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From Rags to Riches: A Story of Abu Dhabi
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From Rags to Riches: A Story of Abu Dhabi

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  113 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Born in 1948 in Abu Dhabi, the author knew dreadful poverty in the years before fabulous oil wealth transformed his country forever. He grew up in the ruler's palace, barefoot like his friends, who are all now senior figures in the United Arab Emirates. This is a vivid eye-witness account of the total transformation (within only 30 years) of a Bedouin society into a ...more
Hardcover, 191 pages
Published November 1st 2000 by I. B. Tauris & Company (first published June 9th 1995)
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Henna Pääkkönen
Mar 28, 2015 Henna Pääkkönen rated it liked it
Shelves: history
The title of this book, ”From Rags to Riches” couldnt be more befitted to account for the astonishing rise and creation of the tribal desert nation of UAE during the latter part of the 20th century from a poor pearl diving sheikhdom to a modern rich nation. Not much documented history exists before 1960 within the UAE; to the extent that most locals born before that date can only guess their birth date, and the author wanted to bring about some written piece to show the transformation of his ...more
AlAmmari Mohammed
Ever wondered how the Arabian Gulf countries were just 30-50 years ago? you can find the answers all in here, in this 108 pages book, very simple and direct to the point. I bought this book on my way back from Frankfurt to Bahrain through a stop over in Abu Dhabi airport, since I lost 2 books in the train in Germany I wanted to entertain my self before reaching Bahrain.
as a Bahraini I always knew life was difficult back then, specially before the first discovery of oil in Bahrain in the 30s, but
May 16, 2009 g added it
Shelves: spring-2009
There are very few books on Abu Dhabi, and thus this book is a valuable contribution. But then again, it is written by a friend of the crown prince, offering a mainstream perception of how modern Abu Dhabi has become within the past 50 years. In other words, it is an expanded version of, 'There were no working bathrooms in Abu Dhabi in 1960s, now we have most advanced technologies.' It is rather irrelevant to suggest if I liked it or not, perhaps I can conclude that it was anthropologically ...more
Jun 23, 2009 Michelle rated it liked it
This is a really tough read. The writer - an Emirati - compiled this book from stories past down from oral history and memories. But if you can slog through it, it gives you a much better understanding of the Emirates and its culture - particularly Abu Dhabi.
May 19, 2015 3wish rated it it was amazing
This book gives the history for the UAE and how people changed and start adapting changes in their culture i recommend everyone who needs to know about UAE read this book which will give you some how idea about my country.
May 28, 2013 Angelika rated it really liked it
Very interesting for anyone in Abu Dhabi. The author is not a novelist, but his memories and description of Abu Dhabi growth are very interesting in their detail and explain a lot about Emirati mindsets.
Jul 02, 2014 Safia rated it it was amazing
It's an enjoyable and not a huge book that give the reader image about how the society was before and after the oil, through the perspective of the author.
Aug 28, 2011 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was great to get some background on Abu Dhabi. It explains a lot of things, like the esteem that Sheik Zayed is held in.
إيمان مراد عبدالله
A story of Abu Dhabi by Mohammed al fahim.. A must read book
Elisabeth Khan
Jan 28, 2016 Elisabeth Khan rated it really liked it
Upon arrival in the United Arab Emirates, especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi, one is overwhelmed by the scale, the opulence, and the sheer newness of almost everything. Dubai is the bustling commercial center, while the capital, Abu Dhabi, is still in full expansion. World famous museums (the Louvre, etc.), universities (the Sorbonne, NYU,..), and hospitals (the Cleveland Clinic among others) have opened branches here or are in the process of doing so. Meanwhile, the native Emirati population has ...more
Giulia Cavallari
Jul 21, 2016 Giulia Cavallari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very informative book about the 20th century im Abu Dhabi, focusing especially on 1950s onward, the discovery of oil and the overnight progress and technology that arrived in the late 60s. Looking at Abu Dhabi I can't even begin to imagine how life was 60 years ago. The book does confirm what is observable as an outsider: technology invaded the country without the people conquering it, and it was imposed on them rather that a synergical process with evolution.

The book isn't a literary masterpi
Magically Dropz
Feb 18, 2016 Magically Dropz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: maybe-fav

شعرت مع نهاية الكتاب اني أود أن امنحه النجمات الخمس ، لربما لم تكتب كافة الأحداث بتفاصيل مفصلة ككتب التاريخ و لربما كرر الكاتب بعض الأشياء هنا و هناك و لربما تحدث عن عائلته و نفسه في كثير من المواضع ... لكن لن يكون لقصة مثل هذه ان تحكى إلا بهذه الطريقة و إلا فقدت الكثير من المشاعر المرتبطة بها ، كما لو تمت كتابتها بطريقة تقريرية أكثر لفقدت القصة جوهرها و لفقدنا الكثير من ما شهده و رآه و ساهم به ، و من جهة أخرى نحن ليس لدينا الكثير من الوثائق الموثقة لتلك الفترة إلا عن طريق شاهيديها و معاصي
Jul 11, 2015 Maha added it
كتاب لطيف يتناول التاريخ القريب لدولة الامارات منذ نهاية القرن التاسع عشر حتى نهاية القرن العشري . لا يسعنا الا ان نعجب بالتطور الهائل لدولة الامارات و لمن عاصر تلك النهضة و شارك فيها منذ بداية ال ١٩٦٠ و حتى بداية القرن العشرين. المؤلف نفسة كان يسكن بيتا بلا كهرباء و يسافر من العين الى ابو ظبي في رحلة من عدة ايام على الجمال (توفي جدته و جدته في احدى هذه الرحلات) و توفت والدته وهي تلد و عمرها ثلاثون عاماً. قد يظن البعض ان حالة الوئام و الأسرار التي تعيشها دولة الامارات إنما هي لتآلف قلوب ناسها ...more
Ara Tozlikian
May 23, 2016 Ara Tozlikian rated it really liked it
I grabbed this book as i was leaving Abu Dhabi airport. I felt like i would take a bit of Abu Dhabi with me as I left.
It really is remarkable how Abu Dhabi has developed in such short time. I really enjoyed the description of how simple people were, with so little on their plate, it was quite unbelievable to think that one could change from terrible conditions in such short time.
Sheikh Zayed's guidance in such hard times was a great motive for the future of the Emirates.
Lovely book on this moder
Melissa Cavanaugh
Jan 28, 2010 Melissa Cavanaugh rated it it was ok
An interesting contrast to City of Gold as it was written by a local rather than an expat. Skip the first two chapters, a rather dry account of the emirate's growth prior to the 1960s, and tune in where the author begins interspersing accounts of his own life with an overview of the region's growth. I don't think this is for the general reader - really just someone with an interest in the area - but I liked it.
Sep 02, 2015 Virginie rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Would recommend to anybody who travels to or lives in Abu Dhabi.
Definitely the point of view of a local with an anti-British stance.
It makes you wonder at the breakneck speed of the country development.
Although only 3 stars, I still think anyone who lives in Abu Dhabi should read absolutely this. The writing is just okay but it is a fascinating story about how this place changed so fast and a wonderful peek into life before oil was found and the transition years.
Feb 26, 2010 ACRL added it
Shelves: motw
Read by ACRL Member of the Week Patricia Wand. Learn more about Patricia on the ACRL Insider blog.
its an interesting books and you will gain alot of information about the past of abudhabi
worth to read
Alia Yunis
Nov 21, 2008 Alia Yunis rated it liked it
While not a literary work, it is a great overview of the history of Abu Dhabi and how it rose from devastating poverty and isolation into extreme wealth in just over a decade.
Aug 28, 2011 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting story about a country that has come a long way in a short period of time. I enjoyed reading the book, but feel it is not for everyone.
Jun 01, 2015 Taunya rated it really liked it
A really interesting book that tells a lot of history which I previously knew nothing about. Also provides some great insights into leadership and the importance of education.
Mishaal Al
Mishaal Al rated it really liked it
Oct 08, 2012
Patrick Voigt
Patrick Voigt rated it liked it
Sep 23, 2015
Samar Ali
Samar Ali rated it really liked it
Sep 26, 2011
Harry Andreou
Harry Andreou rated it really liked it
Oct 19, 2015
Ahmed Abd el ghany
Ahmed Abd el ghany rated it it was amazing
Jan 01, 2014
Nicole rated it really liked it
Nov 13, 2015
Nassra rated it liked it
May 21, 2016
Pablo Rodriguez
Pablo Rodriguez rated it it was ok
Jun 23, 2014
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