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The Secret Society

Recommended Price 
November 2015
About the book: 
Cecil John Rhodes made a fortune from diamonds and gold, became prime minister of the Cape, and had a country named after him, but his ambitions were far greater than that. When he was still in his twenties, after a meeting with General Gordon of Khartoum, Rhodes set up a Secret Society with the aim of establishing a new world order. The society, disciplined on Jesuit-style rules, became Rhodes’s lifelong obsession, and after his death it lived on and grew under the leadership of his executor, Lord Alfred Milner.
The society played a key role in the governance of Britain during the Great War and the peace terms to end it, and it was linked to appeasement initiatives involving Hitler, the Duke of Windsor and Mrs Simpson before World War II. Echoes of the Secret Society survive in different guises to this day, including the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and the Rhodes Scholarships.
In The Secret Society, Robin Brown unpacks this astonishing and largely unknown history. He brings Rhodes, his companions and his successors to life by drawing from diaries and letters, and sheds new light on Rhodes’s homosexuality. Ranging from the diamond mines of Kimberley to the halls of power in Westminster, and peopled with characters such as General Gordon, Leander Starr Jameson, W.T. Stead, Olive Schreiner, the Princess Radziwill, Joseph Chamberlain and David Lloyd George, this book is a page-turner that will make you see the world, both past and present, in a different light.
About the Author
Robin Brown has published 14 books across a range of genres – fiction, history, natural history and biography – mostly with African themes. He also created, produced, directed and wrote Nature Watch, ITV’s most successful natural history series, consisting of 68 programmes, all in the British top 20. He has produced some 50 specials for the BBC, National Geographic and Discovery, including ManEaters of Tsavo (with David Attenborough) and the award-winning In the Company of Whales. His book Marco Polo: The Incredible Journey has been sold in five countries and is presently the primer on the subject in Brazilian schools. Robin has presented his own television programmes and has given lectures at the Royal Geographical and Audubon Societies.

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