Inside Qatar

Hidden Stories from One of the Richest Nations on Earth

Inside Qatar
John McManus
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Just 70 years ago, the Gulf nation of Qatar was a backwater, reliant on pearl diving. Today it is a gas-laden parvenu with seemingly limitless wealth and ambition. Skyscrapers, museums and futuristic football stadiums rise out of the desert and Ferraris race through the streets. But in the shadows, migrant workers toil in the heat for risible amounts. Inside Qatar reveals how real people live in this surreal place, a land of both great opportunity and great iniquity. Ahead of Qatar' s time in the limelight as host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, anthropologist John McManus lifts a lid on the hidden worlds of its gilded princes, manual labourers and domestic workers, its teachers and policemen, culture vultures and thrill seekers. This is the real Qatar in all its extremes - crushingly unequal and not just a little outrageous, but also diverse, riotous, pulsing with innovation and life.
This is a wonderful and sometimes devastating book. John McManus takes us through Qatar from top to bottom, treating everyone he meets with equal respect no matter where they stand on the country' s ethnic hierarchy that he describes so well. The book is sophisticated, nuanced, fair-minded and yet very hard-hitting, and the writing is mercifully clear. * Simon Kuper, Financial Times columnist and author of Soccernomics * This will transport you to Qatar and teach you with humanity and empathy some of the dark truths about globalisation. -- Ben Judah, author of This is London Insightful and empathetic, McManus' s conversations with Qataris and expats shed deep insight into a land of extremes. Written on the eve of hosting the World Cup, Inside Qatar tells the story of the richest, hottest country in the world as it takes global centre stage. An outstanding book. -- Eugene Rogan, Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History, Oxford University If you want to understand Qatar read this very readable book. It is wise, well informed, fair-minded and honest about what it is like to live in this tiny city state. -- Peter Oborne, journalist and author of The Assault on Truth John McManus is a remarkable, compelling writer- wry, alert to incongruencies, an elegant prose stylist - with an anthropologist' s concern for hidden structures, and a photographer' s eye for detail. -- Rory Stewart The harsh spotlight of a World Cup can reduce complex issues to black and white and cast nuance and shades of grey to the margins of the discourse. This is a tremendously detailed and considerate look at Qatar in all its complexities. It does not pull its punches, but it benefits enormously from a gaze that seeks to understand rather than to condemn or castigate, and it is this approach that makes the criticism all the more powerful when it is delivered. Based on extensive time in the country and discussions with Qataris and non-Qataris alike, it should be required reading for anyone heading to the Qatar 2022 World Cup. -- Nick McGeehan, Co-founder/director of FairSquare Projects
JOHN MCMANUS is a social anthropologist and writer with over ten years of experience researching and writing about the Middle East. He is the author of Welcome to Hell? In Search of the Real Turkish Football. He lives in Ankara, Turkey.