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

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PublicAffairs, 2007 - History - 570 pages
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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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Diamonds, Gold, and War: The British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Meredith (The Fate of Africa ) continues his superb accounts of Africa, here centering on the period from the discovery of the first diamond field in 1870 to the formation of the modern state in 1910 ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Austin - Goodreads

A very readable history of the period leading up to Apartheid South Africa. Covers the discovery of diamonds and gold in SA, the colonial British presence, Cecil Rhodes, the Afrikaner republics, and famous native African leaders like Shaka Zulu. Read full review

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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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