New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1900. First U.S. edition, only printing. Hardcover. Here is the U.S. first edition of Churchill's fifth book - the second of his two books based on his newspaper despatches sent from the front in South Africa. In October 1899, the second Boer War erupted in South Africa between the descendants of Dutch settlers and the British. As an adventure-seeking young cavalry officer and war correspondent, Churchill swiftly found himself in South Africa with the 21st Lancers and an assignment as press correspondent to the Morning Post. Not long thereafter - on 18 November 1899, Churchill was captured during a Boer ambush of an armored train. His daring escape less than a month later made him a celebrity and helped launch his political career.
Churchill's first Boer War book, London to Ladysmith via Pretoria, contained 27 letters and telegrams to the Morning Post written between 26 October 1899 and 10 March 1900 and was published in England in mid-May. Ian Hamilton's March completes Churchill's coverage of the Boer War, comprising 17 letters to the Morning Post, spanning 31 March through 14 June 1900. 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. Churchill arrived on 20 July 1900 and spent the summer campaigning hard in Oldham, capitalizing on his war status and winning his first seat in Parliament on 1 October 1900 in the so-called "khaki election."
The narrative in Ian Hamilton's March includes the liberation of the Pretoria prison camp where Churchill had been held and from which he had famously escaped. The title takes its name from General Sir Ian Hamilton's campaign from Bloemfontein to Johannesburg and Pretoria. Churchill would maintain a life-long friendship with Hamilton, who would be involved in the Gallipoli landings and to whom Churchill would sell his first country home. Published on 26 November 1900, the U.S. first edition was thus available for sale when Churchill arrived in New York on 8 December 1900 for his first North American lecture tour.
The U.S. first edition saw only a single printing. The number sold is unclear, but seems to be fewer than 1,500. This American edition is thus considerably more scarce than the British first edition, of which more than 5,000 first printing copies were issued. Like the U.S. first edition of Ladysmith, the U.S. first edition of Ian Hamilton's March is bound in pebble grain red buckram which proved quite susceptible to blotchy wear and soiling, particularly on the spine.
Here is a good plus copy. The red cloth binding is square and retains both sharp corners and bright gilt. The spine is bit darkened, but evenly and with only mild wear, thus presenting unusually well on the shelf. The front cover shows some of the mottling of the color to which this edition is prone around the perimeter and has a slight outward warp. The contents remain clean with no previous ownership marks. All maps and plans are present and perfectly preserved, as are the frontispiece and tissue guard. The only spotting we find is limited to the half-title verso and facing frontispiece verso. The front hinge is a bit tender, but still fully intact. Faint evidence of a moisture stain barely shows at the upper right corner of pages 61 to 287. The top edge gilt is a bit dulled and the fore and bottom edges age-toned.
Reference: Cohen A8.2, Woods/ICS A5(ca), Langworth p.61. Good. Item #002320