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Perspective: Harold E. Raugh on Crawford Book and Aldington Point of View

Excerpt from Dr. Harold E. Raugh, Jr.’s review for The Middle East Journal, October 1, 2000, of Richard Aldington and Lawrence of Arabia: A Cautionary Tale by Fred D. Crawford.

“British Army Lieutenant Colonel T.E. Lawrence was, after participation in the Arab Revolt during World War One, propelled veritably overnight from being an obscure military officer to a living legend with the glamorous sobriquet of “Lawrence of Arabia.” This remarkable transformation was primarily the result of a series of romanticized lectures and slide-shows on the Palestine campaign presented to a war-weary public yearning for escape from the hecatombs of death and destruction on the Western Front. American journalist Lowell Thomas developed and delivered these travelogues, with Lawrence himself the eager source of frequently exaggerated and disingenuous information - although he publicly denied providing such material. After Lawrence’s 1935 death, his “legend” was protected and perpetuated uncritically by his younger brother, A.W. Lawrence; by fledgling biographers and neophyte historians; and by other associates, admirers, and partisans who were willing to do almost anything to preserve intact the presumed infallibility of their hero’s reputation.”