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A DIAMOND IN THE DESERT: Behind the Scenes in the World's Richest City: Behind the Scenes in the World's Richest City [Kindle Edition]

Jo Tatchell
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Barely forty years ago, Abu Dhabi was a fishing village on the Arabian Gulf. Now the capital of the United Arab Emirates, its citizens are each worth $17 million, it holds major stakes in Western economies, and has money to burn.

In this timely, revealing and evocative portrait of a global player, Jo Tatchell traces the emirate's dramatic development and the sometimes ruinous effect of extreme wealth on its people and their desert culture. And as its rulers fund another giant leap forward, she probes behind the official facade to examine whether this secretive and controlled society can realise its breathtaking plans to transform relations between East and West.

Product Description


Unusually engaging...a compelling read (Sunday Telegraph)

A welcome addition to the short list of books on Abu Dhabi...Engagingly written and sympathetic (Guardian)

This is a place we need to know more about, and Tatchell here provides a smart, well-informed and flavorsome guide...the best thing I've read on the Gulf Coast boom town to leaves you feeling you have come to grips with the realities of a land steeped in fable. The contradictions of its Islamic culture emerge starkly. (George Walden, Bloomberg News)


"* 'Such an extraordinary story deserves an extraordinary writer and thankfully it has Jo Tatchell. She puts you perfectly in the place, and her pacey, page-turner narrative would shame most thriller writers. A staggering, unmissable achievement.' - John Harding, Daily Mail * 'Utterly compelling... what emerges is a resilient family's unconditional love for one another' - Scotland on Sunday"

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 843 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B005EP209U
  • Publisher: Sceptre (5 July 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0085NULTO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #269,000 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Father of the Gazelle..., 22 Dec. 2010
By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER
Abu Dhabi means "father of the gazelle," and in this most timely work, Jo Tatchell, a British journalist, explains the legendary origins of the name for this increasingly important global city. The name dates from 1762, when members of the Al Bu Falah family were hunting, pursuing a gazelle that walked through the shallow waters of the Gulf to the island that would be so named. Thirty-one years later, they made the island their permanent home. For sure, they wouldn't recognize it today!

Tatchell is no "parachute journalist," writing standard, pre-packaged vignettes that are so often required by "editorial concerns" back home. She spent a good portion of her youth in Abu Dhabi, arriving in 1974, at the age of three, with her parents. This was only three years since the emirate gained its independence from Britain, and joined seven other emirates in what had been called the Trucial Coast to form the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Her father was a Director of the Spinneys supermarket chain; unlike many other expatriates, he understood the value of regular "tea drinking" with his hosts, and therefore was frequently in attendance at the majlis (roughly, an "open house" held by the government, where much business was actually conducted). She left for boarding school in the early `80's, but would make periodic visits to her family. This book is a result of her extended visit in 2008 to observe the Emirate's transformation after four decades.

Her "roots" in Abu Dhabi opened many doors, and in several cases, you sensed that the conversations, particularly with the native Abu Dhabians, were open and frank.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply brilliant! 6 Jan. 2011
I agree with every single word about this gem of a book - simply brilliant and un-put-downable.

For anyone living or working in Abu Dhabi this book should be on your required reading list, amongst the usually recommend fare.

Really well researched, with an immense fountain of personal knowledge, very good contacts, and a rare childhood of a Eurpean woman growing up in Abu Dhabi, the author writes extremely honest about a city and Emirate which she clearly loves (and so do I).
Nevertheless, there are shortcomings to the city's rapid growth and these are of course mentioned and well researched.

This is a very easy and entertaining read and you will find yourself immersed in the 'real' Abu Dhabi of yesterday very quickly.
Much has been written about the Success story which is Abu Dhabi today, very little is known about the historical Abu Dhabi, after all the recent history is not that old.
The author addresses all in a very elegant and fluid writing style which is immensely likable.

A solid and well deserved 5 *****
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5.0 out of 5 stars Diamond of The Desert 17 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent, informative book. I got it because I have family working in Abu Dhabi and I have visited each year and became very interested in its history. It has a fascinating relatively short history. My daughter has kept this book out in Abu Dhabi and hands it out to friends and family members if they want to know more about the place. Highly recommended.
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