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

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

by Martin Meredith
4.4 7

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

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 upon the world's richest deposits of diamonds and gold, setting off a titanic struggle between the British and the Boers for control of the land. The result was the costliest, bloodiest, and most humiliating war that Britain had waged in nearly a century, and the devastation of the Boer republics. The New Yorker calls this magisterial account of those years “[an] astute history.… Meredith expertly shows how the exigencies of the diamond (and then gold) rush laid the foundation for apartheid.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781586486778
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 09/23/2008
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 592
Sales rank: 533,004
File size: 929 KB

About the Author

Martin Meredith is a journalist, biographer, and historian who has written extensively on Africa and its recent history. His previous books include Mugabe and The Fate of Africa. He lives near Oxford, England.

Table of Contents

Map     xii
Author's Note     xv
Introduction     1
Part I
Diamond Fever     13
Blue Ground     22
Kimberley     33
The Diggers' Revolt     41
Enter the Magnates     50
Part II
The Imperial Factor     63
Oom Paul     74
The Washing of Spears     85
Majuba     95
Part III
The Diamond Bubble     107
The Stripping Clause     113
Dreams and Fantasies     125
The Road to the North     133
The German Spectre     143
The Most Powerful Company in the World     153
Part IV
A Chosen People     167
Johannesburg     176
The Corner House     186
A Marriage of Convenience     194
Part V
The Place of Slaughter     207
The Balance of Africa     214
To Ophir Direct     229
Kruger's Protectorate     238
Part VI
Groote Schuur     247
A Bill for Africa     259
Not for Posterity     270
The Loot Committee     279
Part VII
A Tale of Two Towns     291
The Randlords     302
The Rhodes Conspiracy     311
Jameson's Raid     323
Missing Telegrams     335
By Right of Conquest     354
The Richest Spot on Earth     365
Nemesis     378
The Great Game     386
The Drumbeat for War     403
Ultimatums     416
Part IX
The Fortunes of War     427
Marching to Pretoria     436
Scorched Earth     449
The Bitter End     462
Envoi     470
Part X
The Sunnyside Strategy     481
Vukani Bantu!     494
The Black Ordinance     504
The Sphinx Problem     511
Epilogue     520
Chapter Notes     527
Select Bibliography     539
Index     551

What People are Saying About This

Wilbur Smith

It] will take a prominent place upon my bookshelf . . . I know I will re-read time and again over the years.

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Diamonds, Gold, and War: The British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Lalock More than 1 year ago
Entertaining, and because of its logical organization, very easy to follow. A great first book for someone learning about South African history as well as an excellent perspective for those who have read much on the topic. Clearly explains--without being pedantic--the birth of the diamond industry, the Boer War, the uneasy cohabitation between the Dutch/Afrikaners and the British. An entertaining biography of the giants of the period, like Cecil Rhodes, Paul Krueger, and "the Randlords." Overall, an excellent book.
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Buksie More than 1 year ago
This book is an excellent depiction of South Africa's history from the start of the diamond rush through the date when they became a Union in 1910. It sets out a part of history that most South Africans are not very familiar with and Meredith captures it in this great book, which is a fine balance between detail and an easy read. He manages to stay very objective in his writing and potray the facts as they were. As a South African I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I certainly learned history of my country that I was not familiar with and also obtained a better understanding for a lot of things that is still prevailent in the South African society of today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A fascinating, if occasionally slow, story about the formation of South Africa. Like most Americans, I was vaguely familiar with the Boer wars and conflicts with the Zulu tribe, but I had no idea how the country and its original racist policies were founded. I thought the author did an excellent job of introducing some of the main ¿characters¿ from each of the interested parties ¿ the British, the Afrikaners, the native tribes and even some with no obvious link to Africa. However, the author did not fully develop most of these individuals. Instead, the focus was clearly on one British diamond/gold magnet 'admittedly with good reason'. It often seemed that the author assumed that the reader would know more about many of the other players 'which means much is probably lost on an unfamiliar American audience'. Most of the book is interesting but there are definitely a few sluggish spots. And while the formation of South Africa is rife with armed conflict, the author only gives the reader the barest essentials of such battles. Finally, I would have appreciated a ¿whatever happened to¿ section at the end of the book. For some of the more well known players, for example Churchill or Ghandi, such a section probably wouldn¿t add much, but for most others, the abrupt end of the book left me more than curious. Overall, a recommended read though.