The Fascinating Life of Gertrude Bell with Bob Begin

She was able to ride a camel as well as any Bedouin trader. She spoke 7 languages fluently. She was a skilled archaeologist, cartographer, linguist, photographer and diplomat. Join us to hear Bob Begin recount the story of the dauntless Gertrude Bell, a woman who defied the limitations of her time.

Born in 1868 at the height of Queen Victoria's rule over the vast British Empire, Gertude Bell was an Englishwoman of wealth and status. In 1900, Bell travelled to the Middle East to visit friends.Completely taken with the area, she planned to research Middle Eastern society, culture and archaeology. She particularly wanted to study the lifestyles of the Bedouin Tribes. Told this would be too dangerous for an Englishwoman, she simply refused the warnings and caution and set out on her own.

Bell went on to gain full acceptance by Arab and Bedouin leaders. She served as a spy for the British and worked closely with another English traveler, T. E. Lawrence. Like Lawrence, Bell dedicated much of her life to helping the Arabs gain freedom from their Turkish rulers. At the end of WWI, she played a major role in the Arab quest for self-government.

Gertrude Bell was brilliant, fearless, and dedicated to her goals. Some Arabs referred to her as "The King Maker". This is the story of a woman who possessed great vision and determination, decades ahead of her time.

Bob Begin grew up in Maine, graduated from Babson College, served 2 years active duty in the Army, and had a career of 35 years in the paper and film industry culminating as a Logistics Director. The love of history continues to be very rewarding as he enjoys retirement.  His major focus is on Naval History with an emphasis on the Pacific Theater on WWII.  He is also intrigued with the Concept Of Empire and how it shaped history throughout the world.

Learn more about Gertrude Bell:

  • Queen of the Desert (Kanopy or DVD)- Nicole Kidman plays explorer, diplomat and "female Lawrence of Arabia" Gertrude Bell in the Werner Herzog-directed true story of a woman who defied all convention.
  • Letters from Baghdad (DVD) - The story of a true original, Gertrude Bell, sometimes called the female “Lawrence of Arabia.” More influential and famous in her day than her colleague Lawrence, Bell was an explorer, spy, archaeologist and diplomat who helped shape the Middle East after World War I and established the Iraq Museum, infamously ransacked in 2003.
  • Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations by Georgina Howell. (Book)
  • Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell, Adventurer, Adviser to Kings, Ally of Lawrence of Arabia by Janet Wallach. (Book)
  • Persian Pictures: From the Mountains to the Sea by Gertrude Bell (Book)
  • A Woman in Arabia: The Writings of the Queen of the Desert by Gertrude Bell, edited by Georgina Howell (Book)
  • Queen of the Desert: A Biography of the Female Lawrence of Arabia, Gertrude Bell by Fergus Mason (Book)
Tuesday Aug 15, 2023
7:00 PM  -  8:30 PM
Courtney Michael    508-358-2311
Raytheon Room OR Zoom
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