London to Ladysmith via Pretoria. Winston S. Churchill.
London to Ladysmith via Pretoria
London to Ladysmith via Pretoria
London to Ladysmith via Pretoria

London to Ladysmith via Pretoria

London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1900. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a first edition, first printing of Churchill's fourth published book. London to Ladysmith via Pretoria is the first of Churchill's two books based on his newspaper despatches sent from the front in South Africa, where his capture, captivity, and daring escape made him a celebrity and helped launch his political career. The British first edition is striking, bound in tan cloth with an illustration of an armoured train on the front cover accompanied by the author's facsimile signature and with the Union flag and Transvaal flag in gilt on the spine beneath a red subtitle. The binding is visually arresting, but the first edition proved notoriously fragile and prone to wear, soiling, toning, and spotting. This copy is in good plus condition, sound, complete, and unrestored, but nonetheless showing some of the aesthetic faults to which the edition is prone. The tan cloth binding is square and tight, though soiled and stained with wrinkling and fraying at the spine ends, some creasing of the spine cloth, and small splits at the upper rear hinge and along the lower rear hinge, as well as small nicks to the cloth at the rear cover fore edge and top edge. Despite the wear and soiling, shelf presentation is respectable, the spine only lightly toned, the red subtitle and gilt lettering still clearly legible. The contents are internally bright with no previous ownership marks. The original black endpapers are intact and all maps and plans are present, as are the folding maps at the title page and p.366. Spotting is modest for the edition, notable only at the prelims and page edges, which also show some age-toning. In October 1899, the second Boer War erupted between the descendants of Dutch settlers in South Africa and the British. Churchill, an adventure-seeking young cavalry officer and war correspondent, swiftly found himself in South Africa with the 21st Lancers and an assignment as press correspondent to the Morning Post. Not long thereafter, on 15 November 1899, Churchill was captured during a Boer ambush of an armored train. His daring and dramatic escape less than a month later made him a celebrity and helped launch his political career. London to Ladysmith via Pretoria contains 27 letters and telegrams to the Morning Post written between 26 October 1899 and 10 March 1900. It was published in England in mid-May 1900 and sold well. Churchill returned from South Africa in July 1900 and spent the summer campaigning hard in Oldham. Churchill had lost the Oldham by-election – his first attempt at Parliament – in July 1899. Since then, as Arthur Balfour (who became Prime Minister in 1902) put it in a 30 August 1900 letter, the young Churchill had had “fresh opportunities - admirably taken advantage of – for shewing the public of what stuff you are made.” Indeed; Churchill won his first seat in Parliament on 1 October 1900 in the so-called "khaki election". Reference: Cohen A4.1.a, Woods/ICS A4(a.1), Langworth p.53. Item #006038

Price: $450.00

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