Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations by Georgina Howell
You may not be able to see the photograph on the cover of this book clearly, but it is one woman among several men all riding camels in front of the Sphinx in Egypt. And those are not just any men with Gertrude Bell, she is sandwiched between Winston Churchill and Lawrence of Arabia.
It's a good choice of cover for a book about this truly extraordinary English woman, because Gertrude Bell lead a very different life from most women of the late 1800's and early 1900's. Her intimate knowledge of the Arabian desert, the language, history, culture, and leaders put her in a position to shape the history of the region. She is often referred to as a major player in the creation of modern-day Iraq. In this book you will find her studying at Oxford, traipsing through the desert, climbing the Alps with the foremost men climbers of the day and the like. This is a very readable biography and one that will lead your book group into many points of history.