The Weston Library Non-Fiction Book Discussion Group enjoyed this book immensely and had a riveting discussion of the book and the impact that Gertrude Bell had on the current state of affairs in Iraq and the Middle East.
Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) traveled the globe several times, but her passion was the desert, where she traveled with only her guns and her servants and a Wedge ware dinner service. 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.