Michael Korda and Dr. Henry and Nancy Kissinger at the Lawrence of Arabia Talk for the NYHS @ The Society for Ethical Culture NYC

Out of Focus it was a Hit or Missinger there Goes Dr. Kissinger

For Michael Korda the editor emeritus of Simon & Schuster’s new book “The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia” from Harper  on T.E Lawrence the author was joined by the 56th Secretary of State of the United States of America Dr. Henry Kissinger with venerable  New Yorker magazine writer Adam Gopnik moderating at the society of ethical culture auditorium on Central Park West at a New York Historical Society event (with The latter organization returning to their own building on CPW when construction is finished  there in November of 2011).

"The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia" Author, Michael Korda

Dr.Kissinger again

There was an introduction by the New York historical Society Chairwoman and then Korda came out solo and proceeded to read from the volume. When he finished Dr. Kissinger and Adam Gopnik charged onto the stage as the flushed faced last of the romantics continued to speak.  In one of the most interesting barbs of the hour-long program Gopnik  remarked (to paraphrase) that he felt like  an orchestra conductor working with two tympani.

Nancy Kissinger Arriving at her Seat

Though the talk was mainly about Lawrence (Kissinger grimaced during Korda’s mention of Lawrence’s violation at the hands of the Turks and was bemused during Gopnik’s aside about British Public Schools) Gopnik did get his gumption up and ask Dr. Kissinger about the current situation in Libya.  The good Doctor basically retorted that the events occurring in Libya are really peripheral and that the main theater of concern was in Saudi Arabia and what would happen in the Gulf and further that our mission there was basically humanitarian and not about regime change.

Nancy Kissinger Deux

Korda provided yet another fascinating aside in that he related that his uncle the famed film-maker Alexander Korda actually knew Lawrence and had purchased the film rights to his story in 1935 (the year before Lawrence’s death in a motorcycle accident).  Then he continued that the film did not get made at the time mostly because the British were unnerved by the possible Arab reaction to a movie showing a Westerner at the head of Arabian army.  Thereafter  the rights were purchased from his uncle by Sam Spiegel and this went onto to become David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia starring Peter o’Toole.

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