Diamonds, Gold, and War: The British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa

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PublicAffairs, 2007 - History - 570 pages
38 Reviews
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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Review: Diamonds, Gold, and War: The Making of South Africa

User Review  - Evan - Goodreads

I don't know what led me to purchase this book, but it turned out to be a fascinating read. This book focused on the time in South Africa prior to the introduction to Apartheid. It tells the history ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Pablo - Goodreads

Excellent overview of early and later SA history. Works well with the Mandela biography to bring one up to date. Read full review

About the author (2007)

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.

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