Lawrence was an archaeologist in what is now Syria during the early 1910s when World War I broke out, pitting Britain, France, and Russia against Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire. His fluency in Arabic and his first-hand knowledge of the Middle East brought him to the attention of British Army headquarters in Cairo, and he later became an adviser to Emir Faisal and helped lead the Arab Revolt against the Turks when he was only in his late 20s.
Although his "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" of 1926, an account of his exploits during World War I, is considered a classic of military history, Lawrence had many doubts about his writing abilities. His ancient Greek was good enough that he made a translation of "The Odyssey."
Just a few months after leaving the RAF, where he sought to escape the publicity of his Arabian actions, Lawrence was killed in a motorcycle accident near his Dorset home at the age of 46.
Wilson's biography gave me much more detail about Lawrence's Middle East exploits and the 16 years that followed than the famous David Lean 1962 movie "Lawrence of Arabia" could possibly give. But, you know, Peter O'Toole does look a bit like T.E. Lawrence.
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