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Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations Paperback – April 29, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Intellectually brilliant (fluent in 6 languages, including Arabic and Persian, and was the first woman to take a "first" at Oxford in Modern History), supremely courageous, wise and very human, I have been delighted and honored to at last sit down with Gertrude Bell and over the course of 300+ pages, make her acquaintance. In Howell's capable hands, Bell comes quickly and fully to life, holding my attention and demanding my admiration.
A somewhat unexpected bonus have been the extraordinary (and harrowing) tales of Bell's journeys across the Bedouin deserts in the years before the first world war. I've come away from these accounts (with their accompanying photographs, courtesy of Bell, who in addition to her other gifts was an accomplished photographer) with a more profound understanding of the middle-eastern world that we encounter today.
I recommend this book without reservation to anyone with an interest in middle-eastern history, Victorian women, early 20th century achievements in mountain climbing, Victorian history -- and more. It's all there. It's a great book, about an extraordinary life. And it should be required reading for anyone who imagines himself or herself to be knowledgeable about the middle-east, or who wants to know more. Unlike so many "mid-east experts" Bell truly was an expert, with knowledge born of a great passion for that world, served by a magnificient wisdom and intelligence.
Despite her efforts to get married and have a family of her own, Bell never managed to find true happiness. As Howell clearly demonstrates through her book, Bell never fully recovered from the premature death of Henry Cadogan, with whom she fell in love in 1892. Bell fluctuated all her life between looking for personal fulfillment and devoting herself to the well-being of the community for no reward.
Despite these repeated setbacks in her private life, Bell would emerge as one of the most important architects of the modern Middle East. Bell first discovered the region when she traveled to Persia (modern Iran) in 1892. Bell's obsession with archeology became the driver behind her desert expeditions before WWI. Bell published different books about her archeological findings and learned to speak Arabic on top of five other languages during that period.
The knowledge that Bell got about the Middle East and its people proved invaluable when Britain fought the Turks in the region during the Great War. The same knowledge played a decisive roll in leading the Arabs to nationhood in the aftermath of WWI. Unsurprisingly, Bell has been compared to T.E. Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia, who launched the Arab Revolt.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Gertrude Bell is a woman we should all know - she was advanced for any age and is an inspiration. Though flawed as we all are (her non-support for the Suffragette movement in... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Cynthia Kane
I thought it was absolutely fascinating what a young woman during those times accomplished. What a fabulous story. Not many people know who she was, only Lawrence of Arabia! Read morePublished 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
Gertrude Bell is by far one of the most outstanding persons of the 20th century. Her story should be required reading for all students who are studying the Mioddle East. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Laura Limonta
Well...What to say? We had high expectations but both my partner and I disliked this book. This was a book club choice and the group mostly liked Ms. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Michael Vinson
Great history of Gertrude Bell. Gertrude Bell was an aristocratic and extremely brave and adventurous woman who contributed her knowledge and selfless courage to countless... Read morePublished 1 month ago by J. Meyer
This book is well researched and well written. It fleshed out the heroine with vim and vigor, and with feeling. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Vimala Nowlis
forget now the publication date, but this will always be timely as long as there is sand in the desert.
this is the lost history (along with that of t.e. Read more
First off, I picked this book because I was interested in learning more about the history of the Arab world and this book did not dissappoint. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer