Max Esser was an adventurous 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 labourers 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.