• List Price: CDN$ 25.50
  • You Save: CDN$ 6.37 (25%)
FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 35.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca. Gift-wrap available.
Diamonds, Gold, and War: ... has been added to your Cart
+ CDN$ 6.49 shipping
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: SHIPS FROM USA - PLEASE ALLOW 10 to 21 BUSINESS DAYS FOR DELIVERY. Very Good Condition - May show some limited signs of wear and may have a remainder mark. Pages and dust cover are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. Tracking is not available for orders shipped outside of the United States.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Diamonds, Gold, and War: The British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa Paperback – Sep 22 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
CDN$ 19.13
CDN$ 16.93 CDN$ 14.11

Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping for Six Months When You Try Amazon Student
click to open popover

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (Sept. 23 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586486411
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586486419
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 3.4 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #106,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Product Description

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.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 3 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The author does a fantastic job of breaking down the history of southern Africa and how the parties involved--the British, the Boers and the native Africans--were a volatile mix especially when you throw in diamonds, gold and the Boers manifest destiny vs. the Brits in imperialistic mode. This is a tale that Hollywood could not make up.

What I still found curious was trying to figure out how all these groups were able to communicate with each other when they often did not speak the others' languages. Also, how were people able to take months of time from their lives to sail to Britain to deal with diplomatic stuff face-to-face there?

Definitely an eye opener in showing how greed, missteps and the arrogant British led to the establishment of the apartheid nation of South Africa run by the Boers who, let's face facts, were an incredibly backward and insular group of twisted religious nutjob outcasts from Dutch society.

Given the situation in central Africa now and the millions who have died over the struggle to control the mineral wealth there, it seems Africans are not just following, but continuing down this disastrous historical path that began in South Africa.
One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This well researched book provides a detailed look at the discovery of gold and diamonds in South Africa and the consequences that were visited on that unhappy country.
It demonstrates how, over a century ago, a powerful nation could easily come up with largely spurious reasons to invade a small country and secure access to some of the richest goldfields in the world. As it turned out, they bit off a lot more than they could chew. Also they could not find any weapons of mass destruction!

Mr Meredith has written extensively on Africa and pulls no punches. His books Mugabe and The Fate of Africa are essential reading for anyone interested in Africa.Mugabe: Power, Plunder, and the Struggle for Zimbabwe's Future
One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very detailed book
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 48 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reads Like a Soap Opera Script! June 22 2014
By Stanley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well, if not a soap opera then certainly like a real life film noir. Martin Meredith's book really has no good guys. The Boers come off as a bunch of ignorant hicks, the Brits are characterized as arrogant and money grubbing as well as conniving, the tribes come off as given to raiding, kidnapping, and makers of really bad deals. As for individuals there are back-stabbers, shady businessmen, and just plain corrupt adventurers.

Now take this and add a cast of characters that include Winston Churchill, H. Rider Haggard, Rudyard Kipling, and Gandhi, in bit appearances and you have the makings of a whale of tale. And, that's what Meredith gives us. Now most of us know there was a Boer War and before that the Jameson Raid but those events are covered in only a handful of pages. The great majority of the book covers all other aspects of the creation of the Union of South Africa. It's all the stuff that leads up to the military part that Meredith details, and yes there is bribery, back-stabbing, crooked business practices, and everything else you would expect in some old black and white film noir movie.

Add to this insights to the different personalities and it gets even better. Rhodes, for example, never married, was uncomfortable around women (maybe a misogynist) and his only long term relationship with a woman ended in law suits, attempted blackmail, and forgery. There is no evidence of any sexual relationship. In addition Rhodes thought that everyone had his price and he bribed politicians, newspaper editors, and even clergymen. What a guy!

Throw in concentration camps and scorched earth and you've got a heckeva story. One telling fact though is that soon after the Boer War the Brits learned from their success and began plotting a second war for economic gain, this in 1905. Here, however, the target was a little bigger. Yes Churchill was a plotter and yes Kipling wrote anti-German propaganda for American consumption. It seems history does repeat itself.

Now the book is long but the chapters are short and usually end with a punch line or promo for the next chapter. For anyone, like me, with tri-focals the print is large and paper and binding is good quality. Five stars for great insight into historical human nature.
51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book made me angry and ashamed - but read it, please! March 5 2008
By Geoffrey Woollard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have read several books (though certainly not enough) about South Africa: 'The Great Boer War,' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; 'The Corner House,' by A.P. Cartwright; 'The Randlords,' by Geoffrey Wheatcroft; 'White Tribe Dreaming,' by Marq de Villiers; 'The Boer War,' by Thomas Pakenham; and 'The Covenant,' by James A. Michener, but until I got into my latest purchase, 'Diamonds, Gold and War,' by Martin Meredith, I was not entirely sure why I had become more than sympathetic to the old Boers and to Afrikanerdom.

Mr Meredith has given me all of the necessary reasons and, as a life-time admirer of the British Empire and its works, I was made more firmly angry and ashamed at what some of those ostensibly promoting the Empire had done to those to whom the British people should have been attached and who should not have been antagonised and attacked.

Cecil Rhodes's dream of colonising from The Cape to Cairo had great merit, especially if one recalls to what depths much of Africa has descended since Rhodes's day, but it was clearly a gross mistake and an unforgivable deed to betray his Cape Boer friend, Jan Hofmeyr, and his potential friends, President Paul Kruger of The Transvaal and President Marthinus Steyn of The Orange Free State. Rhodes comes out of the book badly, as do his co-conspirator, Dr. Leander Starr Jameson, the British Colonial Secretary, Joseph Chamberlain, and, worst of all, the British High Commissioner and Governor of the Cape Colony, Sir Alfred Milner.

And, of course, there were the thousands of British soldiers lost (my wife's late grandfather, a wonderful man, volunteered for the Imperial Yeomanry, went enthusiastically to South Africa, but, thankfully, survived this shameful Imperial episode), and the thousands of Boer 'soldiers,' their wives and their children who suffered either in the war (to be more precise, the Second Boer War) or in British concentration camps. It was a disgrace and several passages in Mr Meredith's book moves one almost to tears. The description of the elderly President Kruger's leaving of Pretoria for eventual exile on the 29th of May, 1900, leaving his beloved but infirm wife, Gezina, is one such and merits partial quotation:

'After conducting family prayers in the sitting room, Kruger took his wife's hand and led her into the bedroom. Nobody spoke or moved. Outside the carriage horses snorted. Then the old couple reappeared. Kruger pressed her against him, then released her, looking at her intently, silently. Then he turned and walked out to the carriage. They were never to meet again.'

I am old enough to have known a number of honourable men who went off to fight 'Old Kroojer': they were misguided, misled and mistaken. That Jan Christian Smuts later became one of the Empire's best friends is a fine reflection of Boer qualities, but the bitterness bequeathed by such as Milner did no good to Britain nor to the longer-term benefit of South Africa or its inhabitants, black or white.

I can only touch on some aspects of a brilliant and well-written history: to get the drift in its entirety, you have to get the book which, with 569 pages, is wonderful value!

For a great rendering of the old Boer song, 'Sarie Marais,' sung in Afrikaans, go to - [...]

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellently written and balanced Sept. 29 2016
By Antonio Coppola - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellently written piece of work about a fascinating period of South African history. Meredith's book reads like an engaging novel which brings the various historical characters to life. He is fair and balanced and leaves the reader with a great sense of the history of southern Africa during that period.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping chronicle of greed and destruction unleashed Nov. 3 2007
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Journalist, biographer, and historian Martin Meredith presents Diamonds, Gold, and War: The British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa, a thorough history of the Cape Colony in southern Africa from when the British took possession of it in 1806 to the founding of modern South Africa in 1910. The chronicle heats up in 1871, when diamonds were discovered in southern Africa - in tremendous quantities. A massive struggle between the British and the Boers for control of the region erupted. Meredith's narrative is heavily researched yet comes alive with colorful portrayals of personalities ranging from rakish prospector Cecil Rhodes (founder of the DeBeers company) who absconded with a fortune manipulating diamond and gold markets, to nationalists like Paul Kruger who fought tirelessly for their land and people, to native kings like Lobengula who were trapped amid the Europeans' struggle. A gripping chronicle of greed and destruction unleashed, and the repercussions for the nation of South Africa for the century to come, highly recommended for world history shelves.
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read about the historic background leading to separate development ... Oct. 12 2016
By Joe D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good read about the historic background leading to separate development for the black population, and annexation of the country by the imperialist British Colonial powers

Look for similar items by category