Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Qatar: A Modern History

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Qatar: A Modern History

Article excerpt

Qatar: A Modern History. By Allen J. Fromherz. London: LB. Tauris, 2012. 204 pp. $29.95.

The small peninsular state of Qatar, with a 1940 population of 1 6,000 on the brink of starvation, has weathered the austerity of the mid-twentieth century to emerge as the wealthiest country in the world per capita (population 225,000, per capita income US$ 109,000). In recent years, it has increasingly translated this wealth into political influence. This can particularly be seen in the state's investment in al-Jazeera television, which over the course of the 2000s emerged to become arguably the most influential broadcaster in the Middle East, as well as in the regime's proactive and oft-noted role in the recent Arab uprisings. Fromherz's Qatar: A Modern History represents the first generalist history of the country and examines its emergence.

As much as Qatar's fortunes have changed during the course of the twentieth century, Fromherz also explores its continuities. Though the country's skyline has been transformed by a forest of skyscrapers, and its waistline is burdened by an obesity crisis, "the traditional, underlying structures that defined Qatari life for decades remain remarkably resilient. …

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