...she romanced the world instead."*
Gertrude Bell: the subject of the book of which I am currently enthralled, Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations.
Having known little about her life and legacy prior to reading, with each page I find myself a bit more intrigued and curious about this apparently extraordinary lady. As I am just in the first couple of chapters, I will leave the text to quoted reviews from Amazon, but couldn't help searching for some photos to go along with this character's life as it unfolds on my kindle. If not for the role she will ultimately play in mysterious, dangerous, and exciting adventures in the Middle East with famous and powerful leaders, done with style and in various tongues from French to Arabic, there is something magical about reading the small anecdotal details of her childhood too and feeling like you are in part supporting the livelihood of a legacy.
"Bell's role in the creation of Iraq and the placement of Faisal upon the throne, is fully detailed, both to honor her power and to haunt us today."-Publishers Weekly
"The breadth and depth of Gertrude Bell's accomplishments are extraordinary. Born to British industrial wealth and civic prominence during the Victorian era, she possessed boundless self-confidence, courage, and vitality." Donna Seaman, Booklist
"Discovering her spiritual home in the Middle East, Bell transformed herself into a cartographer, archaeologist, writer, and photographer as she undertook perilous journeys to fabled desert outposts, commanding the respect of powerful Bedouin sheikhs." Seaman
"Howell writes with all the verve, historical veracity, and acumen her intoxicating subject demands--her spectacular biography leaves the reader lost in admiration and steeped in sorrow. It seems that all the profound knowledge about the culture of the desert Bell placed herself in jeopardy to gather was promptly forgotten."- Seaman
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