Rhodes & Barnato: The Premier and the Prancer

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Leo Cooper, 1997 - Architecture - 277 pages
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This is the story of two young men who emigrated to South Africa in the late 19th century and who, together and separately - and quite unintentionally - were largely responsible for transforming a minor pastoral colony into a major industrial nation.
Cecil Rhodes, the son of a Hertfordshire vicar, was only 17 when he sailed to Durban to help an elder brother grow cotton on a small farm.
Barney Barnato, part-time boxer, barman and down-the-bill music hall comic, the son of an East End old clothes dealer, was three years older when he left England for Cape Town with [pound]30 capital and forty boxes of dubious cigars with which he intended to start trading.
Both these modest aims were suddenly and totally overtaken when they joined thousands of other enthusiastic amateurs digging for diamonds. Most found very few, but Rhodes and Barnato were immediately successful and on an unprecedented scale. Within a few years they were fabulously wealthy - billionaires by today's value.
One used his money to give his name to a country and to the scholarships that have offered many young men (and latterly women) round the world the opportunity of an Oxford education denied him at their age. The other formed a bank and became one of Britain's first self-made tycoons.
Much has been written about both men, but this is the first book which sets out to compare and contrast their very different personalities.
This book shows what Cecil Rhodes and Barney Barnato were like - not as pioneers, entrepreneurs and financiers - but simply as people - and explains how two such outwardly ordinary men succeeded beyond all imagining... and the price both finally paid for their years of power and glory.

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A Vicars Son sets out to Grow Cotton
A Mans Life is What His Thoughts Make of It

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About the author (1997)

James Leasor was educated at The City of London School and Oriel College, Oxford. In World War II he was commissioned into the Royal Berkshire Regiment and posted to the 1st Lincolns in Burma and India, where he served for three and a half years. His experiences there inspired him to write such books as Boarding Party (filmed as The Sea Wolves) and The One that Got Away, the story of the sole German POW to escape from Allied hands. Passport to Oblivion, part of the Dr. Jason Love book series, was published in nineteen countries and was filmed as Where the Spies Are with David Niven.

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