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Download Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell: Adventurer, Adviser to Kings, Ally of Lawrence of Arabia Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell: Adventurer, Adviser to Kings, Ally of Lawrence of Arabia Audiobook, by Janet Wallach Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,075 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Janet Wallach Narrator: Jean Gilpin Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2012 ISBN: 9780449806753
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Turning away from the privileged world of the eminent Victorians, Gertrude Bell (1868–1926) explored, mapped, and excavated the world of the Arabs. Recruited by British intelligence during World War I, she played a crucial role in obtaining the loyalty of Arab leaders, and her connections and information provided the brains to match T. E. Lawrence’s brawn. After the war, she played a major role in creating the modern Middle East and was, at the time, considered the most powerful woman in the British Empire.

In this masterful biography, Janet Wallach shows us the woman behind these achievements—a woman whose passion and defiant independence were at odds wit the confined and custom-bound England she left behind. Too long eclipsed by Lawrence, Gertrude Bell emerges at last in her own right as a vital player on the stage of modern history, and as a woman whose life was both a heartbreaking story and a grand adventure.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A richly textured biography of a…woman who devoted her life to knowing the desert Arabs better, perhaps, than any other European of her day…Wallach comfortably commands the tangled political and diplomatic history of the Middle East.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • Desert Queen, as timely as today’s headlines, plucks Gertrude Bell out of the shadow of Lawrence of Arabia.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Wallach has done an outstanding job of bringing Gertrude Bell to life.”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “From the swarm of particulars emerges a curious soul--hard traveler, hack for Empire, cosmopolite, iconoclast, anti-suffragist—a complex, absorbing character, long overdue for study.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenna Fletcher | 2/14/2014

    " Very interesting. A book that you are glad you read but hard to read at the time. I feel much more informed about the recent history of the mid east. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Valena | 2/11/2014

    " Sadly, this belongs on my shelf of books that I "read"... but never actually finished. I remember being very engrossed, and then gradually started skipping pages, and then just didn't finish... Fascinating figure as a premise, though! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 2/10/2014

    " I read this as a comparison to the other Gertrude Bell novel by Howell. This version might have been a bit more readable but essentially covered the same territory. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Judith T | 2/2/2014

    " A page-turner portraying a fascinating woman. Subject of an upcoming movie. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melodi | 1/20/2014

    " Quite an interesting life for a woman in the early 1900's. Basically she went to college which was quite unheard of for the times. She was quite the intellectual with a large amount of money in the family. She never married and thus she traveled a lot. Arabia and the Middle East was her favorite place to visit. She spent a lot of time there. She ends up helping to determine the lines to create the country of Saudia Arabia. I didn't finish the book, it got a little wordy with a lot of names, but you should for sure google her and learn about her life! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deb | 1/13/2014

    " still plowing thru it. great to read about the place that's in the news everyday, seems Iraq has always been a pawn... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janette | 1/13/2014

    " An adventurous woman who was privileged ($$$$$) and could pretty much do what she wanted. Interesting time period. Admired her sense of adventure & courage. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet | 1/12/2014

    " rich girl travels the world, supports anti suffragette movement! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 1/2/2014

    " Bush should have read this book before invading Iraq. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gayle Heller | 12/11/2013

    " Good biography and historic novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Molly | 12/10/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book, a fascinating non-comformist woman, and amazing history of the middle east. It's a must read. Sad ending be warned. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ashley | 10/31/2013

    " I couldn't finish this book, I never got into it and was really hoping it would take off, but after reading 1/2 the book I gave up. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janice | 8/25/2013

    " While this was a fascinating, full read it was just too slow to really keep my attention. I learned a lot. I am glad I read it but I am glad to be done with it. And, when all is said and done, I still don't really know what to think of her. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie | 7/4/2013

    " Gertrude Bell was an amazingly cool woman, seemingly fearless ... she could trek across a desert and go where no woman had gone before, but sadly, like many of us, she was not immune to man troubles and heartbreak. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anna | 6/29/2013

    " I'm glad I read it some parts got a little boring.What a fascinating life she led, in such fascinating times. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cathy | 6/9/2013

    " I've only finished half the book, but I think Gertrude Bell was a fascinating woman. I knew nothing about her prior to this book being recommended for book club. She had a very interesting life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lindaraxa | 6/5/2013

    " If you haven't read about this incredible woman, "the mother of Iraq" you must. A highly readable biography on a very complicated subject. Lawrence of Arabia is a midget compared to what she did and yet, why haven't we heard mnore about her? Loved this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marilyn Matheny | 9/16/2012

    " I prefer the other book about Gertude Bell "

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About the Author
A frequent contributor to such publications as The Washington Post Magazine, Janet Wallach is the author of Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell, Chanel: Her Style and Her Life, and three books on the Middle East (co-authored with her husband). She divides her time between New York City and Connecticut.
About the Narrator

Jil Gilpin is a British actress who has starred in numerous BBC television shows, including The Dutchess of Malfi and Dad’s Army, among others. She also spent a year with the Royal Shakespeare Company and three years with the Glasgow Citizens’ Theatre. She currently lives in Los Angeles.