London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1910. Paperback. This book is from the personal collection of Churchill's bibliographer, Ronald I. Cohen. This is the 1910 vintage pulp paperback, the so-called "First Cheap Edition." My African Journey is Churchill's travelogue on Britain's possessions in East Africa, written while he was serving as Undersecretary of State for the Colonies. This book is notable, among other things, for being the only one of his many books to contain photographs ostensibly taken by the author. In the summer of 1907 Churchill left England for five months, making his way after working stops in southern Europe to Africa for "a tour of the east African domains." In early November, Churchill would kill a rhinoceros, the basis of the striking illustration on the front cover of the British first edition of his eventual book.
By now a seasoned and financially shrewd author, Churchill arranged to profit doubly from the trip, first by serializing articles in The Strand Magazine and then by publishing a book based substantially upon them. In November 1908 Hodder and Stoughton published My African Journey as a book, which was a substantial 10,000 words longer than the serialized articles.
In 1910, two years after the first edition, the publisher issued a so-called "First Cheap Edition" produced in vintage "pulp" style. The text is arranged in a 92-page, two-column format with a few pages of advertisements at either end. This handsome paperback edition features a color illustration on the front cover similar to that of the first edition, with Churchill in pith helmet with binoculars around his neck and a rifle in his hands standing beside a dead white rhinoceros. Some 20,000 copies were produced, but given the fragility of the edition, very few survive today. And those that do are usually in poor condition - befitting a cheap paperback more than a century old.
This copy is an exception, far from fine but still impressively well preserved given the edition. Both covers remain attached. The illustrated front cover remains bright and clean with modest edgewear and minor loss to the lower right corner. The rear cover is a bit stained, with losses at the top and bottom edges to a maximum .5 inch depth. The spine shows a .25 inch loss at the head and 1.75 inches at the bottom. All spine lettering remains intact with the exception of the author's last name. We note no vertical creases to the spine, which, in concert with the overall condition, indicates that this copy was not read. The pulp paper contents are browned as inevitable, but show no spotting or previous ownership marks. The only loss is chipping at the lower front corner, penetrating to page 18.
Reference: Cohen A27.8, Woods/ICS A12(b), Langworth p.85. Very good minus. Item #002839