, often popularly known as Lawrence of Arabia was a unique character and influential military leader. Winston Churchill described him as one of the greatest living people he knew.
"The world looks with some awe upon a man who appears unconcernedly indifferent to home, money, comfort, rank, or even power and fame. The world feels not without a certain apprehension, that here is some one outside its jurisdiction; someone before whom its allurements may be spread in vain; some one strangely enfranchised, untamed, untrammelled by convention, moving independent of the ordinary currents of human action."
-Winston Churchill (3 October 1936); as quoted in Lawrence of Arabia: The Authorized Biography of T.E. Lawrence (1989) by Jeremy M Wilson
Yet, for all his fame T.E. Lawrence remained modest of his achievements.
"I've been & am absurdly over-estimated. There are no supermen & I'm quite ordinary, & will say so whatever the artistic results. In that point I'm one of the few people who tell the truth about myself."
and Lawerence sought to hide from the glare of the media spotlight - even it meant changing his name.
"To have news value is to have a tin can tied to one’s tail."
Letter (1 April 1935); published in The Letters of T.E. Lawrence (1988), edited by Malcolm Brown.Selected Quotes by T.E.Lawrence
"You wonder what I am doing? Well, so do I, in truth. Days seem to dawn, suns to shine, evenings to follow, and then I sleep. What I have done, what I am doing, what I am going to do, puzzle and bewilder me. Have you ever been a leaf and fallen from your tree in autumn and been really puzzled about it? That's the feeling."
- Letter to Eric Kennington (6 May 1935)
"Do not try to do too much with your own hands. Better the Arabs do it tolerably than that you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them. Actually, also, under the very odd conditions of Arabia, your practical work will not be as good as, perhaps, you think it is."
The Evolution of A Revolt (1920)
"Nine-tenths of tactics are certain, and taught in books: but the irrational tenth is like the kingfisher flashing across the pool, and that is the test of generals."
Article in The Army Quarterly and Defence Journal (October 1920) Full text online
"The printing press is the greatest weapon in the armoury of the modern commander..."
"In fifty words: Granted mobility, security (in the form of denying targets to the enemy), time, and doctrine (the idea to convert every subject to friendliness), victory will rest with the insurgents, for the algebraical factors are in the end decisive, and against them perfections of means and spirit struggle quite in vain."
- Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1922)
"This creed of the desert seemed inexpressible in words, and indeed in thought."
"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did."
◦ Introductory Chapter. Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1922)
"Some Englishmen, of whom Kitchener was chief, believed that a rebellion of Arabs against Turks would enable England, while fighting Germany, simultaneously to defeat Turkey. Their knowledge of the nature and power and country of the Arabic-speaking peoples made them think that the issue of such a rebellion would be happy: and indicated its character and method. So they allowed it to begin..."
"The desert was held in a crazed communism by which Nature and the elements were for the free use of every known friendly person for his own purposes and no more."
"Some of the evil of my tale may have been inherent in our circumstances. For years we lived anyhow with one another in the naked desert, under the indifferent heaven. By day the hot sun fermented us; and we were dizzied by the beating wind. At night we were stained by dew, and shamed into pettiness by the innumerable silences of stars. We were a self-centred army without parade or gesture, devoted to freedom, the second of man's creeds, a purpose so ravenous that it devoured all our strength, a hope so transcendent that our earlier ambitions faded in its glare."
- Seven Pillars of Wisdom
"The Beduin could not look for God within him: he was too sure that he was within God."
"Feisal asked me if I would wear Arab clothes like his own while in the camp. I should find it better for my own part, since it was a comfortable dress in which to live Arab-fashion as we must do. "Quotes on T.E.Lawrence
"There is no other man I know who could have achieved what Lawrence did. As for taking undue credit for himself, my own personal experience with Lawrence is that he was utterly unconcerned whether any kudos was awarded him or not."
* Edmund Allenby, commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force to Lowell Thomas.
"I deem him one of the greatest beings alive in our time... We shall never see his like again. His name will live in history. It will live in the annals of war... It will live in the legends of Arabia."
- Winston ChurchillRelatedWiki quote