Lawrence of Arabia starring Peter O’Toole.

T.E. Lawrence ended up in the military like most young men in England during WWI, but he never really exhibited much respect for the chain of command or the institution of the military. After the higher-ups refused to listen to his prescient warnings or to follow his suggestions on military strategy, Lawrence figured out ways to do what he wanted to do without directly disobeying orders. He was determined to achieve his own ends, even if those ends contradicted those of the British military which they often did. His goal eventually became independence for the Arab people, free from imperial powers including the British. Lawrence not only got away with many of his independent actions, he was rewarded with honors and medals that he could not have cared less about.

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Drawn from Lawrence’s book, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, and his many letters and journals, Scott recreates as best he can the situations Lawrence engineered and his motives, but despite this Lawrence remains a fascinating enigma. Ultimately, Lawrence suffered greatly, both mentally and physically, like countless others involved in the war, but he was also a driven and resourceful figure who gave tremendously to further and support his cause. Scott also follows two other influential men of the time whose paths cross Lawrence’s on occasion and whose stories help to add extra dimensions to the massive worldwide war.

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman. Look for more information in the winter edition of The Explorer. I’m looking forward to meeting with fellow non-fiction readers and working together to create a great reading list for WPL’s newest book club.

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