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The Last Empire: Debeers, Diamonds, and the World
     

The Last Empire: Debeers, Diamonds, and the World

by Stefan Kanfer
 

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With a scholar's precision and a novelist's eye, Stefan Kanfer tells the inside story of De Beers Consolidated Mines - from the nineteenth century diamond rush that transformed Johannes De Beer's humble South African farm into an exotic klondike, to the Oppenheimers' shadow empire that has achieved umatched global reach.

Overview

With a scholar's precision and a novelist's eye, Stefan Kanfer tells the inside story of De Beers Consolidated Mines - from the nineteenth century diamond rush that transformed Johannes De Beer's humble South African farm into an exotic klondike, to the Oppenheimers' shadow empire that has achieved umatched global reach.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kanfer ( A Summer World ), a writer and editor at Time , focuses more clearly on history than on analysis in this chronicle of the South African-based De Beers diamond empire. He stylishly recounts tales of 19th-century South Africa, where such arresting characters as Barney Barnato and Cecil Rhodes made fortunes on the frontier. He describes the founding of De Beers's sibling, the Anglo-American Corp., and the quirky, powerful Oppenheimer family at its helm. Kanfer offers an adequate, but not probing, analysis of De Beers's alliances with South Africa's enemies, and the cartel's currently diminishing prospects due to the political situations in Angola and Russia. Conspicuously missing are both a description of the important role De Beers and Anglo have played over the past two years during South Africa's protracted negotiations toward democracy, and a consideration of how they might fare under a new government. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.)
Library Journal
The next time you hear that a ``diamond is forever,'' you may wish to read this history of the De Beers diamond empire and its later absorption under the Oppenheimers by the Anglo-American Corporation. From its opening depiction of the grim diamond fields, this is the story of cutthroat capitalists, the economic and racial development of South Africa, and a multinational corporation that controls virtually the world's entire diamond and gold trade. Kanfer is a Time magazine journalist with a flair for spinning a very good tale that should appeal to general readers, especially history buffs. Not a dry, scholarly tome, this book provides more compelling reading than most fiction.-- Paul H. Thomas, Hoover Institution Lib . , Stanford, Cal.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374524265
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
05/28/1995
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.97(d)

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