I found the book Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia by Michael Korda and was intrigued. One of my favorite classic films is Lawrence of Arabia starring Peter O’Toole (pictured left) and I really wanted to see how true the film was to reality.

They got a lot right with the film – sure, they rearranged the order of some of the event. They even rearranged the locations and participants a bit – but overall, the film was very accurate. While casting O’Toole as the dashing T.E. Lawrence was spot on from how he contrasted with the Arabs, in real life, he was much shorter than O’Toole.

The titular role sent O’Toole on a film career just as Lawrence’s exploits launched him on a military and political career. Surprising was just how big of a deal T.E. Lawrence was in the British Empire in the years after uniting the Arabian tribes. This book goes into great detail about the struggle for Lawrence to keep on foot in Mother England and another in the Bedouin tribes of the Middle East. These two forces constantly pulled at him and nearly destroyed him,

Hero is a book that keeps your interest from start to finish. That is a lot to say when facing a 700 page book! This is an inspiring story of a tragic hero in the very literal sense of that word. If you know nothing or very little about T.E. Lawrence, this is a must-read. If you know a lot about “El Aurens” then your education is not complete without it. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about a real-life larger-than-life hero that hasn’t gotten nearly enough praise.

by Chris Doelle