London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1899. Hardcover. This is the first printing of the Silver Library edition of Churchill's first book. The Story of the Malakand Field Force was based on Churchill's exploits with Sir Bindon Blood's expedition on the Northwest Frontier of India in 1897. While Churchill had previously applied his pen as a published correspondent, this was his first book-length work and he clearly labored over it: "I have discovered a great power of application which I did not think I possessed. For two months I have worked not less than five hours a day." Publication of the first edition of 1898 was arranged by Churchill's uncle while the author was still in India, resulting in numerous spelling and detail errors. Churchill was incensed by the errors and acted with haste to address them. Hence later states of the first edition bear errata slips.
In part because of the errors in the first edition which so vexed Churchill, the publisher also issued a second edition less than a year after the first in January 1899. This Silver Library edition was the first to incorporate the author's corrections in the text, making this an important and highly collectable edition. Unfortunately, the maroon boards proved highly susceptible to fading and wear, the paper easily browned and became brittle, and the binding often cracked.
Here is the first Silver Library edition, first printing - one of just 1,440 copies. This is a very good copy, suitable for collectors. The maroon binding is square and tight with good shelf presentation. The spine retains strong color, having been spared the usual sunning. We note light overall wear to spine ends, corners, and hinges. The contents remain bright and clean for the edition, with age-toning substantially limited to the perimeter of the pages. We find no spotting. All maps are intact, as are the frontispiece and original tissue guard and the original, distinctive swan and ship endpapers. A single previous owner name and date of “Dec 4th. / 01” is inked on the front free endpaper.
Reference: Cohen A1.3.a, Woods/ICS A1(ba.1), Langworth p.20. Item #003794