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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 first upon the world's richest deposits of diamonds, and then upon its richest deposits of gold. What followed was a titanic struggle between the British and the Boers for control of the land, culminating in the costliest, bloodiest, and most humiliating war that Britain had waged in nearly a century, and in the devastation of the Boer republics.
Martin Meredith's magisterial account of those years portrays the great wealth and raw power, the deceit, corruption, and racism that lay behind Britain's empire-building in southern Africa. Based on significant new research and filled with atmospheric detail, it focuses on the fascinating rivalry between diamond titan Cecil Rhodes and Paul Kruger, the Boer leader whose only education was the Bible, who believed the earth was flat, yet who defied Britain's prime ministers and generals for nearly a quarter of a century. Diamonds, Gold and War makes palpable the cost of western greed to Africa's native peoples, and explains the rise of the virulent Afrikaner nationalism that eventually took hold in South Africa, with repercussions lasting nearly a century.
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Martin Meredith is a journalist, biographer, and historian who has written extensively on Africa and its recent history. His previous books include Our Votes, Our Guns: Robert Mugabe and the Tragedy of Zimbabwe and The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence. 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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Book Description PublicAffairs, 2007. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110743286146
Book Description Simon & Schuster, 2007. Soft cover. Condition: New. Brand new book!. Seller Inventory # 000820