HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert by…
Loading...

Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert

by Georgina Howell

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4321724,401 (3.59)35

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 35 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
And that then is my reason for connecting this review with that of Gertrude Bell’s biography. For indeed, how do you begin a biography? Especially with a woman who has lived such a life? A woman who once used to be more famous than T.E. Lawrence (who was a good friend actually), who travelled the Middle East, at a time when women rode side saddle (she had an apron sort of garment made to cover her pants), who climbed mountains (taking off her skirt to do so!), who was daring and brave and adventurous – at a time when women tended to keep to the home.

“Constrained and compartmentalised at home, in the East Gertrude became her own person.”

Howell does a great job piecing together her life, from letters, from other accounts of her, from the many works Bell wrote, essentially to figure out:

“By what evolution did a female descendent of Cumbrian sheep farmers become, in her time, the most influential figure in the Middle East?”

A gung-ho spirit, a fierce determination, wit and charm helps. As does knowing the right people! If you’re in the mood for a biography, may I suggest this one. Gertrude Bell, she astounds me.
( )
  olduvai | Jan 19, 2016 |
Energetic life of the remarkable Bell, avidly trekking through the lands of Arabia, ticking off high Alpine peaks as a mountaineering pioneer, midwifing the state of Iraq after the Ottoman collapse as confidante of King Faisal, assembling antiquities from the ancient civilisations of Mesopotamia. All without neglecting her own emotional life, all well conveyed in her spirited letters. ( )
  eglinton | Nov 28, 2015 |
It was - remarkable. Apart from being an inspiring story of a woman who eschewed the constraints of a male dominated political and social scene, this is the inside story of the creation of the nation of Irag, and the sorry tale of early western involvement in Middle Eastern politics. Bush and Blair and their cronies would have done better to have read this and learnt something from Bell's nuanced view of Arab politics and culture before setting out on their childish adventures - but that presupposes that they could read - which in Bush's case might be doubted. The ordinary reader, however, will be rewarded. ( )
  nandadevi | Jul 22, 2015 |
Gertrude Bell did many remarkable things - mountaineering, learning Arabic, Turkish and cartography so she could travel across Arabia mapping archaeological sites - in an era when Victorian/Edwardian women of the privileged classes were expected to marry and devote themselves quietly to their families. She enjoyed herself. At a time when many working- and middle-class women were struggling so hard for the franchise and impoved conditions for all women she was most obviously only interested in her own pleasures, however difficult and dangerous.

It's only in her forties, after her difficult journey to Hayyil, and the expert advice she gave to the British govt about the various Arab tribes and allegiances at the beginning of the First World War that her story starts to open out to a wider and more interesting political context. She became deeply involved with British attempts to get Arab support against the Turks during WWI, and with efforts to ensure Arab self-determination afterwards in the face of entrenched colonialist attitudes, which resulted in the establishment of the state of Iraq.

All-in-all mildly interesting but I was not enthralled. ( )
  SChant | Jan 7, 2014 |
A well-written book of an amazing life. Gertrude Bell was born into a wealthy family in Victorian England. Rather than living a typical high society life, she chose to study history at Oxford and travel the world. Her travels in the Arab world made her indispensable to British Intelligence during World War I and she was a key negotiator in the partitioning of the former Ottoman Empire. Her life story was fascinating - definitely a character that I would have loved to have met. ( )
  jmoncton | Jun 3, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374531358, Paperback)

A marvelous tale of an adventurous life of great historical import
 
She has been called the female Lawrence of Arabia, which, while not inaccurate, fails to give Gertrude Bell her due. She was at one time the most powerful woman in the British Empire: a nation builder, the driving force behind the creation of modern-day Iraq. Born in 1868 into a world of privilege, Bell turned her back on Victorian society, choosing to read history at Oxford and going on to become an archaeologist, spy, Arabist, linguist, author (of Persian Pictures, The Desert and the Sown, and many other collections), poet, photographer, and legendary mountaineer (she took off her skirt and climbed the Alps in her underclothes).

She traveled the globe several times, but her passion was the desert, where she traveled with only her guns and her servants. Her vast knowledge of the region made her indispensable to the Cairo Intelligence Office of the British government during World War I. She advised the Viceroy of India; then, as an army major, she traveled to the front lines in Mesopotamia. There, she supported the creation of an autonomous Arab nation for Iraq, promoting and manipulating the election of King Faisal to the throne and helping to draw the borders of the fledgling state. Gertrude Bell, vividly told and impeccably researched by Georgina Howell, is a richly compelling portrait of a woman who transcended the restrictions of her class and times, and in so doing, created a remarkable and enduring legacy.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:52 -0400)

She has been called the female Lawrence of Arabia, which, while not inaccurate, fails to give Gertrude Bell her due. She was at one time the most powerful woman in the British Empire: a nation builder, the driving force behind the creation of modern-day Iraq. Born into privilege in 1868, Bell turned her back on Victorian society, choosing to read history at Oxford and going on to become an archaeologist, spy, Arabist, linguist, author, poet, photographer, and mountaineer. She traveled the globe several times, but her passion was the desert--her vast knowledge of the region made her indispensable to the British government during World War I. As an army major on the front lines in Mesopotamia, she supported the creation of an autonomous Arab nation for Iraq, promoting and manipulating the election of King Faisal to the throne and helping to draw the borders of the fledgling state.--From publisher description.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
53 wanted
4 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.59)
0.5 1
1 3
1.5 2
2 4
2.5 2
3 15
3.5 4
4 19
4.5 3
5 16

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 105,925,992 books! | Top bar: Always visible