Posts

Showing posts from September, 2015

Seven Pillars of Wisdom - 2: Opening the Arab Offensive

Image
Previously: Introduction, Book I
Against his adamant protests and self-doubt, Lawrence is sent back to Arabia by his superior officer, General Clayton, who believes the bookish journalist-cartographer will be an excellent substitute until the professional military advisors arrive. "I was unlike a soldier: hated soldiering" writes Lawrence point-blank (p. 114).  Having no alternative, he surrenders to necessity and returns to Feisal's base, finding the Arab leader no less resolute for suffering early betrayals and mixed successes.  Together, and with the aid of diverse allies, they endeavor to unify the contentious Arabic tribes into an anti-Turkish force, with the immediate objective of taking Wejh, a port city in the north under control of the Turks.  Lawrence is impressed with Feisal's ability to gain a following, learns more of the psychology of the Arab people, and becomes increasingly wary of the maneuverings of some of their European, military "supporters.&…

Seven Pillars of Wisdom - 1: The Discovery of Feisal

Image
Previously: Introduction


I had believed these misfortunes of the Revolt to be due mainly to faulty leadership, or rather to the lack of leadership, Arab and English.  So I went down to Arabia to see and consider its great men.Unlike his film counterpart, who comes across as a little awkward and almost passive, T. E. Lawrence had specific goals in mind when he undertook his investigation of the "Arab affair" - that is, the struggling Arab Revolt.  On this journey, he must gain months' worth of information in the matter of weeks, make connections on behalf of the British military, and, in any way he can, put his best talents to the cause of planning the Arabs' freedom from the Turks.  He also experiences his first heavy camel rides through the desert and meets two of the sons of Hussein bin Ali - one of these sons is Feisal.  This meeting proves to be the turning point in Lawrence's early efforts.

This was a slow, yet intricate group of chapters.  It summarized a lot…

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I didn't "click" with

Image
Saw this over at Hamlette's blog, and thought it would be a fun trip down memory lane.  Here goes - and hope I don't tread on any toes.  ;)

Werther from The Sorrows of Young Werther.  Everyone from A Passage to India.  (Sorry, Forster.)Irene Adler from "A Scandal in Bohemia". Erik from The Phantom of the Opera.  In all fairness, I am meaning to re-read this.  During my first read, I definitely found book!Erik to be less likeable than Webber's version.Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby.  I get the impression one is supposed to like him, but I was left unimpressed.  (I was also shocked that his undisguised racist commentary never gets mentioned in mainstream circles).Everyone from Dragonwyck.  When I was in middle school, a friend recommended it to me, on the basis it was similar to Jane Eyre.  My mother cautioned me that it sounded like a romance novel, but in my blissful ignorance I wasn't quite aware what that meant.  (Hint: think Edward and Bella in 1800s D…