The Arab Revolt of 1916-1918, when the disparate tribes of Arabia rose up as one great force to defeat an empire, was one of the most turbulent periods in the history of the Middle East and a pivotal element of the Middle Eastern arena of World War I. It sounded the death knell for the Ottoman Empire and paved the way for a new colonial power in the region - the British. It was T.E. Lawrence, a young army officer with a brilliant military mind and unmatched knowledge of the region and the Arab people, who - alongside the charismatic Faisal I - led the Revolt. These were epic events that changed the shape of the Middle East and affected Lawrence for the rest of his life. His magnificent first-hand account of the period is now a classic of 20th century literature. Revolt in the Desert, the abridged and far more accessible edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdom, became an instant bestseller when it was first published in 1927.
T. E. Lawrence was born in 1888. Educated at Oxford, he was later made a research fellow of All Souls College. During the First World War he was attached to the Hejaz Expeditionary Force and later transferred to General Allenby's staff. In 1921 he became Advisor on Arab Affairs in the Colonial Office. In 1927, uncomfortable with his 'Lawrence of Arabia' legend, Lawrence changed his name to Shaw and joined the RAF. He was killed in a motobike accident in 1935 at the age of 47. Author of the classic Seven Pillars of Wisdom - his famed account of the Arab Revolt - Lawrence also wrote a prose translation of Homer's Odyssey and was the author of 'Crusader Castles' and 'The Mint'.