Blood Diamonds

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Overview

First discovered in 1930, the diamonds of Sierra Leone have funded one of the most savage rebel campaigns in modern history. These "blood diamonds" are smuggled out of West Africa and sold to legitimate diamond merchants in London, Antwerp, and New York, often with the complicity of the international diamond industry. Eventually, these very diamonds find their way into the rings and necklaces of brides and spouses the world over. Blood Diamonds is the gripping tale of how the diamond smuggling works, how the ...

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Overview

First discovered in 1930, the diamonds of Sierra Leone have funded one of the most savage rebel campaigns in modern history. These "blood diamonds" are smuggled out of West Africa and sold to legitimate diamond merchants in London, Antwerp, and New York, often with the complicity of the international diamond industry. Eventually, these very diamonds find their way into the rings and necklaces of brides and spouses the world over. Blood Diamonds is the gripping tale of how the diamond smuggling works, how the rebel war has effectively destroyed Sierra Leone and its people, and how the policies of the diamond industry - institutionalized in the 1880s by the De Beers cartel - have allowed it to happen. Award-winning journalist Greg Campbell traces the deadly trail of these diamonds, many of which are brought to the world market by fanatical enemies. These repercussions of diamond smuggling are felt far beyond the borders of the poor and war-ridden country of Sierra Leone, and the consequences of overlooking this African tragedy are both shockingly deadly and unquestionably global. Updated with a new epilogue.

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Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
Campbell, a freelance writer, sets out to rub the noses of diamond-lovers in the gore of Sierra Leone's brutal civil war (1991-2001), in which a rebel army of thieves seized the country's diamond fields and specialized in amputating the limbs of villagers to force their cooperation in the plunder. Arriving on the scene in 2001, Campbell interviewed survivors and observed efforts, often bumbling, by the UN's huge peacekeeping mission to stabilize the country. Is there a way to bar the sale of tainted gems on the world market? Ultimately no, the author says, given the ease of smuggling something with such low weight and high value. But this fact has not stopped the De Beers corporation, which still controls about 65 percent of world sales of uncut diamonds, from trying mightily to convince consumers that its diamonds are clean. At this stage, however, few consumers know about the villagers in Sierra Leone, or that al Qaeda laundered money by buying blood diamonds, or that Liberian President Charles Taylor, the Slobodan Milosevic of Africa, has remained in power largely through illicit diamond deals with the Sierra Leone rebels.
Library Journal
Freelance journalist Campbell here writes about the cost of diamonds not in dollars to the consumer but in blood, torture, and death for the unfortunate residents of contested mining areas in Sierra Leone. He explains that "conflict diamonds," or "blood diamonds," which account for only three to four percent of all diamonds sold, are mined in war zones, smuggled out of the country, and sold to legitimate companies, financing ruinous civil wars and the plots of international terrorists, including the al Qaeda network. The gems' value and portability have made controlling the diamond mines important to guerrilla fighters, who maim and kill innocent villagers to secure their territory. Campbell has spoken with individuals all along the pipeline, from miners to soldiers to smugglers, and the grim portrait he paints will make many people think twice about buying another diamond. While Matthew Hart's Diamond: A Journey to the Heart of an Obsession covered the international diamond trade more widely, this focused study of the catastrophic effect of blood diamonds on Sierra Leone belongs in all libraries. Deirdre Bray Root, Middletown P.L., OH Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The sorry role the diamond has played in the history of Sierra Leone, stunningly told by journalist Campbell (The Road to Kosovo, 1999). Sierra Leone is "a vacuum of violence, poverty, warlords and misery, a tiny corner of western Africa where the wheels have fallen completely off," writes Campbell, its politics as raw and unrelenting as the natural environment. But the country has lots of diamonds: it’s "diamondiferous." It was also home, until the beginning of this year, to a civil war, fueled by diamonds, wherein the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), which is neither revolutionary nor united, killed 75,000 people and mutilated another 20,000, turning 80% of the 5 million civilians into refugees. The war involved much murder, dismemberment, and gouging, and diamonds kept it going, gems destined to go not just to the De Beers consortium, but to Al Qaeda as well, a handy liquid asset that couldn’t be frozen and travels well: "Three hundred grams of diamonds are equal in value to 40,000 pounds of iron ore, but only one of those commodities can be successfully smuggled in one’s bowels." Campbell follows the murky trail of the gems from mine to mainstream as they’re taken from grubby pits in the rainforest—mined by what can only be called slave labor—carried by mule to Liberia, The Gambia, and Guinea, thence to the great diamond centers in New York, Israel, and the Netherlands. Campbell travels the breadth of Sierra Leone to gather his story—a savvy blend of history, mercenary operations, corporate shenanigans, and war reporting—surely putting himself in as much danger as Doug Farah, the Washington Post reporter who uncovered the Al Qaeda connection and had to leave West Africa hastily.Readers of Campbell’s horrific tale—from killing fields to corporate boardrooms and all the seedy, murderous, and pathetic characters that fall between—who don’t demand proof-of-source on any diamond purchase ought to have their ethics examined. (10 b&w photographs)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786158324
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/28/2006
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 6.72 (w) x 6.18 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Table of Contents

Prologue : impact : the price of diamonds
1 From pits of despair to altars of love 1
2 Diamond junction : a smuggler's paradise 25
3 The gun runners : from Tongo to Tiffany's 59
4 Death by diamonds : operation no living thing 79
5 The syndicate : a diamond is forever 99
6 Waging peace : taking the conflict out of "conflict diamonds" 139
7 The way station : next stop, Liberia 165
8 "The base" : Osama's war chest 183
9 The rough road ahead : mining for peace 203
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2004

    A Compelling Narrative with Its Flaws

    Campbell writes compelling narrative with a fascinating array of characters - corrupt dictators, warlords, mercenaries, peacekeepers, child soldiers, missionaries, shady Middle Eastern merchants, diamond buyers, jewelers, diplomats, et al. - weaving in the tragedy that the pursuit of instant riches in the alluvial diamond fields of West Africa has wrought. The result is a modern morality tale about the scarce resources, globalization, and violence. The book, however, is flawed by its author's failure to properly situate his narrative within the historical and political context of subregional conflict involving Liberia and Sierra Leone. The reader would thus do well to supplement this volume with a good political narrative like Pham's LIBERIA: PORTRAIT OF A FAILED STATE (Reed Press) or Ellis's MASK OF ANARCHY (New York University Press) in order to get a complete picture.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2003

    Finally the truth... America's cover-up

    This book is an compelling story of the truth and what really takes place behind close doors in Africa. I am thrilled that someone has shed light on such an important issue that people do not even take the time out to think where some of the goods that are worn and purchase stem from...the Blood of innocent 'BLACK' people that are forever scarred; for what Beauty. The expolt of Black africian. Shame on AMERICA.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2003

    Wow! I Had No Idea ...

    What an eye opening book. The thought of pre-teens and teenagers carrying and using AK-47's and machetes -- scares me. The description of the horrific things that they and their accomplice did -- terrifies me. The role that our government played -- embarrasses me. The role that the diamond industry played -- angers me. I will never look at diamonds the same way again.

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