Author(s): J. M. Wilson
T.E. Lawrence quickly became one of the most famous Englishmen of his generation. His exploits and personality fascinated the general public, and deeply impressed those who knew him and saw his work at first hand. Until now there has been no reliable major biography written by a qualified historian. Such a project was impossible as long as British Government papers relating to his role during the Arab revolt and the subsequent diplomatic negotiations were unavailable. By 1975, however, most of the relevant documents had been released, and Jeremy Wilson was appointed official biographer. This status gave him access to papers controlled by Lawrence's family and Trustees, but allowed him complete freedom to publish whatever conclusions he reached. Jeremy Wilson's objective in "Lawrence of Arabia" is to provide readers with an accurate and balanced account of Lawrence's life. It was inevitable that this authorised biography would contain a great deal that is new, but some of the material and conclusions are wholly unexpected. Above all, by drawing on contemporary records written by Lawrence's commanders and others who worked with him, Jeremy Wilson aims at an authentic account of his achievements. Here then is a biography of one of the most talented and intriguing Englishman of this century. The book begins by describing Lawrence's promising Oxford childhood and the six seasons he spent at Carchemish in Northern Syria, one of the most important excavations ever undertaken by the British Museum. Then follows the story of Lawrence's important military and diplomatic roles during and after World War 1. Finally, the post-war years saw the consolidation of Lawrence's literary achievement, permitting an assessment of his own wish to be "appraised rather as a man of letters than a man of action".