Saturday, February 11, 2012

Guerrilla Leader: T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt

Professor of Military Theory James Schneider examines the leadership genius of T. E. Lawrence, known to history as “Lawrence of Arabia.” Schneider demonstrates how the lessons learned and taught by Lawrence in the Middle East could have prevented many modern military disasters had they been heeded. Lawrence’s success in the Middle East was rooted in his leadership abilities. A fearless, intelligent leader can make a world of difference, as Lawrence demonstrated. Schneider traces Lawrence’s growth as a leader from the beginning of his military involvement until his death in 1935. Lawrence was not a trained soldier but as a scholar. After a youth spent in traveling and learning languages Lawrence joined the British army at the beginning on the First World War and because of his mastery of Arabic and Middle Eastern geography was given espionage work on the Turkish front. His study of the Arab culture enabled him to win the confidence of that tribal people and he led them to victory after victory against their Turkish oppressors, changing the course of the war. Lawrence’s ideal was not to annihilate the enemy but rather pester them through guerilla attacks. It was only when Lawrence violated his own high code of honor that his emotional deterioration led to the end of his glorious career. Schneider gives the reader detailed descriptions of Lawrence’s military encounters as well as showing the inner turmoil and reflections of the man of conscience and principle that Lawrence was. “Lawrence’s intense psychological struggle in the desert brought him to a profound moral conversion that would lead ultimately to his personal redemption….Yet today the world waits in vain for Lawrence’s vision of peace in the Middle East.” (p.307) Guerrilla Leader is highly recommended for serious students of the Middle East and of military history.

This review originally appeared in the February 2012 edition of the Historical Novels Review

(*NOTE: This book was sent to me by the Historical Novel Society in exchange for my honest opinion.)


1 comment:

Brantigny said...

Having been to the middle east, (more times than I care to remember) The middle east and sSudi acknowledges that TE Lawrence was in the middle east during the First World war, they refuse to give him any credit.