Sunday, March 21, 2010

Flawless

I read a review of this on Salon.com, and then I read the Wired.com story, which the authors of this book spend a lot of time addressing, and decided to splurge on the book. It tells the story of the world's largest diamond heist, which was committed in 2003 in Antwerp, Belgium, the home of the world's diamond market. The heist, pulled off by at least 6 master thieves from Italy, rivals that in any movie for its daring and complexity.

The thieves managed to break into a secure building and into a vault that should have been impregnable and make off with somewhere between $100 and $400 million worth of diamonds, cash, jewelry and pure gold.

The authors, Scott Andrew Selby and Greg Campbell, have written a nearly perfect book. It covers not only the planning of the heist and the theft themselves, but the history of diamond mining and the DeBeers Company, as well as the diamond industry and how it works. Greg Campbell knows his stuff; he also wrote the book Blood Diamonds, which traces the history of conflict diamonds. It's next on my to-read list.

The only way the book could have been better is if the authors had included pictures. Instead, I had to be happy with the shots included in the Wired.com article, which turns out to be mostly a fabrication created by the ringleader, Leonardo Notarbartolo. I recomend reading the Wired article only after you read the book.

Excellent stuff!

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