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When ordered by his superiors to arrange and participate in a meeting between Faisal and Chaim Weizmann, president of the English Zionist Federation, Lawrence failed to respond and conveniently disappeared on a reconnaissance mission when the Weizmann-Faisal encounter eventually took place in Aqaba on June 4, Lawrence was convinced that the meeting would merely strengthen Faisal's and Hussein's rivals in the Middle East.

A short while later, Lawrence finally met with Weizmann in Ramleh. Weizmann offered to promote Arab aspirations for political independence with Zionist money and military training for Faisal's forces. After that meeting, Lawrence advised the Foreign Office to reject Weizmann's offer and to prevent him from meeting Sharif Hussein.

ISBN 13: 9780385532921

In his report to London, Lawrence warned, "Dr. Weizmann hopes for a completely Jewish Palestine in fifty years, and a Jewish Palestine, under a British facade, for the moment. Hoping to exchange Arab support of the Zionist enterprise in Palestine for Zionist backing of an independent Arab Syria, Lawrence eventually helped to negotiate a joint proclamation issued by Weizmann and Faisal at the end of December Each leader pledged to recognize the other's claims at the Paris Peace Conference, but at Lawrence's insistence, a proviso was included that the agreement was valid only if Syrian independence under Arab rule was achieved.

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Lawrence's final and undoubtedly most lasting contribution to the territorial reshaping of the Middle East occurred when he joined Winston Churchill, the new colonial secretary, in in Cairo for a conference that disposed of the remnants of Britain's war spoils. It was here that Iraq was recognized as an Arab kingdom with Faisal as its monarch. The British also upheld Hussein's claim to rule over the Hejaz, while simultaneously recognizing Ibn Saud's claims in the interior of the Arabian Peninsula.

As Anderson wryly notes, Lawrence had quite literally become the unseen kingmaker of the Middle East. There can be little doubt that the legacy of the archaeologist-turned-kingmaker is more tragic than Lawrence's premature death at 46 in a motorcycle accident.

The Making of the Modern Middle East: Lawrence of Arabia and King Faisal I

Described by Anderson as "the architect of momentous events," T. Lawrence helped to create a region torn to this very day by war, religious strife, ethnic conflict, authoritarian rule and abject poverty. Anyone who opts to read this volume will be richly rewarded by its exquisite prose, wide-ranging scope, and astute and original scholarship. Scott Anderson is to be commended for producing a monumental book that is bound to become a classic.

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Book Author. Reviewer Title. Publishing Info. Doubleday, Lawrence, 'a sideshow of a sideshow'.

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Amidst the slaughter in European trenches, the Western combatants paid scant attention to the Middle Eastern theatre. As a result, the conflict was shaped to a remarkable degree by a small handful of adventurers and low-level officers far removed from the corridors of power. At the centre of it all was Lawrence.

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In early he was an archaeologist excavating ruins in the sands of Syria; by he was battling both the enemy and his own government to bring about the vision he had for the Arab people. Operating in the Middle East at the same time, but to wildly different ends, were three other important players: a German attache, an American oilman and a committed Zionist.

The hapless Yale might have been better suited to a supporting role in a Graham Greene novel, where he could have had scorn poured upon him by a jaded Englishman.

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Although Anderson is an American, he takes up that duty. Through his large cast, Anderson is able to explore the muddles of the earlyth-century Middle East from several distinct and enlightening perspectives.

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  5. Furthermore, while he maintains an invigorating pace, his fabulous details are given room to illuminate. Dealing with this episode, too many biographers tend either toward amateur psychoanalysis and sensationalism or bluster, obfuscation, even denial. For some, the question is complicated by suggestions that Lawrence may have been homosexual and clearly was to some degree a masochist.

    Confronted by an unknowable, historians demand evidence, witnesses, corroboration.