For reading suggestions, I subscribe to http://dearreader.com/ and
this book is the non-fiction selection for the week. I can't comment
on it as I've only read today's excerpt, but thought some of you
might like to look into it. Here is how it is introduced.
"The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds,
Deceit, and Desire" By Tom Zoellner
FROM THE BOOK JACKET:
When he proposed to his girlfriend, Tom Zoellner gave what every
American man is supposed to give at such a time--a diamond
engagement ring. But when the relationship broke apart a few months
before the wedding, he was left with a used diamond ring that began
to haunt him. Zoellner looked harder at the stone, and the
consequent fascination sent him around the world.
He traveled to the mines of Africa, where the smuggling of "blood
diamonds" is an everyday affair; to Japan, where the ancient wedding
ritual has been completely reshaped to accommodate diamonds; to the
barrens of the Arctic Circle, where geologists and drillers risk
their lives for the next big jackpot. Zoellner listened to the
starving victims of African war zones, the child diamond polishers of
India who labor for pennies, the luckless miners of the Brazilian
backcountry, and the chemists in Siberia who discovered how to create
perfect diamonds from scratch in three days. He gained access to the
London headquarters of the De Beers cartel, the secretive global
colossus that has dominated the industry for more than a century and
permanently carved the phrase "A diamond is forever" on the psyche.
He saw cultures that have been permanently altered and societies that
have changed direction at the first sign of diamond lust. Zoellner's
journey--part investigative report, part startling
travelogue--culminates back home in America, with a surprising
conclusion about this stone that goes to the heart of what it means
to be alive.