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Max Esser's Expedition and its Consequences
Edited by E. M. Chilver and Ute Röschenthaler
224 pages, 2 maps, 25 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-57181-988-8 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (December 2001)
ISBN 978-1-57181-310-7 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (January 2002)
eISBN 978-1-78238-876-0 eBook
“While the volume is best suited for specialists of Cameroon, its coverage of economics, gender, ethnography and racial stereotyping also recommends the book to anyone interested in the multiple dimensions of European-African encounters. It would make a splendid assigned reading for courses on European colonialism generally and German imperialist ventures in particular.” · H-Net
“[This book] is undeniably a historical of the first order and, with annotated notes on actors and contemporaries, also a rich bibliographic resource.” · Cahiers d’études africaines
“The central importance of Esser’s book is that it provides a contemporary account of the first stages of the development of major plantaions in Cameroon and in particular the emergence of a migrant labour force ... In a context where primary texts are often scanty and elusive, [this book] will be an enormously rich source for those with a whole range of interests.” · African Affairs
"The editors have assembled an admirable brief on Esser ... Any student of Cameroonian and German colonial history will be grateful to come upon this useful ... meticulously researched, elegantly written volume." · International Journal of African Historical Studies
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 (1914-2014) was well known for her joint work with Phyllis Kaberry in Cameroon. Her last university post was as Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.
Ute Röschenthaler teaches at Frankfurt University.