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Daughter of the Desert (Pan Macmillan)

Daughter of the Desert (Pan Macmillan)

At a time when women were still largely excluded from both education and the workplace, Gertrude Bell was an archaeologist, spy, Arabist, linguist, author, poet, photographer and mountaineer - but until the Iraq War of 2003 few people had heard her name. During the course of her extraordinary life she abandoned her privileged background of country house parties and debutante balls to become one of the first women to graduate from Oxford. She also travelled into the desert as an archaeologist, where she used her command of Arabic and knowledge of tribal affiliations to become indispensable to the Cairo Office of the British government.

A friend of T.E. Lawrence and an adviser to the Viceroy of India, during the First World War, Bell travelled from Delhi to Mesopotamia where she championed 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.

About the Author

Georgina Howell

Georgina Howell began in magazine journalism at the age of seventeen. She was fashion editor of the Observer, features editor of Vogue, deputy editor of Tatler and principal feature writer for The Sunday Times. She lives London and in Brittany.