THE EXTRAORDINARY GERTRUDE BELL, edited by Mark Jackson and Andrew Parkin. Published by Newcastle Libraries, Tyne Bridge Publishing. £6.99. Softback.

BORN into a wealthy North East family, Gertrude Bell spent most of her life far from home as a traveller, explorer and archaeologist. During and after the First World War, her extensive knowledge of the Middle East led to her working for the British government, and she was a key player in the discussions that led to the creation of Iraq following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. Towards the end of her life – she died in 1926 – she was responsible for setting up the National Museum in Baghdad as well as writing Iraq’s first antiquities laws.