Cecil Rhodes: Flawed Colossus

Cecil Rhodes: Flawed Colossus

by Brian Roberts
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Cecil Rhodes 'lived only for his schemes and enjoyed life only as a cannon ball enjoys space, travelling to its aim blindly and spreading ruin on its way. He was a great man, no doubt - a man who rendered immense service to his country, but humanity is not much indebted to him.'

The time is ripe for a new biography of Cecil Rhodes: the hero of imperialism needs

…  See more details below

Overview

Cecil Rhodes 'lived only for his schemes and enjoyed life only as a cannon ball enjoys space, travelling to its aim blindly and spreading ruin on its way. He was a great man, no doubt - a man who rendered immense service to his country, but humanity is not much indebted to him.'

The time is ripe for a new biography of Cecil Rhodes: the hero of imperialism needs to be seen with the perspective to examine the tremendous changes which have taken place since the British Empire was at its height.

This major re-assessment deals with the man, rather than the politics - and shows Rhodes to be ruthless, energetic, idealistic, and very much a product of his time.

We see him first as a far from amiable child, the son of a country vicar. As a youth he went to South Africa, where he made a fortune diamond mining. This fortune provided the means to pursue his political ambitions - a crazy dream to put as much red on the map as possible. In fact he only achieved what was to become Northern and Southern Rhodesia. His brutality to the native peoples of Africa, his financial chicanery, his involvement in the farcical Jameson Raid, his suppressed homosexuality, his ideas about racial superiority, and his exaggerated respect for an Oxford education which led to his most lasting memorial - the Rhodes Scholarships - are all covered in this frank biography.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Power-hungry capitalist, egocentric imposter, asexual political robot, ruthless racistthese epithets have been hurled at Rhodes, the architect of British colonialism in southern Africa. To Roberts, author of The Diamond Magnates, they are all unfair. ``Rhodes was a racist . . . but the extent of his color prejudice is debatable,'' the author writes, adding that the mining mogul was swept up in British imperialism as a civilizing quest and cannot be held responsible for modern-day apartheid. In attempting to humanize the tightfisted adventurer, this apologia simply makes him boring. Roberts describes Rhodes as a suppressed homosexual, disagreeing with biographers who consider him to have been actively homosexual. He puts emphasis on the empire-builder's friendships, even though Rhodes was extremely guarded and kept conversation impersonal. Roberts insists that Rhodes is far more complex than previous biographers have assumed, but it's not clear if and why we should admire or like a man who had black mineworkers stripped and locked in a detention hut for 10 days at a stretch. Illustrations not seen by PW. (June)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393025750
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
05/01/1988
Edition description:
1st American ed
Pages:
319
Product dimensions:
3.03(w) x 3.03(h) x (d)

Meet the Author

Brian Roberts, a distinguished historian and biographer, is an acknowledged expert on African history. His previous books include The Zulu Kings, The Diamond Magnates, Churchills in Africa, and Cecil Rhodes and the Princess.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >