Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell, Adventurer, Adviser to Kings, Ally of Lawrence of Arabia (Paperback)
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Turning away from privileged Victorian Britain, Gertrude Bell explored, mapped and excavated the world of the Arabs, winning the trust of Arab sheiks and chieftains along the way. When the First World War erupted and the British needed the loyalty of Arab leaders, Gertrude Bell provided the intelligence for T.E. Lawrence's military activities. After the war, she played a major role in creating the modern Middle East, and was generally considered the most powerful woman in the British Empire. In this major reassessment of Bell's life, Janet Wallach reveals a woman whose achievements and independent spirit were especially remarkable for her times, and who brought the same passion and intensity to her explorations as she did to her rich and romantic life.
Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
Publisher and industry reviews
UK Kirkus review
Bell undoubtedly came from a privileged and well-connected background. Unlike so many women of her era (she was born in 1868), she had a driving thirst for knowledge and adventure, which saw her become the first woman to receive a first-class degree in modern history from Oxford. Later she travelled extensively in the Middle East. By the time she was 30, she was fluent in French, German, Italian, Persian, could converse in Turkish and was studying Arabic. Her passion for archaelogy led her to explore many Middle Eastern sites in nearly inaccessible and often inhospitable places - her British bravura carrying her through potentially dangerous situations. When World War I broke out, her knowledge of the area enabled her to provide T E Lawrence with intelligence for his military activities and after the war, she played a major role in creating the modern Middle East. Wallach's portrayal of this extraordinary woman is fascinating, although her American interpretations of a Victorian Brit are occasionally a little intrusive. (Kirkus UK)
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