Inside Qatar (Paperback)
Hidden Stories from One of the Richest Nations on Earth
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'A wonderful and sometimes devastating book … sophisticated, nuanced, fair-minded and yet very hard hitting' SIMON KUPER
'This will transport you to Qatar and teach you with humanity and empathy some of the dark truths about globalisation' BEN JUDAH
'John McManus is a remarkable, compelling writer' RORY STEWART
'Wise, well informed, fair-minded and honest' PETER OBORNE
AN INTIMATE PORTRAIT OF LIFE IN THE FIFA 2022 WORLD CUP'S HOST NATION
Just 75 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 Men's World Cup, anthropologist John McManus lifts a lid on the hidden worlds of its gilded elite, its spin doctors and thrill seekers, its manual labourers and domestic workers.
The sum of their tales is not some exotic cabinet of curiosities. Instead, Inside Qatar opens a window onto the global problems – of unfettered capitalism, growing inequality and climate change – that concern us all.
A stunning exposé … A social anthropologist by trade, McManus's focus is not on the secretive intrigues of Qatar's ruling family, but on the lives of ordinary people – in particular the estimated 2.3 million guest workers who outnumber the locals by nearly ten to one … McManus is an engaging writer, who can bring even anonymous interviewees to life.
A committed and conscientious account … McManus is an empathetic and sharp-eyed guide.
A genuine attempt to grapple with the mysteries of a very curious place … McManus explores the country's controversial labour practices soberly and without sensationalism, and tries to understand the complexities.
Entertaining, in-depth and compassionate.
Written with compassion and balance, Inside Qatar offers a nuanced, revealing portrait of a profoundly unequal country … it is a penetrating glimpse into a country of "camps and compounds" which, for a few weeks later this year, will be the focus of the world's eyes.
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.
This will transport you to Qatar and teach you with humanity and empathy some of the dark truths about globalisation.
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.
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.
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.
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.