10 hours ago
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Book Report Day- Hero, by Michael Korda
David Lean's 1962 classic Lawrence of Arabia is my all time favorite movie. I remember clearly the afternoon my aunt dropped us off at the theater with a dollar apiece telling us she'd be back. We believed her too.
Ever since, Lawrence has been my idol, without my having any true understanding who he was or what he did. Fast forward to 2011 and Michael Korda has changed that.
Korda's new book, Hero: The life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia is a must read for the history and military buffs amongst us. I admit to a bias. I'd enjoy reading Korda's grocery lists if he published them.
As Korda makes clear, Lawrence will always remain an enigma. Yet he was a born leader, an academic, aesthete, fearless and impervious to deprivation. He studied military tactics and marksmanship as a child.
The guerrilla war tactics, he invented, the ruling families he selected and the fledgling map of the Middle East he sought to impose, after the breakup of the Ottoman Empire continue to vex the world.
My sole disagreement with Mr. Korda is with his description of Lawrence's most lasting work, Seven Pillar's of Wisdom, as one of the greatest books ever written about war. Admittedly, this reflects more upon me, but try as I might, I can't plough my way through it. Maybe next year.
Hero is a great story told well, and a perfect winter read. Give it a go.