Cairo: Government Press and Survey of Egypt, 1919. First edition. Wraps. This is the record of the First World War’s Egyptian Expeditionary Force and their actions on the Near Eastern front. This text contains unattributed accounts by T. E. Lawrence (1888-1935), who found fame as instigator, organizer, hero, and tragic figure of the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, which he began as an eccentric junior intelligence officer and ended as "Lawrence of Arabia."
The copy is complete, intact, and unrestored, in good plus overall condition, particularly given the origin and inherent fragility of the binding. The buff card covers are soiled and toned but firmly attached and nearly complete, with only a tiny loss at the front cover fore edge. The linen spine shows wear along the hinges and spine ends, but remains intact with the spine print still clearly legible. The contents are surprisingly bright and clean. Spotting is mild and appears confined to the first and final leaves. The only reportable defect to the contents is a tiny loss to the fore edges (corresponding to that on the front cover fore edge) spanning the frontispiece through page 21. The profusion of full-page, color maps are all present. This copy features interesting provenance. The sole previous ownership mark is three lines inked at the upper right of the title page. The inked name is difficult to decipher, maybe “David H. Shaw”. The two lines inked below seem clearer “Lt. – 39 – Indian Mountain | Battery.”
“This book contains the order of battle and the campaign maps for the Near Eastern front of which Lawrence’s campaign was a part. Two pieces of text were written by Lawrence. The book is not always recognized as containing Lawrence’s work, as the pieces are unsigned.” Together with the reports in the Arab Bulletin and in The Times, Lawrence’s contributions to this book are “his first published accounts of the Arab campaign. The publisher, The Palestine News, was the official newspaper of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force and was edited by H. Pirie-Gordon” (O’Brien, A011, p.14)
Created in 1916 to guard the Suez Canal, the Egyptian Expeditionary Force was an archetypal multi-ethnic, multinational British imperial formation composed of troops from across the empire including India, Australia, and New Zealand. During the First World War they evolved, as the E.E.F. campaigned against the Ottomans in Egypt and Palestine. This book records the E.E.F.’s actions from July 1917 when General Allenby took command to October 1918 when the Armistice of Mudros ended conflict in the Middle Eastern theatre. In 1916, under the auspices of the British Arab Bureau, The Arab Bulletin was founded on the initiative of T. E. Lawrence to provide “a secret magazine of Middle East politics” intended to inform officials and military commanders. Here Lawrence first published his records of the Arab campaign, some of which were included in The Advance of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. Of course, Lawrence would later and most famously tell the full tale of his role and perspective in the Arab revolt in Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
Reference: O'Brien A011. Item #006619