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Now that you mention it: Lawrence of Arabia - the Lost Critic and the Legend (Dining with Al Qaeda, February 28, 2013)
The one thing I couldn't persuade the publishers of Dining with al-Qaeda to change as we edited the text was their leading phrase in the jacket-sleeve blurb, which referred to the author as "Following in the footsteps of Sir Richard Burton and Lawrence of Arabia ..."

In January, for the magazine The Majalla, I finally got to write down the full reason why I felt a reference to Lawrence wasn't appropriate for a book like mine, which is in large part about how difficult it is to set facts straight about the Middle East. I've complained about modern journalists who claim to be strictly reporting what happened and yet do not always stick to the non-fiction high road (more here). "Faction" is of course not uncommon - some books of Ryszard Kapuściński were so light-footed they were dubbed "magical journalism" (more here). To be sure, both Kapuściński  and Lawrence appear to have told their friends that they were not trying to recount plodding facts. But the problem for me remains that most people don't realise that, and most publishers are not in a rush to tell them.


Then one recent day in Edinburgh, I came across the plain black cover of the first edition of Richard Aldington's Lawrence of Arabia: A Biographical Enquiry, a book I had never heard of. Here, in the folds of what I judged was measured prose, was concealed a jeweled dagger of a polemic. It led me into a whole world of debate about the Lawrence story--the great film, the (lack of) sex, his genius, his psychology--of which I am no scholar. But Aldington's arguments did ring startlingly true as he portrayed Lawrence as one of my bugbears, a writer who exploits the confusion and magical reputation of the Middle East to play fast and loose with the facts.

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 3rd, 2013 at 11:58:26 AM EST
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