Book Review

Book review: Inside Qatar – Lifting the curtain on a tiny but powerful petrostate

As Qatar prepares to controversially host the 2022 World Cup, an English journalist tries to get inside the enigma of the small Gulf peninsula with an almost limitless bank balance

‘Like sweet poison’: Qatar is a land of contrasts in terms of wealth, rights and freedom. Picture: Universal Images Group via Getty

Until the middle of the last century, Qatar was one of the poorest countries in the world. The 1930s was a particularly difficult time for the Gulf state. Qatar’s tiny economy revolved around pearl diving, but global demand for pearls collapsed during the Great Depression. Things got so bad that the country’s ruler had to take out a mortgage on his house. But in 1939, oil was discovered onshore and a decade later Qatar started ...