Blood Diamonds: Tracing the Path of the World's Deadliest Stones-- A Book Review

The vitals

Author: Greg Campbell

Pages: 251

2004, Basic Books


Rating:


Readability/entertainment value: 18/20

Educational value: 10/10

Writing/Editing 10/10


Total: 38/40

Author Greg Campbell
Author Greg Campbell | Source
A victim of Blood Diamonds.
A victim of Blood Diamonds. | Source
workers looking for diamonds in Sierra Leone
workers looking for diamonds in Sierra Leone | Source


By now, most people know about blood diamonds. For those that don’t, the term “blood diamonds” (sometimes referred to as "conflict diamonds") is a slang term for diamonds that are mined and sold from war torn countries to fund civil wars, coups and general unrest, resulting in innumerable deaths and mutilations, mostly in Africa, and predominantly in Sierra Leone. Freelance journalist Greg Campbell was one of the first to bring these rocks to light in his meticulously researched, gut wrenching and terrifying book, Blood Diamonds .

Even though the vast majority of diamonds come from legitimate sources, the origin of most, if not all, diamonds, even with the latest protocols put in place, are nearly impossible to trace. As the book infers, if you buy a diamond, you could very well be paying for a rock that helped fund Al Qaeda (author Greg Campbell was conducting his research embedded in Sierra Leone when the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 occurred) or Hezbollah or cost a young man his family and his hands, or even his life.

Campbell was an eyewitness to innumerable tragedies and painted a picture of the diamond trade that is both sympathetic to the miners and scathing to the warlords, primarily the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). He also brilliantly portrays the humanity of all those involved, from the youngest and most innocent infant to the most ruthless of child soldiers to the most despicable and vile murderer, and that is the book’s strength. It is not quick to judge and does a fantastic job of being objective and fair to all parties. Although Campbell makes his objective and opinion clear, as a professional journalist, he doesn’t let this get in the way of reporting his well-researched facts.

The historical portion of the book was the most interesting. He explains how the diamond went from being a hard, inexpensive rock that was pretty much used only for industrial purposes to being a very expensive symbol of love, devotion and permanence. The price of diamonds was artificially raised through brilliant ad campaigns by the diamond cartel, the DeBeers Company and through business practices that could be seen as monopolistic and are certainly unethical (in fact,the DeBeers company, at least at the time the book was published, is not allowed to operate within the United States).

The book is a page turner and could easily be read in a day. There are a few graphic scenes of violence but these are handled with dignity and could be skipped or skimmed without losing the focus or point of the book. I recommend reading them for the full effect of the book.

Blood Diamonds should be read by everyone (and worn by no one) multiple times. In lieu of reading, or to supplement your reading you could also watch the film Blood Diamond (starring Leonardo DiCaprio and the lovely Jennifer Connelly), which borrowed heavily from this book. Then again, if you would like to stay ignorant about where our jewelry comes from so you can continue to purchase it without feeling guilt, then don’t read this book. As for me, the risk is not worth the reward. I will never buy a diamond. I can’t. Not after reading this book.


Tracing the Path of the World's Deadliest Stones

show route and directions
A markerSierra Leone -
Sierra Leone
[get directions]

The diamonds originate here, where they are mined by slaves or severely underpaid workers, working in intense heat, seven days, dawn to dusk.

B markerLiberia -
Liberia
[get directions]

They are then smuggled here

C markerGhana -
Ghana
[get directions]

Or here

D markerLebanon -
Lebanon
[get directions]

And often distributed to terrorist organizations, such as Hezbollah, located in Lebanon.

E markerAntwerp -
Antwerp, Belgium
[get directions]

Then cleaned in Antwerp, primarily by the DeBeers Diamond Cartel

F markerLondon -
London, UK
[get directions]

Sent to London

G markerUSA -
United States
[get directions]

And finally, to the US, where the majority of the world's diamonds are purchased.

Thanks for Reading.

A FREELANCE WRITER, HONORS STUDENT AND GOVER PRIZE FINALIST, JUSTIN W. PRICE (AKA, PDXKARAOKEGUY)IS A POET, SHORT STORY, BIOGRAPHY AND HUMOR WRITER. HIS POETRY COLLECTION, DIGGING TO CHINA, WAS RELEASED FEBRUARY 2ND, 2013 BY SWEATSHOPPE PUBLICATIONS AND IS AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM, BARNES AND NOBLE AND THROUGH YOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER.

HIS WORK WILL ALSO BE FEATURED IN BEST NEW FICTION (2014 EDITION), AND HAS APPEARED PREVIOUSLY IN THE RUSTY NAIL, EFICTION, THE CRISIS CHRONICLES, THE HELLROARING REVIEW, BURNINGWORD, THE WHISTLING FIRE, SEE SPOT RUN ANDTHE BELLWETHER REVIEW.

HE WORKS AS A FREELANCE WRITER, EDITOR, AND GHOSTWRITER, AND IS WORKING TOWARDS HIS PH.D. HE LIVES IN A SUBURB OF PORTLAND, OREGON WITH HIS WIFE, ANDREA, THEIR LABRADOODLE, BELLA, SCHNOODLE, SAUVEE AND BLACK MOOR GOLDFISH, HOWARD WOLOWITZ.

PLEASE VISIT HIS PROFILE PAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION. THANKS!

and the film

More by this Author


Comments 21 comments

PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Les Trois, so pleased that I enlightened you on this subject. i want my writing to be meaningful, and that adds meaning. let me know how you enjoy the book and the film!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Cebu, sad indeed, and all because of diamonds. Sadly, the value of diamonds has bene artificlaly raised, thus increasing the torment


Les Trois Chenes profile image

Les Trois Chenes 4 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

I hadn't heard of Blood Diamonds, sends a shudder down the spine! I've read a book, Black Diamonds, by Catherine Bailey, and I've written a review about that (Squidoo). Engough blood was shed and misery caused mining coal, and I'm sure, diamonds, without adding the war element. An very unwelcome eye-opener.


cebutouristspot profile image

cebutouristspot 4 years ago from Cebu

I didn't read the book but I manage to watch the movie and I must say it's a real eye opener for me. Old how much suffering these precious stone have cause some people. So sad they others much result to enslavement to be rich.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Kimberly, you absolutely need too. it's a good read and an important one. Thanks for reading and commenting and let me know how you like the book!


KimberlyLake profile image

KimberlyLake 4 years ago from California

Great review. I have been putting off reading the book for sometime. After reading your review I decided the book is. a long over due read.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Sue, they are quite beautiful, but no amount of beauty is worth someones life or limbs.

Lady E, If you were enlightened by the film, you'll be even more so by the book. It's excellent, and concise.

Deborah, it pleases me that I enlightened you on the existence of blood diamonds, Spread the word!


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

Excellent and awesome... Can't wait to read the book..

I didn't know that about Blood diamonds.

I voted up and awesome

Happy New year

Debbie


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 4 years ago from London, UK

Thanks for the review. I have seen the film and it would be nice to read the book too.


Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi PDX

The Diamond is my birthstone but I don't have one or do I want one. Even more so after reading your review.

Voted up and awesome.

Happy New Year!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

ITcoach, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you found this informative. it's an important issue that needs to be brought to light.

Racinwa, I'm glad you're not a member of the guilty party in re: to diamonds.


raciniwa profile image

raciniwa 4 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

i've heard about the story but have clarified everything as if i'm the one reading the book...i don't own a diamond thus i'm not guilty too...


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Ruby, raising awareness on this issue is very important! I'm glad to have enlightened you. the film came out in 2006. I'd recommend buying and reading the book and then watching the film! Let me know what you think!

ph, thank you for saying so. i agree. i think my next move is to investigate where my coffee comes from...


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Great Book Review. Both the book and your review call attention to a serious situation that should concern us all. Thank you.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

How long has the movie been out? I really want to see it..I would read the book, you say that it's not that long. I really am appalled. I didn't know about the 'Blood Diamonds' Thank you for a really interesting article...


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Mathira, that is my goal. Let me know how you like the book!

Boomer, I agree. personally, I've always thought Cubic Zirconia was just as beautiful, yet, the value of that has been decreased artificially by the greedy diamond cartels.

Pickles, I don't know but I think it would surprise a lot of people to find out where their food and valuables come from.

Subron, I've very interested to read this novel of yours. Keep me posted on when it's finished and printed!

Gypsy, I'm glad. It's a very scary and sad situation, though it has improved in recent years.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Super and informative hub. Gave me the shivers.


SubRon7 profile image

SubRon7 4 years ago from eastern North Dakota

Good hub, KaraokeGuy. I'v seen the movie. That was bad enough, I don't need to read the book. Doing research, and then writing about--whatever--it is hard to stay focused on what one is trying to create, without, what can I say?--"Preaching." In the novel I'm writing, the main character is first executed, then born, and immediately goes to foster care, which required researching the failings of much of the foster care system. Yes, sometimes hard to stay focused.


picklesandrufus profile image

picklesandrufus 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

Very informative hub. I wonder if rubies and emeralds are also mined under the same circumstances. vote up!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

Excellent review. Sounds like a book everyone should read to foster awareness of this issue.

Voted up, useful and interesting.


mathira 4 years ago

Good review PDXKaraokeGuy and made me want to read the book.

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