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The Last Empire: De Beers, Diamonds, and the World
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Showing 1-2 of 2 reviews (2 star)show all reviews
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book's title describes it as one about "De Beers, Diamonds, and the World." Instead, a more accurate title would have described the book as telling of "Political Inequality Between the Races in South Africa." True, the book discusses De Beers quite a bit, but the discussions seem incidental to the author's focus on the plight of South African blacks throughout history. The description of De Beers's diversification is less than cursory; the book often omits major business decisions completely but then later assumes knowledge of them by the reader. For instance, the book leaves out any mention of *how* De Beers came to own an interest in copper mining, but still mentions such mining interest a couple of times toward the end. Further, complex business relationships, such as that between Anglo-American, Consolidated, and De Beers, need much more explanation than they get. The author spends considerably more time discussing how "Anglo-American" was chosen as the company's name than what its exact corporate form is and how it its relationship to De Beers works out in practice. Last, I take issue with the writing style itself. The prose is heavy and dry; even interesting characters' stories are flaccid and dull. Overall, this book is a good complement to other South African history books, but as a book about diamonds and the workings of De Beers (the book it puts itself out to be), "Last Empire" falls utterly flat.
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on January 3, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I found the first hundred pages difficult reading. I think the book was well researched and contained some very interesting personalities. The subject matter was not of particular interest to me. I most likely would not read it if it were not a book club selection.
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