In This Review

Diamond: A Journey to the Heart of an Obsession
Diamond: A Journey to the Heart of an Obsession
By Matthew Hart
Walker, 2001, 276 pp.
In the Company of Diamonds: Kleinzee, De Beers, and the Control of a Town
In the Company of Diamonds: Kleinzee, De Beers, and the Control of a Town
By Peter Carstens
Ohio University Press, 2001, 268 pp.

The world's attention has been drawn to the diamond industry in recent years by an international campaign against trade in "blood diamonds," a commerce that has sustained gruesome wars in Angola and Sierra Leone. Both these books are expert studies of the industry and the dominance of the De Beers corporation. Hart's is an absorbing journalistic account of the history, geology, technology, and corporate culture of the global diamond business, with an emphasis on how new mineral discoveries have altered the playing field in the high-stakes game of dealing in uncut diamonds. Africa specialists will be interested in his assessment of De Beers' efforts to dissociate itself from blood diamonds and the significance of these efforts despite the company's declining power as a cartel. Carstens, an anthropologist, examines the social history of his hometown, Kleinzee, on South Africa's Diamond Coast, to demonstrate how the company town was organized to serve De Beers' interest in tight control and high profits.