A portrait in her own words of the female Lawrence of Arabia, the subject of the PBS documentary Letters from Baghdad, voiced by Tilda Swinton, and the upcoming major motion picture Queen of the Desert, starring Nicole Kidman, James Franco, Damian Lewis, and Robert Pattinson and directed by Werner Herzog.
Gertrude Bell was leaning in 100 years before Sheryl Sandberg. One of the great woman adventurers of the 20th century, she turned her back on Victorian society to study at Oxford and travel the world, and became the chief architect of British policy in the Middle East after World War I. Mountaineer, archaeologist, Arabist, writer, poet, linguist, and spy, she dedicated her life to championing the Arab cause and was instrumental in drawing the borders that define today's Middle East.
As she wrote in one of her letters, "It's a bore being a woman when you are in Arabia." Forthright and spirited, opinionated and playful, and deeply instructive about the Arab world, this volume brings together Bell's letters, military dispatches, diary entries, and travel writings to offer an intimate look at a woman who shaped nations.
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- Jonathan Krapf
A truly great woman
Whether you want to know more about the East, history, or just about interesting people, this book is definitely worth listening to. Not only is Mrs. Bell a fascinating person, her contribution to the shaping of the Middle East as we know it can hardly be overestimated.
Should you have watched the biographical film Queen of the Desert, you should definitely listen to this, as you would otherwise risk knowing almost nothing of import about Gertrude Bell.