To this day, the fascination with Lawrence continues. Including my own, there have now been over 300 books written about him, with no one able to say definitively what made the man. There is far too much ambiguity and complexity for that.

Page 295

In a nutshell


Thomas Edward Lawrence was first posted as an archaeologist in Arabia in 1909. By the time he left in 1919 he had gained the trust of the tribes that lived there, fought alongside and led guerilla forces during the Arab Revolt, and  journeyed 600 miles through blistering heat to capture Akaba. Thereafter he was involved in the peace conferences that decided the future of the Middle East before his untimely death at forty-six years old. 

In this T.E Lawrence biography, Ranulph Fiennes uses his own experiences of leading troops into battle on the Arabian peninsula, to offer true insight into what Lawrence’s life in Arabia was like.

Book Club Notes


The first book of Ranulph Fiennes I read was Shackleton. At the time, Ernest Shakleton’s story wasn’t one that I had a personal interest in but I really enjoyed the book and the way Fiennes had structured the historical accounts and research into a story.

I remember watching the Lawrence of Arabia film when I was very young but didn’t recall his story or his role in Middle Eastern history. This book perfectly fills in all the gaps. It’s history told in a way that makes you feel like you’re travelling through time with Lawrence, watching him in action. 

Ranulph Fiennes has a great way of retelling the stories of captivating historical figures in a way that feels both historical and personal. The way he weaves his personal experience into these stories is always thoughtful, contextual and adds credence to the story.

Read If


You’re interested in history, specifically Middle Eastern and wars.

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Readability – 8/10
Writing – 9/10
Likeability – 9/10
Purpose – 7/10
Shareability – 5/10
7.0Overall Score

The Nitty Gritty


Published by: Penguin Random House

Genre: Non-Fiction History Biography

ISBN: 978-0-241-45062-8

Pages: 300

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A note on our book ratings

Readability: How easy is it to read what the author is saying? 

Writing: How well written is the book? Do you find yourself wowed by the writing or unimpressed?

Likeability: Are the characters likeable, relatable, imparting something of value?

Purpose: Is there a clear purpose to the story being shared or is it better suited as a personal project for a family keepsake?

Shareability: How likely are you to share the book?

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