Behind the Lawrence Legend: The Forgotten Few Who Shaped the Arab Revolt

Behind the Lawrence Legend: The Forgotten Few Who Shaped the Arab Revolt

by Philip Walker


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T. E. Lawrence became world-famous as "Lawrence of Arabia" after helping Sherif Hussein of Mecca gain independence from Turkey during the Arab Revolt of 1916-18. His achievements, however, would have been impossible without the unsung efforts of a forgotten band of fellow officers and spies. This groundbreaking account by Philip Walker interweaves the compelling stories of Colonel Cyril Wilson and a colorful supporting cast with the narrative of Lawrence and the desert campaign. These men's lost tales provide a remarkable and fresh perspective on Lawrence and the Arab Revolt.

While Lawrence and others blew up trains in the desert, Wilson and his men carried out their shadowy intelligence and diplomatic work. His deputies rooted out anti-British soldiers who were trying to sabotage the revolt. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Lionel Gray, a cipher officer, provided a gateway into unknown aspects of the revolt through his previously unpublished photographs and eyewitness writings. Wilson's crucial influence underpinned all these missions and steadied the revolt on a number of occasions when it could have collapsed. Without Wilson and his circle there would have been no "Lawrence of Arabia."

Wilson's band mostly fell through the cracks of history into obscurity. Behind the Lawrence Legend reveals their vital impact and puts Lawrence's efforts into context, helping to set the record straight for one of the most beguiling and iconic characters of the twentieth century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780198802273
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 04/07/2018
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Philip Walker is a historian and a retired archaeologist who spent many years working for English Heritage. He has travelled in Libya, Palestine, Morocco, Xinjiang (the Muslim far west of China), and other parts of Central Asia. He lives in Cambridge and this is his first book.

Table of Contents

List of Maps
A Note on the Text
1. 'Anything Could Happen in Such a Place'
2. 'A Town that Hung Heavy on the Soul'
3. 'A Vast Pan-Islamic Conspiracy'
4. Sharing a Cabin With Lawrence
5. Just Go On Sticking It
6. Camels and Secrets
7. Combat and Confusion
8. Sabotage, Golf, and Betrayal
9. Aqaba, the Arab Legion, and Jam Roly-Poly
10. Hopes and Fears
11. Great Escapes
12. 'Someone You Once Knew and a King'
13. Blood Brother of the Bedouin
14. Alarms and Excursions
15. Aqaba Calling
16. Fairy Godmothers to the Arab Revolt
17. 'Use Great Caution': The Curious Case of Agent Maurice
18. Endgame
19. Aftermath

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