Seven Pillars of Wisdom
Read by Jim Norton
Although Lawrence of Arabia died in 1935, the story of his life has captured the imagination of succeeding generations. The Seven Pillars of Wisdom is a monumental work in which he chronicles his role in leading the Arab Revolt against the Turks during the First World War. A reluctant leader, and wracked by guilt at the duplicity of the British, Lawrence nevertheless threw himself into his role, suffering the blistering desert conditions and masterminding military campaigns which culminated in the triumphant march of the Arabs into Damascus.
Running Time: 3 h 51 m
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ISBN: 978-962-634-010-3 Digital ISBN: 978-962-954-729-5 Cat. no.: NA301012 Download size: 56 MB BISAC: HIS026000 Released: September 2000
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Some books are so famous, so familiar, that even though you haven’t actually read them, you feel you have. I think it may have been its worthy biblical title, taken from the Book of Proverbs, that has, until now, put me off this modern classic. Perhaps if I thought more and assumed less, I’d have realised that evangelical conversion was definitely not Lawrence’s bag. In fact Seven Pillars is a sort of Where Eagles Dare adventure written by one of the most extraordinary and enigmatic of British military heroes.
Lawrence of Arabia, as T. E. is better known, has become immortalised by Peter O’Toole’s performance in David Lean’s 1962 Oscar-winning epic. Listening to this gung-ho chronicle by the British army officer who led the Arab revolt against the Turks in the first world war, it’s hard not to see O’Toole, pale blue eyes glinting as he dances narcissistically with his shadow among the sand dunes the first time he puts on Arab dress. Leading the camel cavalry charge at the Battle of Aqaba, being captured, flogged and gang raped by the Turks, sharing banquets with sheikhs in desert tents – it’s an X-rated Boy’s Own adventure steeped in atmosphere.
“The essence of the desert is the lonely moving individual, the son of the road, apart from the world as in a grave.” Churchill described it as one of the greatest adventures ever written. I agree.
Sue Arnold, The Guardian