Book review: Lawrence of Arabia’s War: The Arabs, the British and the Remaking of the Middle East in WW1, by Neil Faulkner.

The story of the young war hero has historically captivated Western readers for decades. However, in the recent past, there have been calls to engage more deeply with the lesser-known histories and broader participants in the First World War. In this context, Sneha Reddy argues that Faulkner’s book goes in the other direction and shifts the spotlight back to Lawrence by making him the central focus of his study. Nonetheless, she adds, for a book that is a result of a ten-year endeavour, ending in 2014, to study modern conflict archaeology as part of the Great Arab Revolt Project, it is uniquely placed.

Author: Sneha Reddy is a PhD student at the School of International Relations in the University of St Andrews. Her research focuses on French North African and British Indian soldiers in the First World War in the Middle East.

Review on publisher’s site here
Author’s e-print link
Article DOI

Conference: The Great War in the Middle East 1911-1923, 20-21 April 2016

This conference marks the one hundredth anniversary year of the Arab Revolt, a significant event in the region during the Great War and after, but not, of course, an indicator of the allegiances of many Arabs who remained on the Ottoman side until 1918. The military success of the Arab Revolt was squandered in 1919-25 by the failure of the Arabs to remain united, and European peace-making, while laudable, sought to break up the region for its own interests.

The conference is focussed on the contrasts and confluences of military operations and peace-making in the Middle East between 1915 and 1922. Scholars are invited from a cross section of international institutions, seeking to return the Middle East and the Western Empires to their proper place in the history of that war, not as sideshows, but as important theatres in their own right. Oxford is well placed for this endeavour, with its Middle East Studies Centre, large numbers of scholars working in this field, and strong links with the modern Middle East.

The first two days of the conference will take place at RMA Sandhurst, the third day will take place in Oxford.

Further information will be posted here when available.