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Perspective: Joel Hodson on The Show

Excerpt from Joel C. Hodson’s Lawrence of Arabia and American Culture: The Making of a Transatlantic Legend

“[Lowell] Thomas provided a war-weary Allied public with a romantic campaign to celebrate. He gave them a ... modern-day knight in white robes racing around Arabia, instead of gruesome images of corpses draped over barbed wire and young men mangled by machine-gun fire and massive artillery barrages. His program perhaps helped to offset memories of some of the horror of modern mechanized trench warfare and the hypocrisy of the Paris Peace Conference.

Oriental place names created a romantic and exotic atmosphere. Biblical and crusader allusions also figured heavily. Thomas worked the powerful religious theme of recapturing the Holy Land. ... Colorful phrasing, such as “with a motlier crew than ever sailed the Spanish Main” and hyperbole like “Shereef Lawrence, the uncrowned King of Arabia” must have swept some of the audience off its feet. ...

By stretching the outer limits of conventional journalism with his multimedia lecture-performances, Thomas created for England a hero in excelsis and made himself a celebrity at the same time. ...”