T. E. Lawrence’s dispatches during the Arab Revolt have been published before, but only in an edited and incomplete form, as they were printed for a strictly limited wartime readership in the Arab Bulletin. Now, in this scholarly edition, they are published in full for the first time. They give us a direct inside view of his dealings with the Arab leaders and show us how he presented them to his superiors in Cairo. These wartime writings reveal vividly his impressions of the periods he spent in the desert and the conditions he found there, and they record how the Arab uprising developed and how he became increasingly involved in it. They make fascinating reading for, in his sometimes outspoken way, he reported on the military potential of the Arab fighters and recommended how they should be supported in their struggle against the Ottoman empire.
This new collection of his dispatches is a valuable addition to the literature on Lawrence for it allows readers to trace the course of the revolt as he wrote about it at the time. They are printed in chronological order with full explanatory notes. The editor Fabrizio Bagatti provides a perceptive introduction which sets them in their wartime context, fills in the military and political background to the strategic situation in the Middle East and describes Lawrence’s important role as an intermediary between the Arabs and the British.