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Middle East

Middle East

A tumultuous region even in our modern era, the Middle East has beguiled the adventurer, the scholar and simply the curious with its beauty and mystique for centuries. Reading about the history of this region is essential to understanding the politics and culture of each country today. We highly recommend reading the work of T.E. Lawrence as well as his female counterparts Gertrude Bell and Freya Stark before embarking on your own adventure.

Follow the links below to see country and regional reading lists for a destination.

Follow the links below to see recommended reading for each destination.

The Longitude Blog – Middle East
The Silk Roads
Finding Western history rigidly focused on the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, in his new book The Silk Roads: A New History of the World Oxford historian Peter Frankopan reorients readers towards Asia. The result is a tour-de-force that is well over 600 pages and spans from Israel to China, from the Agricultural Revolution to the second term of President Obama. Far from being mere trade routes, the Silk Roads were an essential first step to today's complex and interconnected world.
An Interview with Georgina Howell
In the new Penguin Classic A Woman in Arabia, The Writings of the Queen of the Desert, editor Georgina Howell presents Gertrude Bell's most interesting letters, military dispatches, diary entries and travel writings to uncover her struggles, triumphs and lasting contributions to history. Howell, who defined the character of this remarkable woman in her biography Gertrude Bell, Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations, discusses Bell’s influence today, which falls on travelers, politicians and readers alike.
  Longitude.
A Woman in Arabia
“I summoned my sheiks,” Sheikh Fahd Beg ibn Hadhdhal told Gertrude Bell upon reading one of her letters, “I read them your letter and I said to them, Oh Sheikhs…This is a woman—what must the men be like!” A similar sense of awe at Bell’s sheer bravado, intelligence and wide-ranging accomplishments grip the reader of her letters, journals, military dispatches and travel writing newly collected in the Penguin edition of A Woman in Arabia: The Writings of the Queen of the Desert. The anthology, edited by Georgina Howell, author of