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Flight of the Diamond Smugglers

Audiobook
Nonfiction: History
Unabridged   10 hour(s)
Publication date: 03/09/2021

NEW! Now Available

Flight of the Diamond Smugglers

A Tale of Pigeons, Obsession, and Greed Along Coastal South Africa

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781696603232
Digital Download ISBN:9781696603225

Summary

Blending elements of reportage, memoir, and incantation, Flight of the Diamond Smugglers is a rare and remarkable portrait of exploitation and greed in one of the most dangerous areas of coastal South Africa.

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Product Description

For nearly eighty years, a huge portion of coastal South Africa was closed off to the public. With many of its pits now deemed "overmined" and abandoned, American journalist Matthew Gavin Frank sets out across the infamous Diamond Coast to investigate an illicit trade that supplies a global market. Immediately, he became intrigued by the ingenious methods used in facilitating smuggling—particularly, the illegal act of sneaking carrier pigeons onto mine property, affixing diamonds to their feet, and sending them into the air.

Entering Die Sperrgebiet ("The Forbidden Zone") is like entering an eerie ghost town, but Frank is surprised by the number of people willing—even eager—to talk with him. Soon he meets Msizi, a young diamond digger, and his pigeon, Bartholomew, who helps him steal diamonds. It's a deadly game: pigeons are shot on sight by mine security, and Msizi knows of smugglers who have disappeared because of their crimes.

From the mining towns of Alexander Bay and Port Nolloth to Kleinzee's shores littered with shipwrecks, Frank investigates a long overlooked story. Weaving interviews with local diamond miners who raise pigeons in secret with harrowing anecdotes from former heads of security, environmental managers, and vigilante pigeon hunters, Frank reveals how these feathered bandits became outlaws in every mining town.

Author Bio

Matthew Gavin Frank is the author of The Mad Feast and Preparing the Ghost, which was reviewed on the front-page of the New York Times Book Review. He teaches creative writing and lives in Marquette, Michigan.