x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Dubai on the rise

The author of a new book documenting the rise of Dubai is hoping his work will enhance the knowledge of the city and the Middle East in the West.

DUBAI // The author of a new book documenting the rise of Dubai is hoping his work will enhance the knowledge of the city and the Middle East in the West. Speaking at the Dubai School of Government, Jim Krane said his book, City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism, had been prompted by western ignorance of the city when he first moved to Dubai in 2005. Mr Krane, a former Associated Press journalist, said: "I worked in Iraq for a year between 2003 and 2004, just after the American invasion. Then I was re-posted to Dubai and the contrast between the two places was amazing.

"I had never studied the Middle East and was watching Baghdad being destroyed. And as fast as that was happening, Dubai was rising up." Based on the anecdotes, interviews and observations of more than 100 people, the book covers Dubai's history, the accomplishments of its leaders, the Government's framework, the city's relations with Iran and the US, and how the global financial downturn is affecting the local economy. However, the book, which is being published in the US and UK, also describes some of the less impressive by-products of the city's success.

Mr Krane's frank description of the city's labour camps and the environmental impact of its rapid development gave rise to concern among some Emiratis in the audience that his approach was too negative. One Emirati woman said: "I totally agree with you that there are negatives in Dubai but in the US there are a lot of people suffering from homelessness. We would like you to consider that in the book. "There are so many negatives but also so many positives. How old is this country? You cannot compare it. We don't know where this country will go in the future."

But Mr Krane insisted the overall tone of his book, which is due to be released in September, was positive, citing the benefits of the stable leadership Dubai has enjoyed since 1833 and the number of Emirati women in education and positions of authority. "I told you guys some of the findings that were by-products of rapid growth and they are negative, for sure, but overall the story of this place is inspirational," he said. "I would be boring a local audience if I only talked about the history of the place and all of Sheikh Mohammed's accomplishments.

"I sold this book to my publisher as a positive book on the Middle East, which has been a gloomy genre in publishing for a long time. I am not someone who is down on Dubai." loatway@thenational.ae