Just Off My Bookshelf: Desert Queen

I believe it’s important to read and learn about cultures and people we do not know. Particularly other nations, minorities, and women. With this goal in mind I just finished the book Desert Queen by Janet Wallach. It’s a biography about a women name Gertrude Bell and her engagement with the people, politics, and culture of the Middle East.

Gertrude was a wealthy woman from Britain who spent many of her years traveling the desert and living among the elite men in Arabia. It is impressive to learn the significant impact she had on the future of Iraq–especially as a woman in the Middle East in the early 1900’s. The books is full of information about the culture of the Middle East the determination of the human spirit–its flaws and its strengths.

A few quotes:

“Obstacles were made to be overcome.”

“She would find the untried and persevere to overcome it; otherwise, it was hardly worth doing.”

“There had never been an independent Iraq…Now she was not only deciding a country; she was devising its shape and determining who would lead it, how it would be governed, who would be included in its citizenry, what would be its law and institutions.”

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