Cover: Rogue Empires: Contracts and Conmen in Europe’s Scramble for Africa, from Harvard University PressCover: Rogue Empires in HARDCOVER

Rogue Empires

Contracts and Conmen in Europe’s Scramble for Africa

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$45.00 • £39.95 • €40.95

ISBN 9780674971851

Publication Date: 04/10/2017


384 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

5 maps


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First-rate… Press’ originality lies in adding a thorough analysis of the private companies, typically chartered or at least encouraged by European governments, that paved the way for colonization.—Nicolas van de Walle, Foreign Affairs

Engaging and original, Rogue Empires retells this familiar story of the so-called scramble for Africa in the 1880s and 1890s, this time with particular attention to its complex diplomatic and legal dimensions. Press places these events in the context of global imperial history, carefully tracing the emergence, proliferation, and legitimization of these ‘rogue’ empires.—J. P. Smaldone, Choice

A fascinating and complex book. Press persuasively demonstrates that the private treaty making of adventurers in Borneo in the middle of the nineteenth century had major and overlooked implications for the new wave of imperial expansion in Africa. In doing so, it resituates the Scramble for Africa within global imperial history and offers a new understanding of processes and events that have been the object of decades of scholarly scrutiny. Thoroughly researched, grounded in a wide range of secondary reading, and compellingly written, Rogue Empires will appeal to the specialist and the general reader alike.—Christopher Vaughan, author of Darfur: Colonial Violence, Sultanic Legacies, and Local Politics, 1916–1956

Rogue Empires provides a fresh and innovative perspective on the Scramble for Africa by focusing on the speculators, conmen, and thugs who managed to acquire private empires at virtually no cost to themselves. Press convincingly explores the diplomatic, political, and legal factors that enabled the European conquest and partition of Africa. He effectively engages, and at times pushes back against, conventional narratives and explanations for key events in African history.—Timothy Parsons, author of The Second British Empire: In the Crucible of the Twentieth Century

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