Monday, July 09, 2007

Pg. 99: Tom Zoellner's "The Heartless Stone"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Tom Zoellner's The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds, Deceit, and Desire.

About the book, from the author's website:

The first book to offer a panoramic and unflinching look at the modern diamond industry, The Heartless Stone is a journey across six continents to uncover the secrets behind one of our most luxurious and costly status symbols.

The book takes you inside illegal mines in Brazil, diamond smuggling rings in Africa, exploration rigs above the Arctic Circle, the sweltering polishing shops of India. You will meet De Beers executives in London, high-tech tunnel drillers in Australia, advertising gurus in Japan, starving soldiers in Angola, chemists in Siberia, dealers in Belgium. They are all part of a vast economy which supports the most sustained, expensive and successful advertising campaign in history.

Diamonds are not particularly rare in nature. Nor do they have any intrinsic value. So how did they become the birdcages for our deepest feelings of romantic love and commitment? The answers will surprise you, as this book takes a probing journey around the globe and into the human heart.

Among the praise for The Heartless Stone:

“A dazzling display of intrepid reporting.”
--Entertainment Weekly

“An illuminating expose of a mineral and an industry.”
-- Wall Street Journal

“An exhaustively researched and beautifully written work of narrative nonfiction.”
--Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“The author is expert with vivid prose…. This is a superior piece of reportage.”
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Lives up in every way to the power of its almost magical subject…. With on-the-spot reporting from each of these locales and detailed portraits of individuals whose lives have been shaped by the quest for and business of diamonds, Zoellner follows a tortured trail all the way to the ring finger of an expectant bride. En route, he offers fascinating details about the geology, craftsmanship, advertising, economics and politics surrounding the gem.”
--Kirkus (starred review)
Visit Tom Zoellner's website and read an excerpt from The Heartless Stone.

Zoellner is an award-winning magazine and newspaper journalist. He has worked as a contributing editor for Men's Health magazine and as a Metro reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle, The Salt Lake Tribune and The Arizona Republic. He was the 2002 recipient of the Knight Fellowship in Specialized Reporting. Zoellner is the co-author of An Ordinary Man, the autobiography of Paul Rusesabagina, whose actions during the 1994 Rwandan genocide were portrayed in the movie Hotel Rwanda.

The Page 99 Test: The Heartless Stone.

--Marshal Zeringue