London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1900. First edition, first printing. Half leather. This is the British first edition, second and final printing of Churchill's fifth published book, finely bound by the renowned Bayntun-Riviere bindery of Bath, England. The binding is half-brown calf over tan cloth boards with hubbed spine, red spine title label, green spine author label, gilt-decorated spine compartments, gilt top edge, head and foot bands, and marbled endpapers. Condition is near fine. The binding is square, tight, and unfaded with only trivial spine creasing and scuffs. The contents are well-suited to the fine binding, notably clean for the edition. We find only a trivial amount of spotting to the upper title page and a few pages within and the fore and bottom edges are clean, showing only modest age-toning. All maps and plans are intact, as is the frontispiece and tissue guard.
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. The first printing saw only 5,000 copies - half as many copies as London to Ladysmith, with this second and final printing adding only 1,700 copies. Though erroneously designated "Second Edition" on the title page, this was actually a second printing, virtually identical to the first and issued only a month later, in November 1900.
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 content, and scarcity. 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. Bayntun-Riviere here proffer a considerable aesthetic upgrade to the original red cloth.
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.104). 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". The British first edition of Ian Hamilton's March was published just a few weeks later.
Reference: Cohen A8.1.c, Woods/ICS A5(a.2), Langworth p.59. Item #004789