Seven Pillars of Wisdom

I started reading this over the weekend and am about half way through. It is an autobiographical account of the time that T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) spend helping the Arab revolution during WWI.

The book is very relevant to todays politics because it shows how the Arabs broke free from the Turkish empire. It also shows how different nations started to develop from the different tribal and regional groups on the Arabian peninsula. Also interesting is that the book tells of a time before oil was found which gives the reader great opportunities for comparison and contrast with the Arabia of today.

Other things of interest are development of guerrilla warfare techniques that remind the reader of present times, and the knowledge of which groups power waxed and waned after the war.

Very worth checking out (the movie is great as well but doesn't seem to be based closely on the book, awesome cinematography and soundtrack)

I agree. This is a good book, but if you dont have a good background in history, the characters (Chinese Gordon, etc) may not really come to life like they should. Along the same lines, try some of the numerous books by Sir Richard Burton (not the actor, silly). Lots of similarities IMO between Burton (the first westerner to go to the Haj)and Lawrence.