Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell: Adventurer, Adviser to Kings, Ally of Lawrence of Arabia by Janet Wallach will help you learn about the history of the modern Iraqi state from a western perspective. Iraqi colleagues had heard of Gertrude Bell and agree that she is considered important by Iraqis.
And, it’s a swashbuckling story with sheiks, intrigue, adventure and a real-life female protagonist. I liked it. Click here to read a more in-depth and objective review.