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The Last Empire: De Be...
The Last Empire: De Beers, Diamonds, And The World
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.
(first published January 1st 1993)
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This is a history of De Beers, the South African company that literally created and maintained the world diamond industry. The early history of the firm under Cecil Rhodes is a great story, as is the development of the modern De Beers and the worldwide cartel under the leadership of the Oppenheimer family. Much detail is provided about the firm, the mining and processing of diamonds, and the political struggles of De Beers. How the cartel actually worked as an economic unit deserved more detail. ...more
Aug 03, 2011 Dan Cohen rated it liked it · review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, especially the early sections about the "big hole" at Kimberley and the coverage of Cecil Rhodes and Barney Barnato. The later sections of the book are far less cutting and read like an authorised and sanitised history of the Oppenheimers.
Stefan Kanfer is the author of fifteen books, including the bestselling biographies of show business icons: GROUCHO; BALL OF FIRE (Lucille Ball); SOMEBODY (Marlon Brando); and TOUGH WITHOUT A GUN (Humphrey Bogart). He has also written many social histories, among them THE LAST EMPIRE, about the De Beers diamond company, and STARDUST LOST, an account of the rise and fall of the Yiddish Theater in N ...moreMore about Stefan Kanfer...