Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to B. H. Liddell Hart
Alas, I got The Real War weeks ago. From before that date till now I have not opened a book to read it. The weather?Malaise? A great deal to do? Odyssey? I do not know: there are so many causes.
I was at the Shaws' last week end, and they asked if I was reading it, saying it was particularly good in its characters of generals. I expect it is. O for a wet week, to drive me back upon books again! Only in the summer time, by fits and starts, books seem impossible things.
Arab reactions to air bombing? I think they feel our own intense irritation and vain rage at an attack to which there can be no response. There is something cold, chilling, impersonally fateful, about air bombing. It is not punishment, but a misfortune from heaven striking the community.
The R.A.F. recognises this, and bombs only after 24 hours notice given. So the damage falls only on immovables.
It is of course infinitely more merciful than police or military action, as hardly anyone is ever killed - and the killed are as likely to be negligible women and children, as the really important men. Only this is too oriental a mood for us to feel very clearly. An Arab would rather offer up his wife than himself, to expiate a civil offence!
|Last revised:||28 October 2008|
T. E. Lawrence chronology
1888 16 August: born at Tremadoc, Wales
1896-1907: City of Oxford High School for Boys
1907-9: Jesus College, Oxford, B.A., 1st Class Hons, 1909
1910-14: Magdalen College, Oxford (Senior Demy), while working at the British Museum's excavations at Carchemish
1915-16: Military Intelligence Dept, Cairo
1916-18: Liaison Officer with the Arab Revolt
1919: Attended the Paris Peace Conference
1919-22: wrote Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1921-2: Adviser on Arab Affairs to Winston Churchill at the Colonial Office
1922 August: Enlisted in the Ranks of the RAF
1923 January: discharged from the RAF
1923 March: enlisted in the Tank Corps
1923: translated a French novel, The Forest Giant
1924-6: prepared the subscribers' abridgement of Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1927-8: stationed at Karachi, then Miranshah
1927 March: Revolt in the Desert, an abridgement of Seven Pillars, published
1928: completed The Mint, began translating Homer's Odyssey
1929-33: stationed at Plymouth
1931: started working on RAF boats
1932: his translation of the Odyssey published
1933-5: attached to MAEE, Felixstowe
1935 February: retired from the RAF
1935 19 May: died from injuries received in a motor-cycle crash on 13 May
1935 21 May: buried at Moreton, Dorset