The Seven Pillars of Wisdom (Anglais) Broché – 5 juin 1997
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Revue de presse
Almost a century after the first Arab spring the 1916-18 revolt against the Ottoman empire, culminating in the triumphant capture of Damascus modern Arabia is still a war zone. More than half the articles in my latest Talking Newspapers Digest are about the Middle East what better reason to listen to a new unabridged version of this monumental account of the author's leading role in that earlier historic desert campaign, which made him one of the great legendary heroes of all time. --Sue Arnold, The Guardian
Known to most as Lawrence of Arabia, T.E. Lawrence was a passionate chronicler of Middle East military events during WWI, in which he was embedded. This book is his story. Narrator Roy McMillan conveys Lawrence's sincerity with a calm yet enthusiastic delivery, depicting a man fascinated with the world around him. Through McMillan's compassionate reading we can better understand how Lawrence found sympathy for the Arab cause of an Arab state at a time when the region was mostly tribal. Those seeking a wider understanding of the Middle East will be enlightened by Lawrence's observations of the land and its people during this pivotal development period. --F.T., AudioFile --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .
Présentation de l'éditeur
With an Introduction by Angus Calder.
As Angus Calder states in his introduction to this edition, 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom is one of the major statements about the fighting experience of the First World War'. Lawrence's younger brothers, Frank and Will, had been killed on the Western Front in 1915. Seven Pillars of Wisdom, written between 1919 and 1926, tells of the vastly different campaign against the Turks in the Middle East - one which encompasses gross acts of cruelty and revenge and ends in a welter of stink and corpses in the disgusting 'hospital' in Damascus.
Seven Pillars of Wisdom is no Boys Own Paper tale of Imperial triumph, but a complex work of high literary aspiration which stands in the tradition of Melville and Dostoevsky, and alongside the writings of Yeats, Eliot and Joyce.
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The text is longer than the second version.
But the writing is more "fluid" !
It's this version you must have in your library...
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
It is, ultimately, a pretty amazing book to read.
A few notes:
Before you read the book, do some quick background reading on the history that's involved. This will help avoid confusion.
Be prepared for a long read! It's not only a long book, it's an extremely dense book. The choppiness and frequent changes in tone make it hard to put on the reading cruise control.
Read it as a product of its time. Lawrence was a fascinating man, but not without his prejudices or faults.
Of all of these, Lawrence has fascinated me most. I first read SEVEN PILLARS when I was twelve, and I've read it every couple of years since then. As I grow wiser, it grows richer.
Lawrence was an unlikely defender of empire, an unlikelier man of action who forced himself into a kind of ascetic mental and physical preparation for the great deeds he felt himself called upon to play. Living as he did from 1888 to 1935, he was practically born in the last age where someone could express that claim without being ridiculed; and he found his war in the Arab Revolt, that long-lasting sideline to the War to End All Wars that produced more war -- and some great writers, among whom Lawrence was one.
This is a story of war. It's also a story of heroism and of anguish, written by a man who not only shaped events, but was shaped -- and warped -- by them. It can be read as military strategy, political history, travel story, or pathology.
But it's better to read it as itself: a unique and complex book written by a man who was loved and admired by the most famous people of his time, but who, in the end, wanted only obscurity and the anesthetizing speed of one of the motorcycles that killed him.
I bought this edition of "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" because it was the only hardcover version available at the time. I'm a big advocate of hardcover books, but avoid this one. I get the sense that the publishers simply took an old copy of the book, scanned it, converted the scan into a basic word processing document, and published it. If that is what happened, they never bothered to read through their generated document to check for basic typographical errors.
For example, on page 488 the text reads: "They circled off We, watching their line of/light, noticed a great cloud of apparent dust added to the slow smoke rising from the ruined yard at Mafrak station." In that sentence, it appears that a period has been omitted, a slash has been inserted, and a capital S has been rendered in lower case. That one is easy enough that I can work out what the text is supposed to say. But there are errors of this sort on almost every single page, and Lawrence employs a difficult writing style as it is. These excessive typographical errors significantly detract from the readability of the book.
A second serious problem-- there is not a single map in this book, though Lawrence did include a map in earlier editions. There are points of the story where it is necessary to know where things are situated in order to appreciate what is going on. It got to the point where I found and downloaded some maps from the internet, and taped them inside the covers of my book. I refrenced these maps constantly. The publishers did include some photographs in the back matter, but they were either too cheap or too lazy to include a map.
T.E. Lawrence has written a book that is worth reading (coming from me, that's pretty high praise), but avoid thie error-ridden fly-by-night edition.
Enough said about the original. This book has been around for nearly 100 years.
The text of the Kindle edition is shabby. It appears to have been scanned from a printed text using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software, and it is full of words that don't belong: the word "life" almost invariably appears as "Me" ("the gift of Me" [chapter 3] looks conceited even for this author); and the name "Ali" frequently appears as "Ah'", which complicates the difficulty of tracking the multitude of personal names. There are many other transcription errors to trip the reader. Also, why is the table of contents at the back of the book, where I found it only when I no longer needed it? Come on Amazon. You can do better than that!
Equally fascinating is the book itself. A blend of truth and evasion, the book is told in a beautiful lazy style that suggests it had been thought out with the vast Arabian desert and ancient way of life in mind. It is helpful to have read another account of Lawrence's life, just to be sure of what is happening when he chooses to be vague, but the beauty of the writing and the insight of the keen intelligence from which it springs, is a great delight to experience.
Even more amazing is to realize that after this monumental book was completed, Lawrence left the complete manuscript - the only copy - on the London subway and had to recreate it from scratch using just his notes. This is a remarkable testiment to both his focus when he needed it, and his tendency to be frequently apart from the real world. A remarkable man. A remarkable book. Unique and worthy to be read and enjoyed.
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