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Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia
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Format: Hardcover, 784pp.
Pub. Date: November 16, 2010
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Item No: 9780061712616
Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:
Michael Korda's Hero is the story of an epic life on a grand scale: a revealing, in-depth, and gripping biography of the extraordinary, mysterious, and dynamic Englishman whose daring exploits and romantic profile—including his blond, sun-burnished good looks and flowing white robes—made him an object of intense fascination, still famous the world over as "Lawrence of Arabia."
An Oxford scholar and archaeologist, one of five illegitimate sons of a British aristocrat who ran away with his daughters' governess, Lawrence was sent to Cairo as a young intelligence officer in 1916. He vanished into the desert in 1917 only to emerge later as one of the greatest—and certainly most colorful—figures of World War One. Though a foreigner, he played a leading and courageous part in uniting the Arab tribes to defeat the Turks, and eventually capture Damascus, transforming himself into a world-famous hero, hailed as "the Uncrowned King of Arabia."
In illuminating Lawrence's achievements, Korda digs further than anyone before him to expose the flesh-and-blood man and his contradictory nature. Here was a born leader who was utterly fearless and seemingly impervious to pain, thirst, fatigue, and danger, yet who remained shy, sensitive, mod-est, and retiring; a hero who turned down every honor and decoration offered to him, and was racked by moral guilt and doubt; a scholar and an aesthete who was also a bold and ruthless warrior; a writer of genius—the author of Seven Pillars of Wisdom, one of the greatest books ever written about war—who was the virtual inventor of modern insurgency and guerrilla warfare; a man who at the same time sought and fled the limelight, and who found in friendships, with everyone from Winston Churchill to George Bernard and Charlotte Shaw, from Nancy Astor to NoËl Coward, a substitute for sexual feelings that he rigorously—even brutally and systematically—repressed in himself.
As Korda shows in his brilliantly readable and formidably authoritative biography, Lawrence was not only a man of his times; he was a visionary whose accomplishments—farsighted diplomat and kingmaker, military strategist of genius, perhaps the first modern "media celebrity" (and one of the first victims of it), and an acclaimed writer—transcended his era.
Korda examines Lawrence's vision for the modern Middle East—plans that, had they been carried through, might have prevented the hatred and bloodshed that have become ubiquitous in the region. Ultimately, as this magisterial work demonstrates, Lawrence remains one of the most unique and fascinating figures of modern times, the arch-hero whose life is at once a triumph and a sacrifice and whose capacity to astonish still remains undimmed.
“Few come closer to appraising the man in all his protean grandeur, and essential mystery, than Michael Korda. . . . One of the most compelling books I have read in a long time.”
—Sir Alistair Horne, CBE, author of A Savage War of Peace
“Lawrence of Arabia, one of the great heroes of any age, has found the right biographer in Michael Korda--a keen judge of the human condition and a master story teller who can separate myth from reality without diminishing the grandeur of his subject.”
—Evan Thomas, author of The War Lovers
“Hero is a full-scale, major event, [and] a great biography. . . . The triumph of the book is Michael Korda’s brilliant, always balanced portrait of the infinitely fascinating Lawrence of Arabia, the relevance of which, now in our time, is of greater importance than ever.”
“A splendid biography about a most unusual and extraordinary individual.”
—Hugh Thomas, author of The Spanish Civil War
“Comprehensive. . . . An accessible, textured story of one man who intimatelyknew the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”
“This magisterial biography of British soldier and adventurer T.E. Lawrence celebrates a life spent subverting authority in the most glamorous--and bizarre--ways. Korda’s vivid portrait of Lawrence and his warring impulses captures the brilliance and charisma of this fascinating figure.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Michael Korda’s new biography of Lawrence of Arabia is big-hearted and provocative—a page-turner that also helps us understand how the Middle East became the confused mess it is today. Hero is a magnificent achievement.”
“Much has been written about him, but no one has succeeded in illuminating the quintessential Lawrence of Arabia so profoundly and so well as Michael Korda. Hero is a work of brilliance, discernment and meticulous scholarship that surely will be hailed as the gold standard.”
—Henry A. Kissinger
“T.E. Lawrence is next to impossible to fix on the page. Yet Michael Korda has done so, delivering up a crowded, improbable life in a page-turning biography, every bit as rich as its protean subject. A splendid read.”
—Stacy Schiff, author of Cleopatra: A Life
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About the Author
Michael Korda is the New York Times bestselling author of Charmed Lives, Ike, Country Matters, Ulysses S. Grant, and Journey to a Revolution. He is Editor in Chief Emeritus of Simon & Schuster, and he lives in Dutchess County, New York.
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