London to Ladysmith via Pretoria
London to Ladysmith via Pretoria
London to Ladysmith via Pretoria

London to Ladysmith via Pretoria

London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1900. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is the British first edition, first printing 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. The British first edition is striking, bound in tan cloth with an illustration of an armoured train on the front cover accompanied by the author's facsimile signature and with the Union flag and Transvaal flag in gilt on the spine beneath a red subtitle. The binding is visually arresting, but the first edition proved notoriously fragile and prone to wear, soiling, and spotting. This first edition, first printing copy is a superior example, not fine but nonetheless unusually clean and bright in very good plus overall condition. The binding remains square and tight, with a beautifully bright spine. Shelf presentation is quite good, the gilt lettering and flags bright, the red subtitle clearly visible, the spine cloth showing only a slight, uniform hint of the usual toning and virtually no soiling with minor vertical creasing and trivial wrinkling to the spine ends. The illustrated front cover is bright with only minor soiling. The blank rear cover is lightly soiled with a faint line of differential toning along the top edge. The contents are quite respectably bright with only very light intermittent spotting. The original black endpapers are intact with no sign of cracking at the gutters. All maps and plans are present, with the folding maps at the title page and p.366 fully intact. The title page folding map even retains the original tissue guard. The sole previous ownership mark we find is an inked name at the top of the title page. 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". Bibliographic reference: Cohen A4.1.a, Woods/ICS A4(a.1), Langworth p.53. Item #005055

Price: $950.00

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