- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (September 15, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312535740
- ISBN-13: 978-0312535742
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 56 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,569,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The modern city-state of Dubai exists largely because two men willed it so. Through a combination of prescient investment of resources, grandiose vision and the freedoms of absolute rule, the late Sheikh Rashid and his son (and current ruler) Sheikh Mohammed transformed the backwater village into a global powerhouse erupting onto the earth. Mohammed's ideas are so stamped on the landscape that two of his poems are being written on the sea as a group of [artificial] islands. Dubai-based journalist Krane does a superb job of conveying the near-manic atmosphere swirling around the creation of the world's tallest building (half a mile high), first indoor ski slope (in a mall) and—incidentally—the world's largest carbon footprint, revealing the creativity and tolerance that characterize a city where 95% of its residents are foreigners, as well as the inevitable costs of such lavish ambition. Environmental needs have been ignored (another island was built atop a coral reserve, and migrant laborers and sex workers face routine abuse and exploitation. A fascinating study of a small nation that has taken the ideas of modernization and capitalism to their outer limits. (Sept.)
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“The history of a little Emirate’s epic transformation, from an impoverished pearling enclave, to the shining city on the hill, is revealed in full detail. Jim Krane is a great reporter, whose journalistic credentials are brought to bear in this unique work that is infused with facts, ample history, emotion and stunning narratives. He leads his audience into the nooks and crannies of the "unknown" Dubai, to reveal the humanity and intrigue that pulsates beneath the surface. He shows how powerful persons with a global reach collaborated to build an economic gem out of the desert. This is a fast-moving Arabian tale, but very much a modern one; not only laden with facts, it is a guidebook and cautionary tale for other developing nations in their quest to rapidly achieve the Western dream.”-- Justin Dargin, Harvard University - author of Desert Dreams and The Dolphin Project: The Development of a Gulf Gas Initiative
"Dubai is fortunate to have as skilled and passionate a chronicler as Jim Krane. The city leaps off these pages with panache, brassiness, splendor and suffering. There is no better book about Dubai, and there may never be." --Jon Alterman, Director of the Middle East Program at CSIS and author of The Vital Triangle: China, The United States and The Middle East
“How did one of the planet’s last unexplored wastelands, for millennia ignored by history, become in just a few short decades the playground of the unimaginably rich? In City of Gold, Jim Krane traces the fascinating and long overlooked history of Dubai, from pirate battles and eccentric British explorers to the glittering spires of a metropolis that emerged from nowhere, in prose as spare and enchanting as a desert fairy tale.”--James Hider, author of The Spiders of Allah: Travels of an Unbeliever on the Frontline of Holy War and Mideast correspondent The Times of London
“A marvelous book. Beautifully written! Jim Krane has written a fascinating account of a Middle East we rarely get to hear about. Jim Krane’s book on Dubai’s rise and fall -- in this era of global financial crisis -- is a cautionary tale for us all.”--Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, NPR Middle East Correspondent
Top customer reviews
In fact, I found myself searching to see if Mr. Krane had an updated edition, but unfortunately it appears not at present. Four or five years after the greatest global financial meltdown since the 1930's, and Dubai being one of the greatest growth stories of the past 20 years, we need an update on how Dubai has faired. Seems like there could be multiple new chapters - at least two on the financial meltdown itself and how it impacted Dubai, another chapter on what Dubai and its leaders have learned from it, another chapter on the new building projects Dubai is proposing and now unleashing...the massive replica Taj Mahal, MBR City, an island that will house the world's largest ferris wheel, new malls, Dubai's bid for World Expo 2020, et al. Plus another chapter on what is happening in the development of the arts in Dubai...for example, Dubai had its first homegrown big budget film (City of Life) a few years back that drew considerable international attention.
The Dubai growth story is getting back on track, and this is a city we need to keep an eye on. Mr. Krane seems the writer most likely to give us a thoughtful and balanced update. Anyone out there know whether an updated edition might be in the works?
For the first-timer to Dubai, I don't think you could do much better than this book. The author is clearly fascinated by his subject matter, and brings passion and deep expertise to his writing. Mr. Krane presents Dubai through the eyes of a reporter, providing first-hand interviews from the men and women behind the scenes in Dubai, and presenting several facets of the key aspects of the city. Rather than a puff piece or agenda-driven slash job, the author presents the positives and negatives of Dubai's breakneck development and allows the reader to form their own conclusions at the benefit of his research and commentary. While it's missing the details of Dubai's economic crash, it certainly gives one the grounding to make more sense of Dubai's chances for the future.
Aside from a jab or two at former US President GW Bush, which seems a bit hackneyed and trite in 2012, the book was well-researched and unbiased, and managed the difficult task of remaining entertaining rather than reading like a graduate thesis. I was unable to set the book down, and found my evening walks through Dubai complemented by each chapter I read. The only flaw I found was several photographs are mentioned in the acknowledgments, but none appear in the Kindle edition of the book, although they would not have been missed unless one read the end notes.
For the casual observer, it's tempting to dismiss Dubai as the "Las Vegas of the Middle East," but Mr. Krane provides a deeper, more nuanced view of this fascinating place. Beneath the shiny buildings there are subtle undercurrents, and I found each chapter of this book provided a welcome exposure to yet another facet of the City of Gold.
Most recent customer reviews
Got the answer to a lot of unanswered questions reading this book.
Good and easy read for sure.