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Dubai Books

The United Arab Emirates: A Study In Survival

Product Description
The United Arab Emirates has remained a mainstay of stability in an increasingly volatile Middle East, managing to maintain a traditional polity despite the impact of rapid modernization and globalization. This in-depth study explores the many contradictions that characterize the UAE and its position within the international system. Davidson first provides a detailed historical background, tracing the recent history of the lower Gulf region, the British involvement in the area, and the establishment of the federation of emirates. He then turns his attention to the UAE’s seemingly anachronistic political structure and its socioeconomic development. His astute analysis highlights the UAE’s achievements, as well as the problems that have persistently undermined its development objectives.

The United Arab Emirates: A Study In Survival


  1. I must concurr with bambi that I have read this book and have found it poorly backed by sources, grand claims made without backing, desplays a clear bias towards any political development that devaites from the western model, explains qoutes and speeches that are provided in the book in a manner not intended by the authors of those qoutes. This book is one intended at a western audience who will not be able to refute the claims of the books not because of thier lack of intelligence but because of the countries information is not well known in the outside world. The author has in the best of judgment and the best of lights made a mockery of any scholastic venture made of any country yet.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  2. As an Emarati national living in Abu-Dhabi(Capital city) I found this book to have lot of questions that need to be answered. Certain statements the author made about the politic’s of the country had either no sources or the source was not good enough to make any just assumptions (most people interviewed were either from another city in the Emirates or people who were originally from Iran)I think to make it fair Dr.Chris should have spoken to UAE nationals from the UAE and taken their perspective. Overall i would rate it as average and most of its contents are not well sourced.
    Rating: 2 / 5

  3. Davidson’s book may appear to be a useful guide to those unacquainted with the region. But, for those who are from the Gulf and know enough to question his information and assertions we find names that are mispelled or confused with others, we find events relating to the succession of rulers made up, quotes misinterpreted, vagueness in describing time periods and the text riddled with gossip. This is not unique to his book, as similar errors can be found in his article on the politics of succession that was published in the Middle East Policy Council Journal. Two examples readily available from his article that was published this summer (2006) are 1) his description of Sheikh Abdullah as the Minister of Information & Culture, when as of January 2006 he has been Minister of Foreign Affairs. 2) Where he explains that the `best informed locals and veteran expatriates’ predicted a succession that bypassed the two eldest sons of Sheikh Zayed.

    Davidson’s (incorrect) sequence of imparting information jeopardises his analysis of events and their importance. Hence, while it may make for interesting reading of fiction, it can hardly be taken seriously.

    If you take a look at his acknowledgements, he thanks his students for contributing information.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  4. Overall I thought the book was very well put together and achieves what the author set out to achieve. Based on my knowledge (personal and professional) it is an accurate reflection on the UAE. However, two points I would like to make in relation to the book. First, while Davidson discusses the role Indians played in the early days of the UAE unfortunately they have been left out of modern developments. At the commercial level, expatriate Indians have been a very significant force in the overall development of the UAE. Second, Davidson wants to use quantity as an (almost) measure of quality. When he refers to the various public services available (notably hospitals and public schools) there are some questions about the quality of the services being provided, especially in some of the Emirates outside of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. But he does manage to capture and convey the dynamic and rapidly changing nature of the UAE.
    Rating: 4 / 5

  5. This is easy to follow and has some very good diagrams. It shows that independent research can be done in countries like the UAE which most people seem to assume are still far too sensitive. There is a huge list of sources including interviews and government documents, and at the end is probably the most extensive bibliography (in English and Arabic) on this part of the world. Saudi Arabia could use a similar book.
    Rating: 5 / 5


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