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LOWELL THOMAS (1892-1981)

Lowell [Jackson] Thomas was a preeminent American radio commentator, explorer, author and journalist who is especially remembered for his association with T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). After graduating from college he started his career as a tireless traveler and reporter. In 1915 he made the first of his many trips, going to Alaska, which was then a territory and largely unknown to most Americans. Upon his return, he gave lectures about his trip, which were so popular that they earned him a commission from Woodrow Wilson to make an on-the-scene historical record of World War I.

This work lead him, and a cameraman, to Palestine where he met General Edmund Allenby and the colorful Col. T. E. Lawrence. When Thomas returned home he turned this material into an illustrated lecture, The Last Crusade - with Allenby in Palestine and Lawrence in Arabia which he gave in New York, and then took to London where it ran for six months; he and the lecture then went on a round-the-world tour. It was all a show business triumph, setting records, and making Lowell Thomas famous and rich and turning Col. Lawrence into a hero, "Lawrence of Arabia", known world-wide. In 1924, Thomas published his first, and most popular book, With Lawrence in Arabia.

In 1930 he went to work for Columbia Broadcasting System and began a radio career that spanned more than 40 years. In 1935 he filmed and narrated the first of many travelogues for 20th Century-Fox. During WW2 he traveled to virtually all the war zones, and broadcast vivid reports. In 1949, at the invitation of the Dalai Lama, he traveled to Tibet, becoming one of the first Americans ever to so. He was a great radio commentator and for several years narrated 20th Century Fox's Movietone newsreels. His signature signoff on the radio was "So long, until tomorrow" and that was the title of his last book published in 1977. Throughout his long and adventurous career he wrote more than 60 books and articles about his experiences and the many places he had been; they give fascinating glimpses of a world that no longer exists.. Below is a list of some of his works:

With Lawrence in Arabia, (1924)
Beyond Kyber Pass : Into Forbidden Afghanistan, (1925)
European Skyways : The Story of a Tour of Europe by Aeroplane, (1928)
Raiders of the Deep, (1928) – recounts the sea battles of u-boats and submarines in WW1
The Sea Devil’s Fo’c’sle : Count Luckner’s Adventures, (1928)
The Wreck of the Dumaru : A Story of Cannibalism in an Open Boat, (1930)
India : Land of the Black Pagoda, (1930)
Lauterbach of the China Sea : The Escapes and Adventures of a Seagoing Falstaff, (1931)
Kabluk of the Eskimo, (1932)
This Side of Hell. Dan Edwards, Adventurer, (1932)
Old Gimlet Eye. Adventures of Smedley D. Butler, (1933)
Adventures Among Immortals : Percy Burton, Impresario, (1937)
Pageant of Adventure, (1940)
These Men Shall Never Die, (1943) – about WW2 and the Pacific theater
Back to Mandalay, (1951) – WW2 in Burma
Out of This World. Across the Himalayas to Forbidden Tibet, (1950)
Seven Wonders of the World, (1956)
History As You Heard It. Twenty-five years of history reported day-to-day as it happened, (1957)
The Dalai Lama : A Biography of the Exiled Leader, (1961)
The Trail of Ninety-Eight, (1962) – about the Yukon Klondike gold rush of 1898
Doolittle : A Biography, (1976)
Good Evening Everyone. From Cripple Creek to Samarkand, (1976) - autobiographical
So Long Until Tomorrow : From Quaker Hill to Kathmandu, (1977) - autobiographical


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