Thursday 22 December 2022

Book Review: Hero - The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia by Michael Korda (Non-Fiction/Biography)

Title: Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia
Author: Michael Korda
Publisher: Aurum Press
Publication Date: 2012 (2010)
Pages: 762
Format: Paperback
Genre: Non-Fiction/Biography
Source: Birthday Gift

The story of an epic life on a grand scale, Michael Korda's Hero is a gripping, in-depth biography of the extraordinary, mysterious, and dynamic Englishman still famous the world over as "Lawrence of Arabia." An Oxford scholar and archaeologist sent to Cairo as a young intelligence officer in 1916, Lawrence was a born leader, utterly fearless and seemingly impervious to pain and fatigue. A bold and ruthless warrior, he was the virtual inventor of modern insurgency and guerrilla warfare; a writer of genius who alternately sought and fled the limelight. Korda digs deeper than anyone before him to expose the flesh-and-blood man and his contradictory nature--farsighted visionary; diplomat and kingmaker; shy, sensitive, and private man; genius military strategist; arguably the first modern "media celebrity" . . . and one of its first victims. Hero is the magisterial story of one of the most unique and fascinating figures of modern times--the arch-hero whose life was, at once, a triumph and a sacrifice.


Hero was a engaging and detailed biography of T. E. Lawrence. Between watching the movie and reading Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom much of the war-time action was familiar to me; although, it was still useful to see the author's interpretation of those events in context of different elements. More interesting for me were the sections on Lawrence's early life and the post-war years, about which I knew a lot less. Colour plates would have been nice, but the black and white photos included were still a good addition to the text. Although it comes in at over 700 pages, the book didn't feel long and kept my attention throughout. Recommended to readers of biographies and those interested in WWI and/or T. E. Lawrence. It gets 5 stars from me.

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