Tuesday, June 17, 2014

New in Paperback: Lawrence in Arabia by Scott Anderson

Scott Anderson (Moonlight Hotel, The Man Who Tried to Save the World) brings the gravitas of an accomplished novelist and war correspondent to Lawrence in Arabia (Anchor Books).

This is a stellar look at some of the major issues in the Middle East and the influence that early 19th century outsiders, including Lawrence of Arabia’s TH Lawrence, had on the direction in which the modern Middle East was formed.

The writing here is breathtaking (and the book was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2013) and the research it must have taken actually set me aback: this is an intricate work, well beyond the scope of anything you’re imagining.

As a biography of Lawrence, it would have been superb, but Lawrence in Arabia is so much more: offering an illuminating visit to a time and events that still cause ripples across the region and with a contradictory character whose actions continue to cause controversy 80 years after his death. ◊

Aaron Blanton is a contributing editor to January Magazine. He’s currently working on a book based on his experiences as an American living abroad.

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