Diamonds, Gold, And War

Diamonds, Gold, And War

The British, The Boers, And The Making Of South Africa

Book - 2007
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A history of the tumultuous period leading up to the 1910 founding of the modern state of South Africa explores how the discovery of vast diamond and gold deposits led to a fierce struggle between the British and the Boers for control of the region.
Publisher: New York : PublicAffairs, c2007.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781586484736
Characteristics: xi, 570 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 25 cm.


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Jun 22, 2013

Diamonds, Gold, and War is a “must-read” to truly appreciate the history of South Africa. Martin Meredith delves into little known facts as to the anglicization of South Africa and neighbouring lands. Cecil Rhodes was the ‘glorious bastard’, Paul Kruger was the ‘dedicated bible thumper’ and Alfred Milner: certainly the ‘inglorious bastard.’ The British invented the concept of concentration camps and several helped future generations to believe in apartheid. From the first white explorer into “dark Africa” through to the discovery and fighting over diamonds and gold and the eventual founding of South Africa in 1910, this book is an eye-opener into that continent’s evolution. Scouting Movement enthusiasts will enjoy the short but interesting sections dealing with Baden-Powell and Mafeking [Mafikeng]. The plight of the Boers and black populations is reviewed objectively; as farmers and proud individual; as land owners and rulers of lands. Tribal concerns are explained with a wonderful sense of their individual beliefs, their pro- and anti-Imperial support and their fight for their own sovereignty. The doubts, angers and valiant resistance to foreign interference – be it English, French, German or Portuguese – are well founded in the eyes of the African denizens and the Boers; and interestingly documented in this book. Names such as: Alfred Beit, King Cetshwayo, Leander Jameson, Chief Lobengula, Charles Rudd, Jan Smuts, Marthinus Steyn, Edouard Lippert, Jan Meyer, Chief Montshiwa, Chief Mankurwane, Princess Catherine Radziwell – and so many more are not mere cut-outs but full-blown figures in the adventure that is South Africa. Oh, yes, there is even a wonderful review of a young Indian [i.e., from India] lawyer who set in motion the emergency litter / stretcher unit [pre-MASH] to help wounded soldiers and civilians during the wars. His name: Gandhi !! For my personal self, if there was a way to give 6/5 for this book, I would.

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