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Perspective: Michael Korda on Deraa

Excerpt about Lawrence’s allegation that he was raped in Deraa from Michael Korda’s Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia, 2010.

“Bearing in mind that no pages of Seven Pillars of Wisdom were more often revised by Lawrence than those describing the incident at Deraa, or subjected to more criticism and soul-searching by his many literary advisers, including Bernard Shaw and E.M. Forester, the reader will have to decide whether they carry conviction or not. There seems no good reason why Lawrence would have invented the incident — on the contrary, it seems more like the kind of thing that he would have suppressed, had he not been determined to tell the whole truth even when it was distasteful and damaging to him. For he does not strain himself to come out of it with credit; it is not just his body but his spirit that was broken, and much of what happened in 1918, and what became of Lawrence later, after the war, would be incomprehensible except for Deraa.”