Iraq and Gertrude Bell's The Arab of Mesopotamia
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Iraq and Gertrude Bell's The Arab of Mesopotamia

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Gertrude Bell was one of a select group of Western Arabists who helped create the modern Middle East. She was arguably the single most influential individual in Iraq when the British attempted in the aftermath of World War I to create a nation out of regions that had long been different provinces of the Ottoman Empire. She was called upon to produce this succinct but insightful volume as a guide for the military officers and civil servants who were attempting to create an Iraqi government. A long dispute over whether the volume was actually written by her is settled in Dr. Paul Rich's introduction. It not only was written by Bell, but the reader can see in what she choose to emphasize just what her own views on the course that the development of Iraq should take. Unfortunately Bell's dreams of a successful outcome for Iraq in the aftermath of the war floundered, partly because of the ineptitude of the occupiers but partly too because of the irreconcilable factions that today, so many years later, remain an overwhelming obstacle to peace. Broken in spirit, Bell took her own life and joined Lawrence of Arabia in what is a pantheon of romantic if disillusioned admirers of the Arab lands.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 250 pages
  • 129.54 x 205.74 x 22.86mm | 362.87g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739125613
  • 9780739125618

Review quote

Although these fascinating essays by a woman who played a key role in British empire-building in Mesopotamia were written in 1916 and 1917, their republication nearly a century later is remarkably timely, as Paul Rich shows in his introduction to the volume. In many ways, Bell might seem to be writing about the Bush administration's imperial misadventure at the beginning of the 21st century, when self-proclaimed liberators, like those who preceded them, soon found that they too were occupiers facing violent resistance. We see how little those living today learned from the past and how, at least in this case, history is being reenacted?in Marx's words?as farce... -- Glenn E. Perry, Indiana State University Bell's work is an important historical document and a work that deserves attention today...Rich has offered readers an important document and provided a passionate appeal in his introduction to it. Digest of Middle East Studies, Spring 2009 Gertrude Bell, the British maker of Iraq, appreciated what was then Mesopotamia and the danger of military confrontation in that divided country. Her book and the introduction by Paul Rich should be a required reading for occupiers of present day Iraq and the policy makers in Washington and London. -- Mohammed M. Aman, editor-in-chief, Digest of Middle East Studies Although these fascinating essays by a woman who played a key role in British empire-building in Mesopotamia were written in 1916 and 1917, their republication nearly a century later is remarkably timely, as Paul Rich shows in his introduction to the volume. In many ways, Bell might seem to be writing about the Bush administration's imperial misadventure at the beginning of the 21st century, when self-proclaimed liberators, like those who preceded them, soon found that they too were occupiers facing violent resistance. We see how little those living today learned from the past and how, at least in this case, history is being reenacted-in Marx's words-as farce. -- Glenn E. Perry, Indiana State Universityshow more

About Paul J. Rich

Paul J. Rich is president of the Policy Studies Organization in Washington, D.C., a society of more than 3,000 universities and institutions, and a Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was the head of Supervisory Programs for the Ministry of Education and Culture in Qatar for twelve years. Dr. Rich is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, recipient of the Cameron Medal for social science research, and Life Governor of Harris Manchester College in the University of Oxford.show more

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Introduction to the Lexington Edition Chapter 3 The Arab of Mesopotamiashow more

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