Customer Reviews for

Desert Queen; The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2005

    Wow, What a Woman!!

    Gertrude Bell was certainly no whimp! I really enjoyed reading about her adventures in the East. I remember reading about the Bagdad Museum being looted during the last war, and I could not help but think that if she were alive, she would have been guarding the museum door in her silk dress and straw hat. She really was an incredible woman, and I enjoyed the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2003

    Compulsory reading to understand Iraq

    This is a well researched book which is a must-read for those who wish to really understand the current pitfalls for the U.S. in it's prewsent Iraq situation. Little has changed and a 80 year cycle has just completed from 1919 to 2003. Ms Wallach is careful to report, as opposed to analyse, leaving the reader to form (with a liberal dose of 80 rears of hindsight) their own conclusions and she gives them a lot with which to do this. One or two issues: The use of more maps would have made this book far better. Ms Wallach has a problem with the socio-economic demographic structure in England, then very different than the U.S. In economic terms Bell was the superior of Lawrence but not necessarily in social standing. Bell came from commerce but Lawrence was the son of a Peer, albeit 'out of wedlock' (The P.C. police at B and N don't allow the real term! So silly) because his father ran away with a commoner. She is slightly hard on Arnold Wilson. Wilson was die-hard Indian Army and while brilliant was a product of that special class. It would have been heresy to admit non Indian control. However Bell was correct and was more flexible due to her inate understanding of Arab tribes and customs. She does Wilson damage in her parting shot as to his Hitler sympathy's and does not mention that in 1940, Sir Arnold Wilson, ex Colonel, joined the RAF volunterr reserve as an air gunner and was shot down and killed in his bomber in France in 1940. A more just epitaph! Lastly I have always found that Gertrude Bell's suicide rather perplexing. While secular, she was very Victorian in attitude which would rule out suicide. Also it seems astonishing that she would do such a thing knowing how much it would hurt her family and specifically her father.. a letter was unfinished.. totally out of character. Hastily, I do not suggest murder but a mistake, by her, was possibly made. Who knows. An excellent book.

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