A List of Suggested Readings - Qatar

If you ask a North American to give you a description of Qatar, chances are they will give you a personal opinion. Since they are bombarded on a daily basis with news coverage of events in the Middle East, many North Americans think they have a handle on what to expect in Qatar. But the reality is that the only way to prepare you for the realities of Qatar is to personally conduct your own research.

1) What Every American Should Know About the Middle East, 2008 edition, by Melissa Rossi

This book supplies an introductory dusting of knowledge pertaining to the Middle East. Rossi breaks the book into several sections, each dealing with a specific Middle Eastern country. The sections begin with a brief history of a particular nation followed by statistical data of the people who live there (e.g., ethnicity, religion, literacy rate, etc.). The author's section on Qatar offers a well- blended narrative of statistics, descriptions, and humorous anecdotes. I recommend this book for anyone desiring a brief working knowledge of Qatar.

Amazon: What Every American Should Know About the Middle East

2) Qatar Wields an Outsize Influence in Arab Politics, by Anthony Shadid, The New York Times, November 14, 2011

Anthony Shadid's article is an excellent source for anyone wishing to grasp how Qatar is changing and how it fits into the bigger picture of the Middle East. American-born Shadid, who died while reporting from Syria in February 2012, had respected Middle Eastern journalism credentials, and was a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the Iraq War.

3) Magic Kingdom: Is Qatar Too Good to be True?, by Aryn Baker, TIME, November 2, 2011

Aryn Baker's article describes Qatar's nearly two-decade long makeover. The author explains in detail the specific changes that have transformed the country from an isolated backwater to the hopeful beacon of peace it has become of late. That being said, Baker also identifies what she calls the "dark skeleton" of human inequality, which looms behind Qatar's friendly face. She explains how the large levels of disparity, which exist between Qatari citizens and its thousands of foreign workers, serve to harm the country from within. Essentially, Baker describes Qatar like a crystal palace that must repair its cracks before the looming international storm arrives at its borders. Her article offers a thoughtful analysis of the rarely viewed or questioned inner workings of Qatar.

4) 100 Myths About the Middle East, 2005 edition, by Fred Halliday

This book serves as an excellent resource to debunk misconceptions commonly attributed to Middle Eastern nations. The author dismantles myths ranging from the perceived dangerous environment of the Middle East to the perceived universal lack of women's rights in the region to propaganda put forth by Islamophobic figures in the West. Using newspaper articles, various academic sources, and quotes from world leaders, the author explains why a particular myth exists before proceeding to methodically disassemble it. The book also features an extensive glossary of terms and events, which help the reader orient themselves with Middle Eastern lingo. Armed with the knowledge of this book, you may confidently scrutinize and understand North American coverage of the Middle East. I hope Halliday will update his book to account for the Arab Spring Uprisings, which began December, 2010.

Amazon: 100 Myths About the Middle East

5) Qatar: Complete Residents' Guide, by Explorer Group LTD

Having visited Qatar at the end of last November, I can attest to the usefulness of this relocation guide. Not only does the book cover the sites and sounds of Doha, Qatar's capital, but also goes into great detail with respect to the creature comforts we take for granted (e.g., setting up your internet, gas, garbage disposal, etc.).

Amazon: Qatar: Complete Residents' Guide — note, 2010 (there is a 2011 guide, but it is listing as out of print; a 2012 edition is set for September release)

6) Qatar, 2008 edition, by David Chaddock

This coffee table book is rich with photographs of Qatar taken by UK-based photographer Terry McCormick. The photos are accompanied by brief descriptions written by the author. This book is a superb visual resource, in the sense that its contents give you an overall idea of what Qatar looks like.

Amazon: Qatar

7) Our website is also an excellent resource for those relocating to Qatar. I have written several informative articles, which range from recreational activities available to those new to the State of Qatar to a brief political argument which summarizes my view of where Qatar is and where it is going in its domestic and international political policies.

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