New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1900. First U.S. edition, only printing. Hardcover. Here is a superior copy for collectors of the U.S. first edition of Churchill's fifth book. Ian Hamilton's March is the second and last of his two books based on his newspaper despatches sent from the front in South Africa. 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 scarcer 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. This copy is a noteworthy exception in near fine condition. The red cloth binding remains square, tight, and atypically clean and bright, with both the red cloth and gilt retaining vivid hues with no fading or toning to the spine. We note only light wear to the spine ends and corners and a trivial amount of the usual scuffing to the pebble grain cloth. Likewise, the contents are notably bright. We find no spotting. We note no appreciable age-toning. Even the fore and bottom edges remain clean and the top edge gilt quite bright. The frontispiece, tissue guard, and all maps and plans remain present and pristine. The sole previous ownership mark is a tiny, .75 inch (2.5 cm) oval sticker of a Portland, Oregon bookseller affixed to the lower rear endpaper verso.
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.
Reference: Cohen A8.2, Woods/ICS A5(ca), Langworth p.61. Item #004540