freshest most readable account of his actual adventures despite the volumes that have since appeared in the continuing effort to understand the personality of the enigmatic Lawrence.

As a young Oxford archaeology scholar Lawrence travelled in Arabia, learned many of the dialects and more about the historical culture of the land than most of its inhabitants. Even before the outbreak of World War I Lawrence sought to warn British officials of the situation in the Near East, but without success. His opportunity for greatness finally came when the Arabs rose up against their Turkish masters and captured the holy cities of Mecca and Jeddah. Lawrence a young lieutenant in Intelligence saw his chance to work for his dream of Arab independence and asked for a two-week leave. He never returned to his station in Cairo from that “leave”. Seeking out the Emir Feisal, a leading figure in the Arab revolt, Lawrence won his confidence, outlined a bold plan of strategy, and the military exploits of “Lawrence of Arabia” began.

About Lowell Thomas (from Wikipedia):

Lowell Jackson Thomas (April 6, 1892 – August 29, 1981) was an American writer, broadcaster, and traveler, best known as the man who made Lawrence of Arabia famous.

Thomas and a cameraman, Harry Chase, first went to the Western Front, but the trenches had little to inspire the American public. They then went to Italy, where he heard of General Allenby’s campaign against the Ottoman Empire in Palestine. With the permission of the British Foreign Office, as an accredited war correspondent, Thomas met T. E. Lawrence, a captain in the British Army in Jerusalem. Lawrence was spending £200,000 a month encouraging the inhabitants of Palestine to revolt against the Turks. Thomas and Chase spent several weeks with Lawrence in the desert, though Lawrence said “several days.” Lawrence agreed to provide Thomas with material on the condition that Thomas also photograph and interview Arab leaders such as Emir Feisal.

Thomas shot dramatic footage of Lawrence and, after the war, toured the world, narrating his film, With Allenby in Palestine and Lawrence in Arabia, making Lawrence—and himself—household names. The performances were highly dramatic. At the opening of Thomas’s six-month London run, there were incense braziers, exotically dressed women danced before images of the Pyramids, and the band of the Welsh Guards played to provide the accompaniment. Lawrence saw the show several times, and though he later claimed to dislike it, it generated valuable publicity for his own book. However, to strengthen the emphasis on Lawrence in the show, Thomas needed more photographs of him than Chase had taken in 1918. Lawrence, though claiming to be shy of publicity, agreed to a series of posed portraits in Arab dress in London. Thomas later said of Lawrence, “He had a genius for backing into the limelight.”

In fact, Thomas and Lawrence’s initially friendly relations grew more prickly as Thomas’s film grew in popularity and as Thomas ignored several alleged requests from Lawrence to end it. In fact, the film gave Lawrence a degree of publicity that he had never previously experienced. Newspapers were keen to print his attacks on government policy, and politicians began to pay attention to his views. At the end of 1920, he was invited to join the British Colonial Office, under Winston Churchill, as an adviser on Arab affairs. However, Lawrence said that he never forgave Thomas for exploiting his image, and called him a “vulgar man.”