September 26, 2007 Martin Meredith To Discuss His New Book on the Making of South Africa on Oct. 11

Press Contact: Erin Allen (202) 707-7302
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221
Contact: Request ADA accommodations five days in advance at (202) 707-6362.
Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or

In 1871, prospectors exploring a remote stretch of land in South Africa stumbled upon a rich deposit of diamonds. Fifteen years later, gold was discovered in the region, which was once regarded as a “worthless jumble of British colonies.” What followed was an epic struggle for control between the colonizing British and the native Boer settlers, culminating in a costly, bloody war that left the Boer nation devastated. British historian and journalist Martin Meredith will discuss and sign his new book, “Diamonds, Gold, and War: The British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa” at noon on Thursday, Oct. 11, in the Pickford Theater on the third floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The program, part of the Books & Beyond author series sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required. The African Section in the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division is co-sponsoring the presentation. In his eighth book about Africa, Meredith draws on new research to describe the origins of modern day South Africa. He vividly depicts the war fought between the British and the Boers and shows how the exploitation of African resources is a long, shameful tradition of the West. He also details how British policy led to the rise of the virulent Afrikaner nationalism that eventually took hold in the new South African state. Now an independent scholar, Meredith spent many years as a journalist in Africa. His previous book, “The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence” (2005), was widely praised. The Center for the Book was created by law in 1977 to use the Library’s resources to promote books and reading. More than 75 book talks presented by the center since 2001 can be viewed on its Web site at


PR 07-187
ISSN 0731-3527