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Blood Diamonds: Tracing the Deadly Path of the World's Most Precious Stones Paperback – February 5, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Freelance journalist Campbell here writes about the cost of diamonds not in dollars to the consumer but in blood, torture, and death for the unfortunate residents of contested mining areas in Sierra Leone. He explains that "conflict diamonds," or "blood diamonds," which account for only three to four percent of all diamonds sold, are mined in war zones, smuggled out of the country, and sold to legitimate companies, financing ruinous civil wars and the plots of international terrorists, including the al Qaeda network. The gems' value and portability have made controlling the diamond mines important to guerrilla fighters, who maim and kill innocent villagers to secure their territory. Campbell has spoken with individuals all along the pipeline, from miners to soldiers to smugglers, and the grim portrait he paints will make many people think twice about buying another diamond. While Matthew Hart's Diamond: A Journey to the Heart of an Obsession covered the international diamond trade more widely, this focused study of the catastrophic effect of blood diamonds on Sierra Leone belongs in all libraries. Deirdre Bray Root, Middletown P.L., OH
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Journalist Campbell takes the reader on a journey to the dark side of the glittering image of diamonds, a darkness too long out of sight of Euro-American consciousness. Campbell explores the significance of the diamond trade in Sierra Leone, the West African country formed by the British to reward African American slaves who fought for the Crown in the American Revolution. He recounts the horrors of this war-torn nation, with child-soldiers and deranged adults who have reportedly cut off the hands and elbows of innocents or even removed fetuses from pregnant women via machete. The underlying motivation for the violence and strife of Sierra Leone is centered in the diamond trade, much of it illegal smuggling sanctioned by the cartel DeBeers. The trade has earned the name "blood diamonds" and has financed conflicts and rebellions around the world, including the al-Qaeda network. Campbell notes that this same illegal diamond trading that has wrecked Sierra Leone may provide the basis for hope as the West is compelled to address the tragic circumstances of this war-torn nation. Vernon Ford
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition (February 5, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813342201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813342207
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #809,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Greg Campbell is an award-winning journalist and author who has written for such publications as The Economist, WSJ Magazine, Paris Match, The Christian Science Monitor, the San Francisco Chronicle, In These Times and Amnesty Magazine, among others. He is the author of three nonfiction books, Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History, The Road to Kosovo and Blood Diamonds. The latter served as inspiration for the Oscar-nominated 2006 film Blood Diamond starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Connelly. Greg's third nonfiction book, Flawless; Inside the Biggest Diamond Heist in History, will be published in the coming months by Union Square Press. He has won more than two dozen journalism awards from the Inland Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Colorado Press Association, Colorado Associated Press Reporters and Editors, and the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. He lives in Fort Collins, Colo., with his wife and son.

Customer Reviews

The depth of research and detail in this book is amazing.
M. Carpenter
Blood Diamonds' author Greg Campbell fills in the awful details of her story.
catherinemalara
I read the article and it is about what is going on in the book.
J. Lavoie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Weisman on April 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Campbell writes compelling narrative with a fascinating array of characters - corrupt dictators, warlords, mercenaries, peacekeepers, child soldiers, missionaries, shady Middle Eastern merchants, diamond buyers, jewelers, diplomats, et al. - weaving in the tragedy that the pursuit of instant riches in the alluvial diamond fields of West Africa has wrought. The result is a modern morality tale about the scarce resources, globalization, and violence.
The book, however, is flawed by its author's failure to properly situate his narrative within the historical and political context of subregional conflict involving Liberia and Sierra Leone. The reader would thus do well to supplement this volume with a good political narrative like Pham's LIBERIA: PORTRAIT OF A FAILED STATE (Reed Press) or Ellis's MASK OF ANARCHY (New York University Press) in order to get a complete picture.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By S. Samba Campos on February 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I lived in Sierra Leone for quite a number of years and hence had the opportunity to experience what it was like to live sorrounded by poverty and diamonds (the Kono area). Unfortunately for me and my family, security reasons forced us to leave the country in the nineties.
Nowadays I live in Madrid, Spain. I'm a doctoral student and my research area is the diamond industry of Sierra Leone and its implications on the underdevelopment of Sierra Leone.
Mr. campbell's book has been very valuable to me because of the information it contains (for my disertation) and because it has sadly/happily brought me back to the country that I love most in the world.
Thank you Mr Campbell!
I strongly recommend the reading of this book.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By H. Campbell on January 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
Mr. Campbell (no relation) has an engaging style and has written an informative, though skewed, account of the forces at play in the Sierra Leone tragedy. He skillfully describes how the greed for diamond sale revenue enabled this country to descend into chaos and unspeakable horror. However, he attempts to make this a Western guilt trip by emphasizing how willing market players are to look the other way, thus absolving themselves of any culpability for the bloodbath. Campbell builds on a thin reed indeed, and fails to make analogies with other resources from other strife ridden African countries, such as Angola and its oil, that would more accurately demonstrate how free markets work in an amoral, rather than immoral, environment. I don't see Campbell advocating boycotting Angolan oil because of the atrocities being committed in that conflict. Nor should he, because those transactions occur outside the frame work of a nation's internal affairs, no matter how unjust or cruel those may be. The fact is, African countries have been pursuing the path of self destruction for 5 decades now with no other incentive than for one ethnic or ideological group attempting to acquire wealth and power at the expense of the nation. Attempts to lay this at the West's feet are misguided, disingenuous and unhelpful on many levels, but especially for the average African themselves. While I recommend Campbell's readable volume for its conciseness and wit, please do not limit yourself in seeing other dimensions to this, especially the corruption of ECOWAS and its military mission as well as the ethnic jealousy involved between natives and the economically dominant Lebanese.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Bath Beach Chick on June 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have always questioned the materialism of friends and family after years and years of seeing DeBeers on Tv, magazines, and newspapers senselessly pounding their marketing into my head. I've never been one to go along with the crowd, and I've met some Sierra Leonians and heard their stories of how they'd escaped. I quote this book whenever someone asks me about the jewelry I wear--the ever-present, "Oh, BUT YOU don't have any diamonds." I refuse to give up my political beliefs (enormously illustrated in this book, take a hint Family and Friends!) in order to wear a shiny piece of carbon. A diamond is forever? So is death, mutilation, bloodshed, and amputation. Mr. Campbell, you've done the entire Western world a great service by exposing all in this book. This is a pulverizing read, impossible to put down. You will never look at the words "engagement ring" and feel the same ever after reading this book.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By catherinemalara on October 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Do we need a PR firm to boost the value of human life over a diamond? BLOOD DIAMONDS is an amazing book, filled with detail and stark commentary but , more than that, presenting a story of contemporary times in a small African country that most of us didn't know.
I thought back to what was happening in my life in 1999 and 2000. I knew a home health aide from Sierra Leone who told me her country was in a civil war, that her relatives could not come or go and that she sent them whatever she could. Blood Diamonds' author Greg Campbell fills in the awful details of her story.
We are working on becoming the small world and community some would like to be. Could we contribute by shutting down the Sierra Leone mines, buying their mangoes instead and letting the people there really go to the beach in a place called FREETOWN?
What a well-written story; it should touch your heart and soul.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Em Bee on October 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book was not at all what I had expected, in that it features a lot of superfluous personal touch that, in a story that isn't Campbell's, just doesn't belong. I wish that it had contained more statistics and factual research than just tales of his visits to Sierra Leone, with less-than-necessary intervals of fact. However, it was still an interesting read, and I definitely recommend it to someone who's seeking a general outline of the history of blood diamonds.
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