Cover image for The young T.E. Lawrence
The young T.E. Lawrence
Sattin, Anthony., author.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Young Lawrence
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W.W. Norton & Company, 2015.
Physical Description:
xiii, 316 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
General Note:
"First published in Great Britain under the title Young Lawrence : a portrait of the legend as a young man"--Title page verso.
The first spark -- The young scholar. Landing ; Origins ; Father confessor ; On foot and alone ; A glorious country for wandering in ; Pushing the boundaries -- The young archaeologist. Forgotten far off things ; The apprentice ; The wanderer after sensations ; If the Italians permit ; Because he loves us ; An old story ; The happiest time, the richest dig ; Gathering storm ; Eating lotos -- The young spy. A splendid trip ; Another step, a long way ; Shooting and burning ; Of Arabia -- An unpeaceful peace.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D568.4.L45 S28 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Popular Materials-Biography
D568.4.L45 S28 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Lawrence of Arabia's heroism during the Arab revolt and his disgust at the subsequent betrayal of the Arabs in the postwar negotiations have become the stuff of legend. But T. E. Lawrence's adventures in the Levant began long before the outbreak of war. This intimate biography is the first to focus on Lawrence in his twenties, the untold story of the awkward archaeologist from Oxford who, on first visiting "The East," fell in love with Arab culture and found his life's mission.

Few people realize that Lawrence's classic autobiography, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, was not the first book to carry that iconic title. Lawrence himself burned his original draft. Anthony Sattin here uncovers the story Lawrence wanted to conceal: the truth of his birth, his tortuous relationship with a dominant mother, his deep affection for an Arab boy, and the personal reasons that drove him from student to spy.

Drawing on surviving letters, diaries, and accounts from close confidantes, Sattin brings a biographer's eye for detail and a travel writer's verve to Lawrence's extraordinary journeys through the region with which his name is forever connected. In a masterful parallel narrative, The Young T. E. Lawrence charts the maturation of the man and the incipient countries he treasured, both coming of age at a time when the world's foundations were coming undone.

Author Notes

Anthony Sattin is an award-winning journalist and the author of several acclaimed history and travel books. He has been traveling in the Middle East for more than twenty years. He lives in London.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Sattin (Lifting the Veil), a travel writer with an extensive background in the Middle East, approaches the oft-profiled T.E. Lawrence from a new angle, focusing exclusively on the first half of Lawrence's life, prior to the events that would make him famous. He wonders "how the second son of a quiet, comfortably off, apparently unexceptional Oxford family came to play a role-any role-in the Arab uprising." An enterprising and brilliant archaeologist with a taste for adventure, Lawrence spent several formative years on a dig at Carchemish (on the modern Turkey-Syria frontier) and made a number of exploratory treks around the region. Noting the extent to which Lawrence? adopted local culture, Sattin points out that he was, by Arab standards, "an extremely unusual [man] for being wealthy and still wanting to walk alone, in the remote countryside, in the summer." Brief and engaging, the book makes extensive use of Lawrence's correspondence with his parents, brothers, and colleagues. Sattin argues that Lawrence fought for Arab self-determination because he viewed it as "an acceptable present for the man he had loved," a teenager who taught him Arabic at Carchemish and died in late 1916 or early 1917, probably of typhus. Agent: Melanie Jackson, Melanie Jackson Agency. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Starred Review. The dramatic exploits of T.E. Lawrence (1888-1935) during World War I are widely known; however, journalist Sattin (The Gates of Africa) reaches further back; his engaging portrait covers the maturation of the young Lawrence and illuminates his intellectual and emotional connections with Arab culture. Sattin avoids glib psychological speculation but links Lawrence's upbringing in a self-isolating and unconventional family to his happiness living in a vastly different world. The work demonstrates how Lawrence's ability to earn broad respect as a university student, an archaeologist, and an expert on the disintegrating Ottoman Empire prepared him for an important role when Britain opened a Middle Eastern front in World War I. Sattin read widely in letters and memoirs by Lawrence and his colleagues, as well as numerous secondary sources, to create a convincing explanation of his subject's emergence as a leader who combined intense focus and discipline, physical bravery and endurance, and cultural understanding. VERDICT Recommended as an insightful, gracefully written, and sensitive account that explains how a shy, private young man developed into a widely known and revered "hero" who was never comfortable with his fame. [See Prepub Alert, 7/21/14.]-Elizabeth Hayford, formerly with Associated Coll. of the Midwest, Evanston, IL (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Mapsp. ix
A Note on Spelling and Transliterationp. xiii
Prologue: The First Sparkp. 1
Part I The Young Scholar
1 Landingp. 13
2 Originsp. 18
3 Father Confessorp. 30
4 On Foot and Alonep. 37
5 A Glorious Country for Wandering Inp. 50
6 Pushing the Boundariesp. 69
Part II The Young Archaeologist
7 Forgotten Far Off Thingsp. 81
8 The Apprenticep. 95
9 The Wanderer After Sensationsp. 117
10 If the Italians Permitp. 133
11 Because Lie Loves Usp. 158
12 An Old Storyp. 169
13 The Happiest Time, the Richest Digp. 177
14 Gathering Stormp. 190
15 Eating Lotosp. 199
Part III The Young Spy
16 A Splendid Tripp. 219
17 Another Seep, a Long Wayp. 236
18 Shooting and Burningp. 246
19 Of Arabiap. 253
Epilogue: An Unpeaceful Peacep. 260
Acknowledgementsp. 267
Copyright Acknowledgementsp. 271
Notesp. 273
Bibliographyp. 295
Indexp. 30