Max Esser was an adventurous young merchant banker, a Rhinelander, who became the first managing director of the largest German plantation company in Cameroon. This volume gives a vivid account of the antecedents and early stages as experienced and described by Esser. In 1896 he ventured, with the explorer Zintgraff, into the hinterland to seek the agreement of Zintgraff's old ally, the ruler of Bali, for the provision of laborers for his projected enterprise. The consequences, many optimistically unforeseen, are illustrated with the help of contemporary materials. Esser's account is preceded by a look at his and his family's connections, added to by an account of newspaper campaigns against him, and completed by an examination of his Cameroon collection, which he gave to the Linden Museum in Stuttgart. E.M. Chilver is well known for her joint work with Phyllis Kaberry in Cameroon. Her last university post was as Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. Ute R?schenthaler teaches at Frankfurt University.