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ELT 44 : 3 2001 artist, struggled to make himself articulate, and then fought for the freedom to be himself. The painful memories lasted longest—his first two decades as a novelist when his books were banned one after another by the circulating libraries, in a concerted attempt to stamp him out as a professional man of letters. One can have but few quarrels with Frazier's work. I do question the editorial selection of the black and white illustrations, which are quite uneven in quality, and in certain instances almost indecipherable. In a narrative that covers as much ground as this one, some elements tend to get repeated; but in the main the narrative flows smoothly, and the footnotes are extraordinarily authoritative, ample testament to the thoroughness of the author's research. His summation on the last two pages is excellent, including his decision to let Max Beerbohm—who had so often found GM a subject for caricature—have the last words, about Moore's honesty and courage and reverence for art nobly done. In all, as a contemporary biography, this is a superb piece of scholarship . As a study of George Moore's life and times, it will be the benchmark for years to come. Thomas C. Ware University of Tennessee, Chattanooga New T. E. Lawrence Biography Michael Asher. Lawrence: The Uncrowned King of Arabia. Woodstock: Overlook Press, 1999. xiii + 419 pp. $37.95 THE T. E. LAWRENCE field now boasts more than fifty biographies and many additional specialized academic studies, testimony to the fact that Lawrence has become a permanent cultural fixture. Of those fifty-plus biographies, only a few stand out in retrospect. Lowell Thomas's With Lawrence in Arabia (1924), Robert Graves's Lawrence and the Arabs (1927), and Liddell Hart's 'T E. Lawrence': In Arabia and After ( 1934) are notable not for their accuracy, but because their writers knew Lawrence. Richard Aldington's Lawrence of Arabia: A Biographical Enquiry (1955) remains fascinating for its obsessive attempt to shatter the Lawrence images created by Thomas, Graves and Liddell Hart. Phillip Knightley and Colin Simpson's Secret Lives of Lawrence of Arabia (1969) attempted to make the case that Lawrence was an imperialist , thus countering Aldington's view that he was too pro-Arab. Knightley and Simpson's book also offered important new documentary evidence and testimony concerning the Deraa incident and Lawrence's 350 BOOK REVIEWS flagellation obsession. More recently, John Mack's APrince of Our Disorder (1976) and Jeremy Wilson's authorized biography (1989) have set new standards for depth of research, accuracy, and sobriety. There have also been many excellent specialist studies by literary scholars, including most recently the late Fred Crawford's examination of the Aldington controversy and Joel Hudson's look at the American dimensions of the Lawrence myth. Recent historical works which tangentially but usefully bear on the Lawrence story are Yigal Sheffy's British Military Intelligence in the Palestine Campaign 1914-1918(1998), Eliezer Tauber's The Arab Movements in World War I (1993), and Efraim and Inari Karsh's revisionist Empires of the Sand: the Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East 1789-1923 (1999). How does Michael Asher's Lawrence: The Uncrowned King of Arabia fare against this background of serious recent biographies and specialized studies? Asher's is a crisply written skeptical biography which, on the basis of Asher's own travels in the area and some (but not much) archival work, critically examines Lawrence's military and travel claims. It is a good read, particularly in its descriptive passages, and makes some worthwhile points. But while it may be unfair to blame an author for a publisher 's blurb, the jacket statement that the book "for the first time removes a cloud of film from Lawrence's life" is exaggerated. In fact, the knowledgeable reader will find that Asher's book makes only a modest addition to our understanding of Lawrence's life and work. Despite the fact that Asher is a noted British explorer, the author of a biography of British desert traveler Wilfred Thesiger and several other books, and co-host of the documentary film In Search of Lawrence, his book does not...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 350-353
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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