Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

InLawrence of Arabia, Alistair MacLean describes the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire that took place from 1916 to 1918. The British supported the Arab rebellion, as it assisted their efforts to prevent Turkish aggression against Egypt and the Suez Canal during World War I. In the book’s first chapter, MacLean outlines a brief history of Arabia, leading up to the conflict and Great Britain’s involvement with it in World War I. In the second chapter, MacLean moves to a discussion of Thomas Edward Lawrence himself, describing his birth in 1888, his childhood and college years in Oxford, England, his prewar archaeological work in Syria, and his posting to the Cairo war office in 1914. The next eight chapters detail Lawrence’s activities as part of the Arab revolt from 1916 to 1918. MacLean attributes much of the revolt’s successful sabotage of the Turkish military to Lawrence’s ingenuity and almost superhuman endurance. The last chapter offers the reader a quick review of the four postwar years during which Lawrence worked to forge a peaceful settlement in the Middle East.

The specific interest of Lawrence of Arabia begins with the description of Lawrence’s meeting with Emir Feisal ibn Hussein. The book then reports the most noted events of the Arab revolt’s campaign. Highlights of the Arab revolt include the tak-ing of ‘Aqaba, the engagement and defeat of the enemy at Tafileh, and the bloody massacre at Tafas. The...

(The entire section is 440 words.)