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This book is about the Duala "middlemen," who functioned as intermediaries between Europeans and their own hinterland for over three hundred years. Originally traders in ivory, slaves and palm products, they then became colonial-era cocoa planters, and finally took a leading role in anti-colonial politics. One of their lasting advantages was European education, which they used to develop ideas about their ethnicity and its historical basis. The authors criticize these local beliefs about the past but indicate what they reveal about power and identity in this region and elsewhere in Africa.