[World War One In The Desert Illustration Pack— Includes 92 photos and illustrations with 19 maps spanning the Desert campaigns 1914-1918]
Lieutenant-Colonel T. E. Lawrence has often been pictured as many differing characters; crank, madman, genius, visionary, man “gone native”, pawn, military leader, highly strung, sensitive, arrogant. In fact even in his own writings he is a multi-faceted man of many talents and not a few failings; but what cannot be doubted is the importance of his actions during the First World War at the head of the Arab revolt in the Arabian Desert. At the time the Arabs were loosely affiliated, tribal and disunited; even the most senior Prince Faisal did not command uniform loyalty, and most firmly under the heel of the organized Turks of the Ottoman Empire. With the Turkish declaration of War against the Allies the British set about seeing if they could raise ferment and revolt on the long desert flank of their enemy. They sent the then Lieutenant Lawrence, a bookish classist and archaeologist but with knowledge of the area and the language of the Arabs, to be part of the British Mission. He had suddenly found his element among the Arabs who were captivated by his dashing inspired leadership as he led them from victory to victory over their oppressors. El Orens, as he was known to his men, became front page news in England and around the world, a merciful antidote to the long casualty lists from the mud of Flanders.
Lawrence wrote of his experiences with the British military mission first as “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom”, but finding it to be a huge and cumbersome work, with many snap judgements that he had reason to regret, he edited his memoirs to form the more readable “Revolt in the Desert”. The result is a marvellous work filled with the action, hardship and privation of the desert campaigns that made him a legend as Lawrence of Arabia.