Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia

  • by Michael Korda
  • Narrated by Robin Sachs
  • 14 hrs and 10 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Michael Korda's Hero is the story of an epic life on a grand scale: a revealing, in-depth, and gripping biography of the extraordinary, mysterious, and dynamic Englishman whose daring exploits and romantic profile - including his blond, sun-burnished good looks and flowing white robes - made him an object of intense fascination, still famous the world over as "Lawrence of Arabia".
An Oxford scholar and archaeologist, one of five illegitimate sons of a British aristocrat who ran away with his daughters' governess, Lawrence was sent to Cairo as a young intelligence officer in 1916. He vanished into the desert in 1917, only to emerge later as one of the greatest, and certainly most colorful, figures of World War One. Though a foreigner, he played a leading and courageous part in uniting the Arab tribes to defeat the Turks, and eventually capture Damascus, transforming himself into a world-famous hero, hailed as "the Uncrowned King of Arabia".
In illuminating Lawrence's achievements, Korda digs further than anyone before him to expose the flesh-and-blood man and his contradictory nature. And as Korda shows in his brilliantly readable and formidably authoritative biography, Lawrence was not only a man of his times; he was a visionary whose accomplishments - as a farsighted diplomat and kingmaker, military strategist of genius, perhaps the first modern "media celebrity" (and one of the first victims of it), and an acclaimed writer - transcended his era.
Korda examines Lawrence's vision for the modern Middle East - plans that, had they been carried through, might have prevented the hatred and bloodshed that have become ubiquitous in the region.
Ultimately, as this magisterial work demonstrates, Lawrence remains one of the most unique and fascinating figures of modern times, the arch-hero whose life is at once a triumph and a sacrifice and whose capacity to astonish still remains undimmed.

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What the Critics Say

"Much has been written about him, but no one has succeeded in illuminating the quintessential Lawrence of Arabia so profoundly and so well as Michael Korda. Hero is a work of brilliance, discernment and meticulous scholarship that surely will be hailed as the gold standard." (Henry A. Kissinger)
"This magisterial biography of British soldier and adventurer T.E. Lawrence celebrates a life spent subverting authority in the most glamorous - and bizarre - ways. Korda's vivid portrait of Lawrence and his warring impulses captures the brilliance and charisma of this fascinating figure." (Publishers Weekly)
"Comprehensive.... An accessible, textured story of one man who intimately knew the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." (Kirkus Reviews)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An excellent book, a great listen, what a story.

This is one of the best books I have read on the subject of Lawrence. It explained a great deal about him, About his life after the desert, a lot of it I had never heard before. I thought this was very informative, Absolutely worth the money.
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- Brian

Arab revolt in the Arab Spring

Not having seen the David Lean film version of the life of T E Lawrence, not clearly understanding where Lawrence’s biography stood within British or Middle East history and knowing really nothing of the history of the Great War as played out in the Middle East, I set out to listen to all these stories and learn. The critics claim that Michael Korda has relied heavily on previous writings and biographies of Lawrence, but the average reader today will not have read in depth around the subject and, as such, those criticisms fall away quickly. The book plunges straight away into the hero-making milieu, with a vaguely familiar list of names and places. A couple of quick raids on-line soon helped me to locate the action and picture the main players, but required detailed reading and a bit of work. This, however, was swept away in the very much more immediate and satisfying account of Lawrence’s life after Arabia, which was well written, informative and page by page fulfilled my requirements exactly. At the end of Korda’s book, I felt that I had a very thorough insight into the character of the individual and could place chronologically, historically and in context all of the events and pre-occupations.The murkier aspects of Lawrence’s life are dealt with in a very even handed manner - as Korda has said in an interview I watched, previous biographers and writers have either sought to exalt Lawrence or subject his reputation to sordid nods and winks and question exactly what could actually have been achieved against what achievements have been claimed for Lawrence. The remarkable list of names and encounters places Lawrence at the centre of an understanding of The Great War, Middle East politics both contemporary and modern day and the fascinating world of England in the 1920s and 1930s. The subject-matter is fascinating, and Michael Korda is a really enjoyable guide.
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- Stephen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 16-11-2010
  • Publisher: HarperAudio