GRAHAM BEST was born in York in 1950 and trained as a telecommunications engineer before becoming a mature student of Library and Information Science at Loughborough University. During thirty years of subsequent tutoring and senior management in international tertiary and higher education, he published a feasibility study of the four-term (educational) year and latterly contributed a chapter on books and readers in eighteenth-century parish libraries to the Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland by drawing on his Ph.D. research.

An enthusiastic bibliophile (some would suggest bibliomaniac), he discovered Gertrude Bell when editing and re-issuing in 1997 her stepmother Lady Bell’s social study: At The Works: a study of a manufacturing town (Middlesbrough). Whilst researching this present book, a more accessible edition of Poems from the Divan of Hafiz, translated by Gertrude, was edited and published by him entitled Songs of Dead Laughter: the poetry of Gertrude Bell.

Graham lives near York with his wife Lesley; they have a daughter and two sons: Lucy, Paul and Robert and so far, seven grandchildren.