A perfect prelude to Revolt in the Desert May 31, 2007
In ?With Lawrence in Arabia,? author Lowell Thomas recounts his experiences as perhaps one of the world?s earlier ?imbedded? journalists. Along with his photographer Henry .A. Chase, Thomas captures the exploits of T.E. Lawrence in typical 1920?s journalistic fashion.
There is little doubt that Lawrence?s eloquence and mastery of the English language in no small part rubbed off on the previously lurid muckraker journalist.<p>
Compared with Lawrence?s own book ?Revolt in the Desert,? Thomas clarifies much that Lawrence assumes the reader to know. I would suggest ?With Lawrence...? be read as a prologue to ?Revolt in the Desert,? or, if you are a more ambitious reader ?Seven Pillars of Wisdom.? Thomas?s book will certainly be helpful in the tribal, historical and geographical information otherwise lacking in Lawrence?s work.
In the book?s closing chapters Thomas?s thoughts are as ominous as they are prophetic to read them today. To know that they were written in the 1923 belies our ignorance of the past and our reluctance to learn from it:
? We of the West are prone to underestimate the importance of Mohammedanism: one day there may be a rude awakening, for it is the creed of on fifth of the world and is an active and proselytizing creed making converts in London as well as equatorial Africa.
Like the waves of unrest and religious fervor and splendid hope that passed through Christendom at the time of the crusades, so now, from Sudan to Sumatra, there are ominous signs of another and darker movement?
If Thomas?s own words reveal such a concern, perhaps there is no less apprehension suggested in the quotes of Lawrence himself:
?It would show a lack of humour if we reproved them (the Arabs) for a battle near Damascus? while we were battles near Bagdad, and trying to render the Mesopotamians incapable of self-government, by smashing every head that raised itself among them.?