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Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of…
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Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia (original 2010; édition 2011)

par Michael Korda

MembresCritiquesPopularitéÉvaluation moyenneMentions
5321334,886 (4.01)16
The acclaimed author of the "New York Times"-bestseller "Ike" returns with a definitive new biography of the legendary British scholar, adventurer, soldier, and hero who became a myth in his lifetime--T.E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia.The story of an epic life on a grand scale: a revealing, in-depth 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, 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. As Korda shows, Lawrence was not only a man of his times; he was a visionary whose accomplishments--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.--From publisher description.… (plus d'informations)
Membre:CritEER
Titre:Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia
Auteurs:Michael Korda
Info:Harper Perennial (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 800 pages
Collections:Votre bibliothèque
Évaluation:****1/2
Mots-clés:Read in 2012, Kindle, Biography, WW I

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Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia par Michael Korda (2010)

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» Voir aussi les 16 mentions

Affichage de 1-5 de 12 (suivant | tout afficher)
Biography. I think this would probably be very interesting if I had time to get into it (unfortunately, I don't have that time right now). ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
This book started out pretty slow for me, but by the end, it was fascinating.

Oddly enough, I found the section on Lawrence's desert warfare much less interesting than the rest of the book, despite the fact that it was his actions in WWI that got him the fame. But Lawrence was a much more interesting character than just the man who inspired the Arabs (and everybody else). After he helped Churchill carve up the middle east during the peace talks after WWI (something else I didn't know about) he then went on to enlist as a private in the RAF under an assumed name.

Of course, being Lawrence, he wasn't an ordinary private. He corresponded with the head of the RAF (and just about everybody else of importance in England); he greatly improved British search-and-rescue missions; he loved tinkering with motorcycles; and he wrote several literary masterpieces, and a translation of the Odyssey. All this from a man who originally trained as an archaeologist.

Almost all of what I know about Lawrence comes from this book (and vaguely remembered scenes in the movie Lawrence of Arabia) so I can't comment on the accuracy here. Korda has an interesting section at the end where he looks at what various other writers have done with the legend of Lawrence. Korda certainly comes across as giving a balanced treatment (certainly he is much more balanced than the extremes he cites); I think this was one of Korda's goals in writing this book. ( )
  garyrholt | Nov 5, 2020 |
Fascinating.

At the end, I'm a little shell-shocked at spending 700 pages with T.E. Lawrence. 700 pages is an awful lot of reading, particularly since Korda's emphasis was on military strategy (hardly my area of expertise) and since Lawrence really didn't have much of a personal life; what he did have was distinctly odd. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." ~ T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom. ( )
1 voter CatherineBurkeHines | Nov 28, 2018 |
I almost put this book to the side permanently but I'm glad I didn't. The background info that the author gives on the Arab Revolt gets VERY tedious at times. When the subject reverts back to Lawrence's role in that historical context, the narrative picks back up again. The latter half or so of the book flows much more freely and is much more enjoyable. I just wish the author had found a way to weave the background info into Lawrence's story rather than presenting it as large chunks of dry history. Once that objection is overcome, the book is excellent and really delves into what made this very, very complicated man tick. Korda does a very good job of presenting the differing opinions of Lawrence's contemporaries (those who loved him, those who hated him and the few who fell somewhere in between) and letting the reader draw his or her own conclusions considering Lawrence's actions over the years. It is interesting to think about where Lawrence's passions would have led him had the Arab Revolt and WWI not intervened in his life. He was brilliant and his life experiences formed him into a highly complex and unpredictable man. ( )
  AliceAnna | Jun 25, 2018 |
Il vero Lawrence è probabilmente destinato a rimanere un personaggio elusivo visto che ogni biografo sembra aver ricreato il ‘suo’ Lawrence. Quello di M. Korda è un eroe a tutto tondo, per il quale sono spesso evocati gli eroi omerici (Lawrence è stato, tra le altre cose, anche un valido traduttore dell’Odissea), ma anche un personaggio complesso: ha alle spalle una storia familiare intricata, è caratterizzato da un rigore etico e da un’autodisciplina rigidissima, dà prova continuamente di una resistenza fisica e di una sopportazione del dolore senza uguali, è ambizioso, ma rifugge la popolarità specie mediatica, pur trovandosi spesso, e anche suo malgrado, al centro dell’attenzione, è dotato di un’ intelligenza eccezionale, pari solo alle sue capacità politiche, militari, tecniche e persino artigianali.
Tutto questo si è riversato nella causa araba che Lawrence ha sposato in toto e che gli ha permesso di esprimere la sua volontà di realizzazione eroica, riservandogli però anche grandissime delusioni, legate alle scelte politiche della grandi potenze, rispetto alle quali il suo eroismo e il suo idealismo individuali sono risultati perdenti senza rimedio. M. Korda racconta con grande minuzia e passo a passo, successi e sconfitte del suo personaggio, l’epopea e il declino, pur quest’ultimo temperato dalla stima e dall’affetto di tanti amici, importanti o meno.
Il grande dettaglio è, al tempo stesso, il pregio e il difetto di questo libro. Pregio perché niente sembra tralasciato, dal fatto importante a quello apparentemente minore, ma rivelatore di tratti della personalità, di inclinazioni, di scelte future. Difetto perché l’attenzione quasi ossessiva per il dettaglio rischia di far perdere di vista il quadro di insieme. Riesce comunque a emergere da questa amplissima ricostruzione biografica, oltre alla sfaccettata e per certi versi contradditoria personalità di Lawrence anche il gioco politico-coloniale spregiudicato, spesso irresponsabile e dalle conseguenze prevedibilmente disastrose, delle grandi potenze, Gran Bretagna e Francia in testa. Gli anni sono quelli della Prima Guerra Mondiale che hanno disegnato lo scacchiere mediorientale, giocando sui nazionalismi, fomentando odi etnici e tribali e creando le premesse per i disastri che abbiamo sotto gli occhi.
M. Korda scrive molto bene, in modo scorrevole e per niente pesante. E’ un osservatore cognito, ma anche sufficientemente distaccato. Ungherese di origine, è britannico di formazione ed educazione ed è naturalizzato statunitense. Si è documentato accuratamente, forse non sempre di prima mano, e ha attinto abbondantemente agli scritti dello stesso Lawrence, a cominciare da Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
Verso la fine del libro Korda non elude il discorso sulla sessualità di Lawrence e lo presenta, sempre più chiaramente, come un omosessuale latente, e con forti tratti masochistici, che ha represso e sublimato le sue pulsioni trasformandole in tensione eroica.
Tra le pecche del libro, la scarsità di cartine, che sarebbero invece assolutamente necessarie per seguire gli spostamenti e gli eventi militari nel deserto, ed inoltre il fatto che ben poco spazio viene concesso alle idee politiche di fondo di Lawrence. Si accenna solo molto marginalmente ad un suo progetto di trasformazione dell’Impero Britannico in una federazione, della quale avrebbero dovuto far parte i neonati stati arabi (Giordania e Iraq), ma senza ulteriori chiarimenti. Lawrence viene inoltre molto rapidamente assolto da possibili simpatie fasciste, sia verso i fascisti nostrani (conosceva Italo Balbo) sia verso Mosley & C. E’ certo possibile che fascismo e fascisti non gli interessassero, ma visti certi suoi atteggiamenti che, mutatis mutandis, non esiterei a definire dannunziani, la questione meritava qualche parola in più, in un libro che di pagine ne conta quasi 700. Di fatto, vista l’intelligenza e la lungimiranza politica di Lawrence, sulla quale M. Korda insiste molto, è difficile pensare che, pur essendo morto nel 1935, non si fosse fatto un’idea in proposito. Su questo punto a me la curiosità è rimasta. ( )
  Marghe48 | Oct 15, 2017 |
Affichage de 1-5 de 12 (suivant | tout afficher)
Korda gives a clear, rather gripping account of Lawrence's vision of what a postwar Middle East might look like—one with a viable Jewish homeland in Palestine, which he convinced his great ally, the Hashemite prince Feisal , to accept, and rational borders for new, independent Arab nations. The betrayal of legitimate Arab aspirations by the British and French was, Korda writes, "the primary guilt that Lawrence bore, and that explains much of his life from 1922 to his death in 1935," a period in which he worked at literature and life as a private soldier and airman under assumed names.
 
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And not by eastern windows only,

When daylight comes, comes in the light,

In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly,

But westward, look, the land is bright.

—Arthur Hugh Clough,

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(Preface) It has been ninety-two years since the end of World War I, known until September 1939 as the Great War.
In the third summer of the world's greatest war a small garrison of Turkish soldiers still held the port of Aqaba, on the Red Sea, as they had from the beginning - indeed since long before the beginning of this war, for Aqaba, the site of Elath during biblical times, and later garrisoned during the Roman era by the Tenth Legion, had been part of the Ottoman Empire for centuries, steadily declining under Turkish rule into a small, stiflingly hot place hardly bigger than a fishing village, reduced by 1917 to a few crumbling houses made of whitewashed dried mud brick and a dilapidated old fort facing the sea.
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The acclaimed author of the "New York Times"-bestseller "Ike" returns with a definitive new biography of the legendary British scholar, adventurer, soldier, and hero who became a myth in his lifetime--T.E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia.The story of an epic life on a grand scale: a revealing, in-depth 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, 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. As Korda shows, Lawrence was not only a man of his times; he was a visionary whose accomplishments--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.--From publisher description.

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