My African Journey. Winston S. Churchill.
My African Journey
My African Journey
My African Journey
My African Journey

My African Journey

London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1908. First edition, only printing. Hardcover. This is the British first edition, only printing of My African Journey, Churchill's travelogue on Britain's possessions in East Africa, written while he was serving as Undersecretary of State for the Colonies. The first edition is striking, with a vivid red binding and a prominent front cover bearing a woodcut illustration in blue, grey, and black of Churchill with his bagged white rhinoceros. This book is notable, among other things, for being the only one of his many books to contain photographs apparently taken by the author. The red cloth spine proved exceptionally vulnerable to sunning and the lovely books seem to have attracted handling, making wear and soiling the norm. Spotting is also endemic. Bright and clean copies are scarce. This is a good copy, sound, unrestored, complete, and with interesting provenance, even if externally soiled and a bit worn. An illustrated “Steeple Claydon Public Library” plate affixed to the front pastedown indicates that this copy was the gift, in 1908, of Sir Edmund Hope Verney, 3rd Baronet (1838-1910). Edmund Verney and Churchill had in common matriculation at Harrow, naval associations, and political ambitions. Verney was a decorated Naval officer and served as a Liberal Member of Parliament in 1885-6 and 1889-91. Notably, given that this book is about the colonies by the decidedly pro-Imperial Britain Churchill, Verney strongly opposed imperial expansion. Equally interesting, his political career ended with expulsion from the House of Commons and a year in prison for “conspiring to procure for a criminal purpose an under-age girl”. (ODNB) Despite its donation to a library, there are no ex-library marks on the binding and the only internal evidence apart from the bookplate is a “Steeple Claydon Public Library” ink stamp on the title page. The red cloth binding remains square and tight and the spine is less sunned than we often see, with spine gilt that remains distinct. Nonetheless, there is some wear to the corners and spine ends, light scuffing and soiling to the covers, and heavy soiling to the spine. The contents are quite unusually clean for the edition. A trivial hint of spotting appears confined to the page edges, which also show mild age-toning. The 61 photographs of this edition were tipped in rather than bound, so copies should always be carefully checked to ensure the presence of all illustrations and maps. All illustrations and maps are present, as is the tissue cover at the frontispiece. In the summer of 1907 Churchill left England for five months, making his way after working stops in southern Europe to Africa for "a tour of the east African domains."  In early November, Churchill would kill a rhinoceros, the basis of the striking illustration on the front cover of the British first edition of his eventual book. By now a seasoned and financially shrewd author, Churchill arranged to profit doubly from the trip, first by serializing articles in The Strand Magazine and then by publishing a book based substantially upon them. In November 1908 Hodder and Stoughton published My African Journey as a book, which was a substantial 10,000 words longer than the serialized articles. Bibliographic reference: Cohen A27.1, Woods/ICS A12(aa), Langworth p.81. Item #005830

Price: $550.00

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