London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1900. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is the British first edition, first printing, first issue of Churchill's fifth published book. Ian Hamilton's March was the second of Churchill's two books based on his newspaper despatches sent from the front in South Africa during the Boer War. 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 escape less than a month later rendered him a celebrity and helped launch his political career.
Churchill's first book of Boer War despatches, London to Ladysmith via Pretoria was published in England in mid-May 1900 and sold well. Ian Hamilton's March completes Churchill's coverage of the Boer War, publishing 17 letters to the Morning Post, spanning 31 March through 14 June 1900. The narrative in Ian Hamilton's March includes the liberation of the Pretoria prison camp where Churchill had been held. Though a companion and sequel to London to Ladysmith, it is notably different in appearance, content, and scarcity. The first printing saw only 5,000 copies - half as many copies as London to Ladysmith.
Where Ladysmith bore a lavishly illustrated binding, Ian Hamilton's March was bound in red cloth matching the style of Churchill's first published book, The Story of the Malakand Field Force - fitting, as these were the first and last Churchill first editions published by Longmans, Green, and Co. While London to Ladysmith via Pretoria had swiftly published Churchill's dispatches in the wake of his capture and escape, for Ian Hamilton's March "the texts of the originally published letters were more extensively revised and four letters were included which had never appeared in periodical form" (Cohen, A8.1.a, Vol. I, p.105). Churchill effected these revisions while on board the passenger and cargo steamer Dunottar Castle, which was requisitioned as a troop ship, en route home to England. Arriving home from South Africa in July 1900, Churchill spent the summer campaigning hard in Oldham, where he won his first seat in Parliament on 1 October 1900 in the so-called "khaki election". This British first edition of Ian Hamilton's March was published just a few weeks later.
Here is the first edition, first printing in very good condition. This is a tight, square copy with excellent contents and showing very little wear, humbled only by soiled covers and lightly sunned spine. The contents are crisp, bright, and tight. No previous ownership markings. Trivial spotting is confined to the prelims and text block edges. No inscriptions or previous ownership marks of any kind. The original black endpapers are intact, as are all maps and plans, and both the frontispiece and protective tissue cover. The folding map at the rear is properly folded with no tears. The red cloth binding is tight and square, with sharp corners and nicely rounded spine. Moreover, there is very little wear, the only exception being a .25 inch tear at the head of the spine. The spine gilt remains clearly legible and fairly bright, although the spine is very lightly sunned. The covers show a fair amount of soiling and some fading of the front cover gilt.
Reference: Cohen A8.1.a, Woods/ICS A5(a), Langworth p.59. Item #001292