"ONE OF THE MOST ICONIC FIGURES OF THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY": T. E. LAWRENCE'S FIRST PUBLICATION IN BOOK FORM, THE WILDERNESS OF ZIN
LAWRENCE, T.E., WOOLLEY, C. LEONARD. Palestine Exploration Fund, [1914-1915]. The Wilderness of Zin (Archaeological Report.). (London): Published by Order of the Committee, . Tall quarto (8-3/4 by 11-1/4 inches), original half navy cloth and gray paper boards. $1650.
First edition, first issue, of "the first of Lawrence's books to appear in book form," with large folding plan, seven full-page maps, plans and illustrations, 37 photographic plates and nearly 60 in-text illustrations, a handsome copy.
"During January and February 1914, Lawrence and Woolley, in the company of a British Army surveying detachment led by Capt. Newcombe, under the guise of an archaeological survey, mapped the Negev region of the Sinai Peninsula, then under Turkish suzerainty. The British sought updated maps for the war they felt was coming. To complete the fiction of archaeological work, Woolley and Lawrence wrote The Wilderness of Zin, the first of Lawrence's works to appear in book form" (O'Brien, 6). Their stated assignment was "to trace ancient caravan routes, identify Biblical sites, and generally find out what they could about the historical development of a hitherto seldom explored region" (James, Golden Warrior, 76). Lawrence, however, would write that Kitchener "insisted on the Palestine Exploration Fund's bringing out its record of our archaeological researching, p.d.q. as a whitewash" (O'Brien, 6). Lawrence remains "one of the most iconic figures of the early 20th century… As General Allenby, chief British commander in the Middle East during WWI, noted, Lawrence was first among equals: 'There is no other man I know,' he asserted, 'who could have achieved what Lawrence did'" (Smithsonian). First issue with "." after "1914-1915" on spine. Introduction by Lawrence. The maps were compiled by "Lawrence from the Survey materials drawn out by B.V. Darbishire. The plates are from photographs taken by both authors." With two rear leaves of publisher's advertisements; without rare glassine. O'Brien A004C. Meyers 1.
Interior very fresh, rear inner paper hinge expertly reinforced, mild toning to spine of original cloth, a bit of rubbing to boards. A desirable near-fine copy.