Men You Wish You Were: T.E. Lawrence

You may recognize him as Lawrence of Arabia, but the real life man is closer to another film icon. T.E. Lawrence is probably the closest you could ever get to finding the real life Indiana Jones.

“All men dream; but not equally.”
-T.E. Lawrence

You may recognize him as Lawrence of Arabia, but the real life man is closer to another film icon. T.E. Lawrence is probably the closest you could ever get to finding the real life Indiana Jones.  Lawrence was an insatiable adventurer and was fascinated by medieval history.  He hated his celebrity persona, going as far as to go by several different aliases throughout his life.

As a teen, he biked across France drawing historic landmarks he visited along his way.  He was an expert mechanic and loved anything that had enough horsepower, especially motorcycles.  While in college, he visited the Middle East and went on a 3-month 1,100 mile walking tour of crusade-era castles in Syria, alone.  After graduating he became an archaeologist (of course) and with the outbreak of World War I he volunteered to join the British army.  All while only standing 5’5”.

Lawrence’s love of the Middle East and Muslim culture would go on to make him a legend, as he became something of a one-man representative of the entire Western World during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire.  Lawrence was a key figure during the revolt, rising to the rank of Lt. Colonel and fighting alongside Grand Sharif Hussein bin Ali (the great-grandfather of fellow MYWYW King Hussein bin Talal) and Prince Faisal, with whom he would form a life-long friendship.

After the war, Lawrence worked tirelessly to help create an independent Arab state in the Middle East.   Even going so far as to refuse any medals of recognition from the British government in protest of their colonial policies.  It wouldn’t be until 1921 when a blueprint for Arab independence would be set up by British authorities.

T.E. Lawrence was a man of few vices.  He was a strict vegetarian (I like him anyway) and never touched alcohol or tobacco.  Speed was the one thing Lawrence could not get enough of.  Lawrence was killed when he crashed his motorcycle returning home one evening.  Police estimated he was traveling just under 100 Mph at the time of the crash, the bike’s maximum speed.

Read more about T.E. Lawrence

http://www.pbs.org/lawrenceofarabia/index.html

http://telawrence.info/telawrenceinfo/index.htm

Kevin H. MacLean currently resides in Brooklyn, NY where he enjoys people watching, writing, and dominating all comers in four-square. You can keep tabs on him at his blog http://ratedwrong.com/.

  • Toby

    “T.E. Lawrence was a man of few vices” – I think you left off an indefinite article…one of his vices at least was most esoteric.

  • Eli

    Indiana Jones mostly dabbled in Biblical history through his studies in archeology. His father studied medieval literature.

  • Kevin

    I cannot believe you just out nerded me on “Indiana Jones”, Eli. Honestly, hats off.

  • Eli

    No time for love, Dr. Jones.

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention T.E. Lawrence | Primer -- Topsy.com

  • Jess

    Lawrence also had a reputation as something of a transvestite if I recall correctly. Although I guess I don’t blame you glossing it over for an article about what a manly man he was.

    • http://www.primermagazine.com Andrew

      Jess, I’ve never read that, and the interwebs don’t produce any concrete info to support it.

  • Ricky Bobby

    His deadliest warrior episode made him look better then he really is