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Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations Paperback – April 29, 2008
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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
A great history of Iraq leading up to and including WW1. Gertrude Bell was the " Queen of the Desert" in that she was a tremendous advocate for the Arabs. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Steve Slonecker
Every now and then I come across a new historical figure and I think
HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF THIS PERSON WHAT HAS THE WORLD BEEN DOING THIS JUST... Read more
This book was excellent, almost on par with Dr. John Mack's "A Prince of Our Disorder." Gertrude Bell was an amazing woman, mountaineer, desert explorer, red cross worker,... Read morePublished 1 month ago by alan j. greczynski
One of the best books to read ,in order to understand the current problems created by the post war treatise after WW 1Published 2 months ago by RB
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 3 months ago by Cynthia Kane