New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1900. First U.S. edition, only printing. Hardcover. This is a quite respectable copy of the U.S. first edition of Churchill's fourth published book. London to Ladysmith via Pretoria is the first of Churchill's two books based on his newspaper despatches sent from the front in South Africa. 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 made him a celebrity and helped launch his political career.
London to Ladysmith via Pretoria contains 27 letters and telegrams to the Morning Post written between 26 October 1899 and 10 March 1900. It was published in England in mid-May 1900 and sold well. Churchill returned from South Africa in July 1900 and 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 American edition offered here is both distinctly different in appearance and more scarce than its British first edition counterpart. The U.S. first edition saw just a single printing of which no more than an estimated 1,850 copies were sold.
As opposed to the illustrated khaki cloth of the British first edition, this U.S. edition is bound in pebble grain red cloth that proved quite susceptible to blotchy wear and soiling, particularly on the spine. This is an atypically bright and respectable copy in very good condition. The binding is square, clean, and tight with mild superficial scuffing and light wear to extremities, but is nonetheless quite bright for the edition, with no discernible color shift between the covers and spine and quite good shelf presentation for the edition. The contents are notably bright with no previous ownership marks. All maps and plans are intact, including the folding maps, which remain properly folded. The top edge gilt is bright. Trivial spotting is confined to the fore and bottom edges.
Reference: Cohen A4.2, Woods/ICS A4(b), Langworth p.55. Item #004894