There is a terrific article in the June issue of The Atlantic by Christopher Hitchens in which he details the involvement of a woman named Gertrude Bell in the early formation of a country whose name every single American recognizes. Friend to both T.E. Lawrence and Winston Churchill, Bell was a British diplomat and spy who many say was almost single-handedly responsible for the founding of modern Iraq. Educated at Oxford, she was one of the Empire’s leading Arabists at the end of World War I. She rode camels with the Bedouin, was fluent in Persian and Arabic, and even founded an archaeological museum in Baghdad.
Hitchens, as always, provides an intriguing and spellbinding account of this truly extraordinary woman.
Add comment July 2nd, 2007