The River War. Winston S. Churchill.
The River War
The River War
The River War
The River War

The River War

London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1949. Hardcover. This is a vintage, jacketed reprint of Churchill's second published book. Originally published in 1899, The River War recounts Churchill's experiences and reflections concerning British involvement in the Sudan. Here is nearly good copy in a very good dust jacket. The dark yellow-tan cloth binding remains tight and clean with sharp corners, bright spine gilt, and only trivial shelf wear to extremities and a few miniscule blemishes to the spine. The contents are bright, though with spotting to the endpapers, half-title and title pages, and page edges. Differential toning to the endpapers corresponding to the dust jacket flaps confirms that this copy has spent life jacketed. A tiny, “Aylesbury” bookseller sticker is affixed to the lower front pastedown and a single previous owner name is written in pencil on the front free endpaper with the date “29.10.54” in the same hand. The dust jacket is unclipped and nearly complete, with trivial wear to extremities, fractional hints of chipping at the spine head and upper front flap fold, and modest overall soiling. The jacket spine is only lightly toned, the red print still clearly legible. The dust jacket is protected with a removable, archival, clear cover. In 1883, Mahdist forces of messianic leader Mohammed Ahmed overwhelmed the Egyptian army of British commander William Hicks and Britain ordered withdrawal from the Sudan. In 1885, General Gordon famously lost his life in a doomed defense of Khartoum, where he had been sent to lead evacuation of Egyptian forces. General Kitchener reoccupied the Sudan in 1898. With him was a very young Winston Churchill, who participated in the battle of Omdurman in September 1898, where the Mahdist forces were decisively defeated. Writing about the British campaign in the Sudan, Churchill - a young officer in a colonial British army - is unusually sympathetic to the Mahdist forces and critical of Imperial cynicism and cruelty. This work offers us the candid perspective of the future great man of the 20th century from the distinctly 19th century battlefields where Churchill learned to write and earned his early fame. The text is arresting, insightful, powerfully descriptive, and of enduring relevance. In 1933, a so-called "Second Cheap Edition" was made from plates of the 1902 edition with a bibliographically significant new introduction by the author explaining that "A generation has grown up which knows little of why we are in Egypt and the Sudan." There were ultimately five printings of this edition with at least seven different dust jackets issued (at least two for the 1933 second printing and two for the final, 1951 printing). This fourth printing, issued in 1949, was published in the interval between Churchill's first and second premierships, while he was serving as Leader of the Opposition in Parliament. The 1949 dust jacket is unique, bearing the same front face illustration and spine as the 1951 dust jacket that follows, but with an entirely different rear face and some differences to the front flap. Bibliographic reference: Cohen A2.4.d, Woods/ICS A2(d.4), Langworth p.33. Item #005708

Price: $150.00

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