Lawrence in Arabia by Scott Anderson

Lawrence in Arabia by Scott AndersonLawrence in Arabia
by Scott Anderson
(pub. 8/13)

The title with the underscored In is telling because is this book is more about the events in the Middle East during World War I than an addition to the bulging shelf of T. E. Lawrence biographies.  Although that near-mythical figure plays a central role, the book focuses on the complex political and military maneuvers among then European Great Powers.  In addition to Lawrence, German diplomat/spy Curt Prurer,  Zionist Aaron Aaronsohn and William Yale, an American who simultaneously acted on behalf of his American oil company employer while advising governments.   As the history moves to its ultimately disastrous conclusion, the author speculates on how a much more positive outcome might have evolved had Lawrence’s vision of an independent Arab state been realized.  This is a penetrating new look at an era that continues to influence today’s news.

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Joe – Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville
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Dam Busters by James Holland

Dam Busters by James HollandDam Busters
by James Holland
(pub. 11/13)

This fascinating history describes the destruction of two key hydroelectric dams in Germany’s industrial heartland during World War II. The reader meets the courageous British airmen who carried out the raid, using weapons developed specifically for this purpose by a group of brilliant scientists and military planners.  The author brings the era to life with lucid descriptions of the technical challenges, as well as the rich portraits of  the people involved.  Although the attack was extremely important contributor to the Allied victory, the dam raid has not received the attention it deserves until this detailed account.  Complete with maps, illustrations and a postscript that tells what happened to the principal participants during the reminder of the war and beyond.

Recommended by:
Joe – Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville
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