This is a story of how a small, impoverished country was transformed almost overnight into a rich, corrupt, and dysfunctional welfare state controlled by a few families. We see what happened to the people who found themselves wealthy all of a sudden. We see how foreigners flocked from all corners of the world to work there, or to exploit others. How a system was created to serve the few at the expense of the many. How a society was brainwashed into accepting a thinly veiled caste system and a Big Brother rule. How the small country amassed power and influence over superpowers. How the façade became the strength and lies superseded truth.
Humans are first and foremost storytellers, and expatriates tend to be the best at it. The ones in this book have colourful experiences, complex personalities, real struggles, astonishing resilience, and in many cases, a remarkable grasp of reality. There is the German who came to hide from her past, the French wife whose husband left her for a younger woman, but she managed to turn it all around and emerge more successful than ever, the Venezuelan who traded herself for promises that proved to be lies, and the Pole who made a home there. Then, there are the locals who stood up to the authority and the countless renowned intellectuals who resigned themselves to servitude and duplicity.
Alongside these true stories, the book provides facts and analysis that should provoke cause for concern, because what happened in this oil rich state is being imitated in different countries worldwide.