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CLS Book Club: Gertrude Bell

October 27 @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm


While the weather gets cooler, cozy up with the selection for the Fall CLS Book Club, Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations by Georgina Howell. Although not new (published in 2008), the book shows how an inspiring Victorian woman came to play a key role in the creation of the modern Middle East.  An intrepid traveler, archaeologist, author, government administrator and romantic, she insisted that the people’s voice be heard, that the West could not, in their own self interest, replace thousands of years of tribal context, structure and history without serious trauma. A marvelous tale of an adventurous life of great historical import.

This event is in-person and free, but requires an RSVP. To RSVP, please fill out the form below or call 843-723-9912.

To purchase your copy from Buxton Books, click here.

Please Note: We are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and greatly value the safety of our patrons. All events require masks for entry and are subject to change from in-person to Zoom format if safety protocols need to be amended. To stay up to date on this event’s details, we recommend you check this page regularly. All ticket sales are final.

About the Book:

She has been called the female Lawrence of Arabia, which, while not inaccurate, fails to give Gertrude Bell her due. She was at one time the most powerful woman in the British Empire: a nation builder, the driving force behind the creation of modern-day Iraq. Born in 1868 into a world of privilege, Bell turned her back on Victorian society, choosing to read history at Oxford and going on to become an archaeologist, spy, Arabist, linguist, author (of Persian PicturesThe Desert and the Sown, and many other collections), poet, photographer, and legendary mountaineer (she took off her skirt and climbed the Alps in her underclothes).

She traveled the globe several times, but her passion was the desert, where she traveled with only her guns and her servants. Her vast knowledge of the region made her indispensable to the Cairo Intelligence Office of the British government during World War I. She advised the Viceroy of India; then, as an army major, she traveled to the front lines in Mesopotamia. There, she supported 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.

Gertrude Bell, vividly told and impeccably researched by Georgina Howell, is a richly compelling portrait of a woman who transcended the restrictions of her class and times, and in so doing, created a remarkable and enduring legacy.

About the Author:

Georgina Howell worked in magazine journalism starting at the age of seventeen. She wrote for Vanity Fair and American Vogue, and worked at The Observer, British VogueThe Tatler, and The Sunday Times. She is the author of Gertrude Bell. She lived in London and Brittany before her death in January 2016.


October 27
10:30 am - 12:00 pm


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