Setting the Desert on Fire by James Barr
T. E. Lawrence and Britain's Secret War in Arabia, 1916-1918

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Greed and intrigue combine explosively in this gripping tale of how the mercurial Lawrence of Arabia changed the Middle East forever.

It was T. E. Lawrence’s classic Seven Pillars of Wisdom that made the Arab Revolt a legend and helped turn the British intelligence officer into the mythical “Lawrence of Arabia.” But the intrigue behind the revolt and its startling consequences for the present-day Middle East have remained a mystery for nearly one hundred years. James Barr spent four years trawling declassified archives in Europe and crossing the hostile deserts of the Middle East to re-create the revolt as the international drama it really was. A colorful cast of Arab sheiks, British and French soldiers, spies, and diplomats come together in this gripping narrative of political maneuvering, guerrilla warfare, and imperial greed. Setting the Desert on Fire is a masterly account of a key moment in the history of the Middle East, and a portrait of Lawrence himself that is bright, nuanced, and full of fresh insights into the true nature of the master mythmaker.

About James Barr

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James Barr is the author of Setting the Desert on Fire. During the research for A Line in the Sand he was a Visiting Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford. He lives in London.
Published February 17, 2008 by W. W. Norton & Company. 400 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

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Lawrence’s “driving obsession” was to capture Damascus and “foil French ambitions in Syria.” As the war in Europe was ending, the Arabs occupied Damascus and Lawrence installed an Arab government.

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