'Diamonds, Gold and War: The Making of South Africa'

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9780743286145: 'Diamonds, Gold and War: The Making of South Africa'

SOUTHERN AFRICA was once regarded as a worthless jumble of British colonies, Boer republics, and African chiefdoms, a troublesome region of little interest to the outside world. But then prospectors chanced upon the world's richest deposits of diamonds and gold, setting off a titanic struggle between the British and the Boers for control of the region. It culminated in the costliest, bloodiest, and most humiliating war that Britain had waged in nearly a century, and left the Boer republics devastated. In this gripping history of the turbulent years leading up to the founding of the modern state of South Africa in 1910, Martin Meredith portrays the great wealth and raw power, the deceit, corruption, and racism that lay behind Britain's empire-building in southern Africa. Diamonds, Gold, and War is a tale of high adventure, high finance, and high politics that also shows the massive impact of white expansion on indigenous African societies. And it explains the rise of the virulent Afrikaner nationalism that eventually took hold, with repercussions lasting nearly a century. This editon is in 2 volumes. The Second volume isbn is 9781458718983.

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About the Author:

MARTIN MERENDITH is a journalist, biographer and historian who has written extensively on Africa and its recent history. His previous books include Mugabe and The Fate of Africa. He lives near Oxford, England.

Review:

"Despite the depth of scholarly research it contains, this book reads not as dry history but as a vivid and thrilling account of the forging of southern Africa into its present distinctive shape and character. Martin Meredith captures the colours and textures of the land and brings to life the extraordinary figures who peopled it and whose influence lingers on. His descriptions of Rhodes and Kruger, of Robinson and Barnato and all the other actors, rogues and heroes of this epic drama played out upon the scorched African veldt are filled with fascinating insights and rich with anecdotes which bring them bursting from these pages. This is a book that will take a prominent place upon my bookshelf and which I know I will re-read time and again over the years ahead." -- Wilbur Smith, author of The Quest and River God

"Enthralling....Martin Meredith has made good use not only of recent scholarly work by also of contemporary sources... [Meredith] tells the story lucidly so that the reader can draw his own moral." -- The Spectator, October 31, 2007

"Meredith offers an unvarnished portrait of what might be called 'Britain's worst hour... Diamonds, Gold, and War is a fine history of the formation of the most powerful country in Africa. It will certainly make uncomfortable reading for Rhodes' scholars, who may be shocked to learn of the bloodshed caused by the man whose name they wear with pride." -- The American, October 26, 2007

"No stone is left unturned in this dynamic analysis of an intriguing period in African history." -- Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2007

"[an] astute history... Meredith expertly shows how the exigencies of the diamond (and then gold) rush laid the foundation for apartheid." -- New Yorker, October 8, 2007

"engrossing...Anyone interested in African history and the British Empire will find this book fascinating." -- Winnipeg Free Press, October 7, 2007

"A many-faceted, sensibly incisive overview of events that could easily be oversimplified, and have been in earlier accounts." -- New York Times, November 29, 2007

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Martin Meredith
Published by Simon & Schuster (2007)
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