T. E. Lawrence became world-famous as 'Lawrence of Arabia', after helping Sherif Hussein of Mecca gain independence from Turkey during the Arab Revolt of 1916-18. His achievements, however, would have been impossible without the unsung efforts of a forgotten band of fellow officers and spies. This groundbreaking account by Philip Walker interweaves the compelling stories of Colonel Cyril Wilson and a colourful supporting cast with the narrative of Lawrence and the
desert campaign. These men's lost tales provide a remarkable and fresh perspective on Lawrence and the Arab Revolt.
While Lawrence and others blew up trains in the desert, Wilson and his men carried out their shadowy intelligence and diplomatic work. His deputies rooted out anti-British jihadists who were trying to sabotage the revolt. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Lionel Gray, a cipher officer, provided a gateway into unknown aspects of the revolt through his previously unpublished photographs and eyewitness writings. Wilson's crucial influence underpinned all these missions and steadied the revolt on a number of
occasions when it could have collapsed. Without Wilson and his circle there would have been no 'Lawrence of Arabia'.
Yet Wilson's band mostly fell through the cracks of history into obscurity. "Behind the Lawrence Legend" reveals their vital impact and puts Lawrence's efforts into context, thus helping to set the record straight for one of the most beguiling and iconic characters of the twentieth century.
Philip Walker is an historian and a retired archaeologist who spent many years working for English Heritage. He has travelled in Libya, Palestine, Morocco, Xinjiang (the Muslim far west of China), and other parts of Central Asia. He lives in Cambridge and this is his first book.
LIST OF MAPS; A NOTE ON THE TEXT; PREFACE; ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS; ENDNOTES; BIBLIOGRAPHY; INDEX