Green-eyed Gertrude Bell belongs in Charles Doughty’s Travels in Arabia Deserta, that slab of velvety antique that enthralled the English (they were not yet British) in the love-affair phase of their relationship with the Arabs. County Durham-born to a wealthy industrialist father, Bell (1868-1926) was a key player when the Powers tried ineptly to mould the Middle East, as the Ottoman Empire crumbled.
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