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From Rags to Riches: A Story of Abu Dhabi (Anglais) Broché – 30 novembre 2008

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Book by Al Fahim Mohammed

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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5 8 commentaires
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An Inspiring Read 7 mars 2009
Par Vahan Janjigian - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I recently traveled to Abu Dhabi and was given this book as a gift. It was a wonderful surprise. The book covers the history of Abu Dhabi--both the far past and the recent past. It is particularly interesting from the 1950s and beyond. The author, Mohammed Al-Fahim, grew up in Abu Dhabi during this period. The reader experiences the period through the author's eyes. Mr. Al-Fahim's bitterness sometimes comes through--and rightly so. For example, his mother died in childbirth when she was only 30. Her death would have been preventable if proper medical attention were made available. He blames the British for exploiting the region and its people without giving much in return for a long time. But the book is extremely well-balanced. He also blames previous rulers for being reluctant to improve living conditions to the same standards of the rest of the world. However, Mr. Al-Fahim is extremely fond of Sheikh Zayed whom he knew well and who did much to improve the lot of his people. Anyone interested in the Middle East, the politics of oil, and how moderate Islam can live harmoniously with the West should read this book.
0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 history from the ground 8 juin 2011
Par Tabboush - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This is the first history book I read that was not written by a historian. Historians often document history that has been shaped by the politics of the time. It is so refreshing to read history through the eyes of an individual that lived it. In general, historical accounts are influenced by the writer's bias, either a historian influenced by the research documentations that have already been shaped by the politics or an individual relaying their own personal perception of historical accounts. However, I find that the naiveté that comes through from the author in this book, a strong sentiment to the integrity of information and historical stories recited in this book. This book made me develop a great admiration to this country and its people.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Very interesting! 17 avril 2013
Par Harriet Sheinman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I read this book before I visited Abu Dhabi and it gave me a wonderful overview. The UAE is a facinating country!
5.0 étoiles sur 5 eye opening account of Abu Dhabi from 1950's on 2 mars 2015
Par Dr. Ronald K. Wright - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I had occasion to buy from Rags to Riches while I was in Abu Dhabi on business. I found the book well written by a close friend of the Sheik. Of course he is biased in the sheiks favor. They grew up together and Mr. Fahim is one of the people who literally went from rags to riches due to the Sheik's gifts, which were distributed to the entire population, according to Mr. Fahim.
To me it is staggering that a remarkable modern kingdom today had no paved roads in 1968. Amazing.
To understand Abu Dhabi I would certainly recommend this well written book
8 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Abu Dhabi - From the Emirati Perspective 30 juillet 2011
Par CMS - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Mohammed Al Fahim's 'From Rags to Riches' is unfortunately a disappointment. As other reviews have pointed out, the author is clearly biased toward Sheikh Zayed and the Emirati perspective. Most of the Emiratis' problems are blamed on the British: they limit trade with the outside world, stunting Abu Dhabi's development and do not invest in building local infrastructure or health services. When describing some of the UK's positive contributions to Abu Dhabi's development - like preventing its being overrun by Saudi Arabia - the author dismisses the country as acting "for its own selfish interests" (don't all states behave this way?).

The tone and style of the book is also awkward and inconsistent with scholarly work (e.g. colloquial phrasing like "lock, stock, and barrel" is sprinkled throughout the text). While the author admits that his work is more a collection of stories told to him by his ancestors, he seems to weave into and out of the historical events without thoroughly developing his arguments. He is fairly critical of the backwards Sheikh Shakhbut but once again blames the British for the ruler's reluctance to initiate development projects in the country (he also alludes to Shakhbut's reluctance to move on any development project not linked in to a "central plan" but once again doesn't develop his thoughts).

Al Fahim is also thoughtlessly praiseworthy of Sheikh Zayed. At one point, he spends several pages fawning over every aspect of the ruler's essence and never even hints that such a man could contain any faults. While Al Fahim admits to growing up in the sheikh's household, he could at least offer some token criticism to maintain a small degree of credulity. Another disappointing section concerns the author's attempt at a mea culpa in the final chapters (he was apparently a high officer for an Emirati financial services firm that was essentially a major ponzi scheme). The awkward tangent doesn't fit with the remainder of the work and feels excessively defensive.

However, some of the worst sections of the book concern the author's glossing over of the most relevant social issue currently concerning the Emirates: the large expatriate population. Al Fahim complains early on that the oil companies came in and developed Abu Dhabi but failed to give the native Emiratis any of the most selective jobs, training, or a voice in the state of their own affairs. He also briefly mentions that the locals have always entertained foreign passers-through and provided them the utmost hospitality. He fails to mention that the Emirates currently host a foreign population ten times its own size, and these people live a voiceless, status-less life. Claiming that they currently enjoy a better life than in their own countries is fair, but criticizing the British and foreign companies for the same behavior currently practiced by the Emirati government reeks of hypocrisy.

Overall, a disappointing work.
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