A tall, robust-looking, imposing figure, Cecil John Rhodes was a man of many contradictions. Rhodes, the dreamy idealist, called his copy of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius his "most precious possession," while Rhodes, the ruthless businessman, firmly believed in the adage, "every man has his price." He supported invidious racial laws in South Africa, and invented and sponsored the world-renowned Rhodes Scholarships. Although a man of unprepossessing intellectual talents, he became one of the leading figures in the English-speaking world, the confidant of Queen Victoria and Kaiser Wilhelm, a man of vast wealth and worldwide influence. Based on seventeen years of research, this monumental volume, written by a noted authority on Southern Africa, offers the definitive biography of one of the most controversial figures of the nineteenth century. Vividly capturing the life of a man who was truly larger than life, Robert Rotberg explores Rhodes' childhood and adolescence; depicts his life in mining camps around Kimberley and the Witwatersrand; traces the surreptitious stock buyouts and mergers that allowed Rhodes to gain control over ninety percent of the world's diamond production by age thirty-five; describes his campaigns against African populations that allowed him to establish Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia); and discusses the poorly planned, disastrous raid on the Transvaal that destroyed Rhodes' reputation. The Founder illuminates a complex and fascinating life of both evil and good.
- Publication Date:
- 20 / 10 / 1988