Book Review – The Secret Society

Cecil John Rhodes’s Plan for a new World Order by Robin Brown (Penguin Books) ISBN 9781770229204

You can tear a statue down but you cannot expunge the history that caused the statue to be built in the first place.

Tall, intelligent, nineteen-year-old Cecil John Rhodes was sent from England to South Africa after being diagnosed with a heart and lung disease in the hopes that the dry air might delay the inevitable.

Rhodes lived his life fulfilling goal after goal in a very short time. The diamonds from Kimberly and gold from the Witwatersrand made him rich beyond his wildest dreams. After five years he became Prime Minister of the Cape. He was not interested in money. He needed money to form a Secret Society that would become used to fund a peaceful World Empire. Trusty friends were sworn to loyalty. Alfred Beit, Charles Rudd, Dr Leander Jameson were some of them. Beit and Rudd died with fortunes larger than Rhodes. Rhodes motto was “equal rights for every civilised man, black or white, basically literate, owning some property and who was not a loafer”.

Wherever he went Rhodes had one or two lambs with him. He carried a book called ‘Confessions of Faith’. He had the ear of the Queen and many wealthy aristocrats. Although Rhodes was a misogynist, he had friends like Olive Schreiner and Princess Radziwell. A voracious reader, he had a remarkable collection of books covering all aspect of history at Groote Schuur.

This is a memorable book. The story unfolds with names we recognise like Rothschild, Barney Barnato, Oscar Wilde, Sir Herbert Baker and of course Lobengula. You might have to read and re-read chapters. Rhodes is a Collossus. The Matabeles roared ‘Brythe’ as he was lowered into his grave on the Rhodesian hillside.

Dee Andrew
Posted on: 30th January 2016