Duplicity and arrogance, along with a healthy dose of racism seeps out of the pages of Scott Anderson’s finely written book as it hones in on Britain’s military and diplomatic efforts in WWI. Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East is the type of book any reader of history will devour with pleasure.
At the center of it all was Lawrence himself. In early 1914 he was an archaeologist excavating ruins in Syria; by 1917 he was riding into legend at the head of an Arab army as he fought a rearguard action against his own government and its imperial ambitions. Based on four years of intensive primary document research, Lawrence in Arabia definitively overturns received wisdom on how the modern Middle East was formed.
As this passage underscores T.E Lawrence knew what ineptitude looked like from his own country’s actions and behavior.