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July 30 , 2007

The Desert and the Sown


Born to transcend the social constraints of Victorian England, Gertrude Bell left the comforts of her privileged life for the unconventional—but thrilling—world of the Middle East. One of the first women to graduate from Oxford, she traveled to Persia and became passionately drawn to the Arab people, the language, and their architecture. A skilled archeologist, historian, and linguist, Bell traveled the world and wrote compelling, perceptive accounts of her daring journeys. The Desert and the Sown is considered to be one of her masterpieces. A magnificent account of personal discovery and political history, this intriguing narrative traces Bell's 1905 sojourn through Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine. With an eye for vivid detail, "the female Lawrence of Arabia" offers intriguing images from her often dangerous "wild travel" through regions never seen by another foreign woman. One hundred sixty extraordinary photos illustrate camel caravans; ruins of castles and monasteries; local markets and bazaars; Damascus with its gardens, domes, and minarets; and more. But it's Bell's impressions and conversations with contacts and confidantes of varied cultures that will hold you captive. An inspiring portrait of a woman who overcame the barriers of her generation, as well as a piece of history that offers insight into current events in the Middle East, The Desert and the Sown is fascinating reading for travelers, explorers, and citizens of the world. Map included.
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