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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > February 2016 > The Way We Were

The Way We Were

Extracts from memoirs and diaries, chosen by Ian Irvine

Remaking the Middle East

Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen writes in his Middle East Diary 1917-1956:

“It would have been better for our country and perhaps for the world if CM Doughty, [TE] Lawrence and Gertrude Bell had not been such admirable and persuasive writers.” Doughty (1843-1926) was the author of Travels in Arabia Deserta, which greatly influenced Lawrence and Bell.

In April 1916, Gertrude Bell arrives in Basra to take up the post of Senior Political Officer. Over the next 10 years she would design the constitution, select the leadership and draw the borders of the new state of Iraq. Nearly 18,000 British troops had just been captured by the Turks after a siege at Kut, 40 miles from Baghdad. She writes to her mother:

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s February issue: Lawrence Summers questions Robert J Gordon’s thesis on the impact of the digital revolution, John Sawers, the former Chief of MI6, highlights how technology is making the work of spies harder and Frank Furedi examines the student movements demanding protection from the offensive and uncomfortable. Also in this issue: Gershom Gorenberg on Israel, Ben Judah on the complexity of London and Elizabeth Pisani on the impact of fake drugs. Plus Sam Tanenhaus on Obama’s gun control plans.