Lawrence of Arabia’s Secret Dispatches during the Arab Revolt, 1915–1919 by Fabrizio Bagatti

Lawrence of Arabia’s Secret Dispatches during the Arab Revolt, 1915–1919 by Fabrizio Bagatti* was just the book I wanted to read these days. I read for my studies about the mandates both from the point of self-determination as a human rights issue and from the view of the Middle East peoples who were organised into countries after WWI which had very little to do with the situation on the ground. So, this book was great for a number of reasons. Firstly it offered me a better insight into the Middle East and the relation Britain had with Feisal and the Arabs. On top of that, reading primary sources with such good and clear commentary is fantastic. I am highly recommending this book to anyone who is studying this period.

Lawrence of Arabia’s Secret Dispatches during the Arab Revolt, 1915–1919 by Fabrizio Bagatti

But this can be interesting for people who just like history and would want to know more about this troubled time in the 20th century history. Lawrence’s dispatches were published before, but this is the first time they are published in full. Reading his views and what was expected of him to talk about was fascinating. It makes for a good read for anyone with an interest in intelligence too. Some of the things he said were not-PC at all, especially about the Kurds. Other things showed profound insight into how they operate, for example, comparing the Turkish army with the Arab army. Furthermore, he talks about things like prices and how that affected food shortages for both humans and camels.

The dispatches are printed in chronological order and each one has an explanatory note, to put it in context. The book is very well structured and I enjoyed reading it. I’m going to share three quotes from the book:

“A difference in character between the Turkish and Arab armies, is, that the more you distribute the former the weaker they become, and the more you distribute the latter the stronger they become.”

“The Germans preached Jehad the first few months of the war, till they saw that the idea had fallen flat. … Of religious fanaticism I found little trace.”

“The Arabs are fighting for their life, and the liberty of their race, not for territorial ambitions.”

Lawrence of Arabia’s Secret Dispatches during the Arab Revolt, 1915–1919 by Fabrizio Bagatti

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Pen & Sword Military
Year it was published: 2021
Format: Hardback
Genre(s): History – Middle East
Pages: 272

About the author: Fabrizio Bagatti is Professor of Literary Translation at the Università degli Studi Internazionali in Rome and a former chief editor at Giunti Publishing Group in Florence. Among his many translations from English to Italian are works by R.L. Stevenson, Herman Melville, Joseph Conrad, Stephen Crane, Charles Dickens and T.E. Lawrence. He has had a long-standing interest in Lawrence’s life and writings and his recent research into Lawrence’s desert dispatches led to this first complete publication of them.
Website & Social Media Links: Pen and Sword

*I was sent a copy of Lawrence of Arabia’s Secret Dispatches during the Arab Revolt, 1915–1919 by Fabrizio Bagatti for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.



4 thoughts on “Lawrence of Arabia’s Secret Dispatches during the Arab Revolt, 1915–1919 by Fabrizio Bagatti”

  • Yet another period/place in history about which I know very little. If I ever saw the 1962 film, I know I didn’t appreciate its history (nor do I know how accurate it was).

    This sounds like it would be an excellent introduction to the events of that time.

    I’m not sure any nation (or people) doesn’t have something in their past of which they should be ashamed. Sadly, it seems to be the nature of humanity.
    Kelly recently posted…Mandingo by Kyle OnstottMy Profile

    • It is a fascinating part of history and part of the world, and, for us in the west, poorly understood too. These dispatches offer a fascinating way of looking at those events, especially as he loved so much the Middle East. For me it was fascinating to read about Feisal, as I researched for an essay about the Syrian request independence in 1919.

  • The Middle East is another one of those parts of the World, where we Brits haven’t exactly covered ourselves with glory over the years – In fact is there anywhere we haven’t completely screwed things up? —– I can always remember my FIL telling us how he survived Dunkirk and was sent to Palestine for a bit of easy peace-keeping duty, whilst he waited for his de-mob date to come through. He said he got closer to being killed there than anywhere in Europe, as the British ‘peacekeeping’ force were being shot at by both sides!! —- I liked your choice of quotes, maybe not the obvious ones, but ones which resonated with you personally!! —- Have a good weekend 🙂
    Yvonne (@Fiction_Books) recently posted…Rebecca’s Choiceby Heidi GallacherReviewMy Profile

    • Aww, yes, the quotes are not obvious, but they stood out for me.
      Looking back at history is very tricky, for all countries, not only UK. It can seem that the situation is somehow worse here, but that is mainly because there are many more historians and it is a country with free speech. The things I found out recently about Romania’s past that were hidden by the communists, regarding Jews and other minorities… it’s awful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.