Seldom does a newly published book both enlarge our understanding of its subject and enhance our appreciation of its principal primary sources. In Lawrence of Arabia’s War, Neil Faulkner admirably achieves both objectives. In the first instance, he thoroughly and critically discusses British foreign policy and military operations in the Middle East and North Africa from 1914 through 1922, with emphasis upon British relations with the Arabs, primarily the desert-dwelling Hashemite sherifs as opposed to the landlords and officials who dominated millions of Arab small farmers and city dwellers. Whenever appropriate, he carefully examines relations between the British and their French, Italian, and Russian allies. In the second instance, Faulkner clearly illuminates the political and military context of T. E. Lawrence’s partially autobiographical Seven Pillars of Wisdom, long widely admired as one of the finest literary masterpieces of the Great War and as a somewhat impressionistic portrait of the leaders of the Arab rebellion. In doing so, Faulkner further demonstrates Lawrence’s memoir to be an informed evaluation of British strategy and of the actions of Arab and Bedouin chieftains in their relationships with the British and with one another. Furthermore, Faulkner shows how and why Seven Pillars of Wisdom is one of the few World War I memoirs that facilitate one’s comprehension of the military operations by which Arab forces during 1917 and 1918 interdicted Ottoman supply lines and effectively supported the right flank of British offensives into Gaza and Palestine.
Garver, Bruce M.
"Lawrence of Arabia’s War: The Arabs, the British and the Remaking of the Middle East in WWI,"
International Dialogue: Vol. 6, Article 10.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/id-journal/vol6/iss1/10