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A Woman in Arabia


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A portrait in her own words of the female Lawrence of Arabia.

About the Author

Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) was born to an aristocratic family and became a renowned archaeologist, Arabist, linguist, writer, poet, and mountaineer. During WWI she served as a spy, army major, and then advisor for the British armed forces. In the aftermath of the war, her statesmanship helped to lay the framework for the modern Middle East.


[A] well-chosen selection from [the] letters and memoirs [of] one of the most remarkable figures of the late 19th and early 20th century . . . Bell might be regarded as the much happier, female equivalent of T. E. Lawrence, who knew and admired her * Washington Post *
A fascinating glimpse at [Bell's] larger-than-life personality . . . Timely and timeless . . . The genius of this collection is letting Bell tell her story in her own words-just as her fiercely independent spirit would have wanted. Impossible to put down, the book reads a bit like a travelog, part humorous wit and part educational lecture, allowing the reader an in-depth look at the life of a true heroine and the time period she inhabited and conquered * Library Journal *
An impressive anthology . . . Howell brings the 'female Lawrence of Arabia' to life through judicious selections from Bell's massive public writings and personal papers. . . . Bell comes across as a compassionate, erudite quasi-diplomat worthy of great admiration * Kirkus Reviews *
Tantalizing . . . Fascinating . . . Bell's own words showcase . . . a personality and intellect that glittered like the sun-drenched Arabian sands. . . . Readers will accompany her on some of her most daring exploits. . . . This is a nifty little volume that illuminates a remarkable life * Publishers Weekly *

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