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Father of Dubai (E)150

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Father of Dubai was the first authorised biography of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, late Ruler of Dubai, an honest attempt at understanding the man who, as Britain’s Independent newspaper commented; "led his pocket-sized Gulf emirate to unprecedented prosperity based not only on oil but also on trade". The boom describes the youthful Sheikh Rashid as a 'serious young man' who was groomed to be a leader by his dynamic mother, the remarkable Sheikha Hessa and his gentle father, Sheikh Saeed, the Dubai Ruler.

From the age of 12, Sheikh Rashid was a permanent fixture in the ruler's majlis, where he was schooled in the art of leadership and became acquainted with the sheikhdom and its many problems. By the mid-twenties, he was independently wealthy. His imposing personality and drive soon began to attract an equally dynamic and creative group of young and old residents of Dubai.

Serving as Heir Apparent was not an attractive proposition during Sheikh Rashid's youth, especially when the pearl-driven Gulf economies crashed with the emergence of Japanese cultured pearls. In 1929, 17-year-old Sheikh Rashid witnessed the region’s 'Great Depression'. Pearling boats lay idle, merchants went bankrupt and unemployment was widespread. Against the backdrop of a fragile economy set in a harsh desert landscape, Sheikh Rashid made his first moves to build one of of the most prosperous city-states in the world.

In 1958, Sheikh Saeed passed away. Sheikh Rashid, a man of ideas and relentless ambition, was ready. His engergy filled majlis was described as ‘An Arabian Camelot’ by one British official in 1962, an allusion to the White House of John F. Kennedy which was, at the time, burning brightly.

As the book contends, from this time 'One imaginative programme followed another', all emanating from the Ruler's Majlis, and by the early 1980's Dubai had in place an infrastructure which rivalled any in the Gulf'. Whether it was constructing inexpensive accomodation for Dubai's working class or the world's largest man-made harbour at Jebel Ali, Sheikh Rashid showed remarkable drive and courage. While rulers elsewhere preferred lining their own pockets, he utilised the limited resources in Dubai, borrowing money at times, to secure a prosperous future for his people and the region.

Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum passed away in 1990, but his legacy lives on.

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