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Setting The Desert On Fire: T.E. Lawrence and Britain's Secret War in Arabia 1916-18

The myth of T.E. Lawrence single-handedly leading his loyal band of fighters to victory obscures the intricate story behind the British-backed Arab Revolt of 1916. In this groundbreaking book, drawing on research in Britain, France and the Middle East, James Barr retells the story as the international drama it really is. A wide range of characters, including Ronald Storrs (a laid-back bureaucrat with a passion for collecting oriental antiquities), Sherif Husein (the enigmatic Arab leader), his malleable younger son Feisal (Lawrence's comrade in arms), and Sir Mark Sykes and Francois Picot (the joint architects of the Anglo-French agreement that shaped the destiny of the Middle East to this day) and Lawrence himself, all take the stage. Their ambitions, rivalries and underhand actions are the subject of this riveting new book that argues that for the British the primary purpose of the revolt was to hinder the Ottomans' call for the pan-Islamic jihad that they feared would threaten their Empire. The bitter legacy of the conflict that followed lives on with us today.

James Barr graduated from Oxford with a first in Modern History, went on to write leaders for the Daily Telegraph and now works in the City.

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