Recently I picked up a second hand copy of The Letters of TE Lawrence. Such food for thought and such inspiration for blog posts!
When I talk about doing research, especially historical, I encourage people to get as close to source material as possible. Every time something passes through another person’s hands it gets sifted, sorted, sometimes changed to suit that person’s purposes. (Like Harold Owen producing an altered version of his brother Wilfred’s citation for the MC.)
The previous impression I’d gained of Lawrence was from films and from a short biography I read, along with casual references in books about other people. It was a complete eye opener to see him via his own words and it’s made me take some of the other things I’d “known” about him with a great pinch of salt. Even in his own lifetime people (mainly in the media) were making up a load of nonsense about him. Some of that nonsense persists, along with the inevitable conspiracy theories.
I also am now certain that the estate agent lied to us (there’s a surprise!) when we went to see a house in Dibden Purlieu that he said had belonged to Lawrence. Lucky we didn’t but it.