The Story of the Malakand Field Force: An Episode of Frontier War. Winston S. Churchill.
The Story of the Malakand Field Force: An Episode of Frontier War
The Story of the Malakand Field Force: An Episode of Frontier War
The Story of the Malakand Field Force: An Episode of Frontier War
The Story of the Malakand Field Force: An Episode of Frontier War
The Story of the Malakand Field Force: An Episode of Frontier War

The Story of the Malakand Field Force: An Episode of Frontier War

London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1899. Second edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is an intriguing copy of the first printing of the Silver Library edition of Churchill's first book. This complete but quite worn ex-library copy would be of little interest to collectors but for its history. The sticker affixed to the inside front cover testifies that this book belonged to the “Oldham Industrial Co-operative Society, Ltd. Education Department” and further bears their purple oval ink stamp on the front free endpaper, the title page, and the upper blank margins of a further dozen pages throughout the text. This link to Churchill’s first constituency in Parliament pardons poor condition. The original maroon cloth binding remains tight but the spine is quite worn, with cosmetic splits and fraying of the binding cloth along the hinges and a spine that is sufficiently scuffed and worn to obscure much of the original gilt print. Within, the contents are toned, as usual, but complete, and the original swan and ship endpapers are intact. The Oldham Industrial Co-operative Society that made this book available to the people of Oldham began humbly as cooperative store in Oldham in 1850 with an initial investment of “£56 odd” by the founders who, having raised the capital, proceeded “to look for a shop for a Store… and to purchase a pair of scales… for weighing sugar and coffee.” The Society eventually grew to a multitude of varied business endeavors – so-called “Departments” – in multiple branches and multiple locations. In 1900, “in addition to the extensive central buildings” there were “twenty-four branches” through which the Industrial Society catered “for the necessities and comforts of 56,000 persons.” The Society’s Educational Department established its first library in 1858, with the intent “not only to improve the social but the intellectual condition of the people.” It is intriguing to note that in a 1900 book about the Society, it was asserted that “Oldham does not loom largely in history”. (J. T. Taylor, The Jubilee History of the Oldham Industrial Co-operative Society Limited 1850-1900) This changed that same year; in October of 1900 Oldham elected the twenty-five-year-old Winston S. Churchill to his first seat in Parliament. Churchill had lost the Oldham by-election – his first attempt at Parliament – in July 1899, just six months after this book was published. Thereafter, the young cavalry officer and war correspondent injected himself into the Boer War in South Africa, where his capture, captivity, and daring escape made him a celebrity and helped launch his political career. As Arthur Balfour (who became Prime Minister in 1902) put it in a 30 August 1900 letter, the young Churchill had had “fresh opportunities - admirably taken advantage of – for shewing the public of what stuff you are made.” Apparently, the constituents of Oldham agreed; he would hold this seat until 1906, when his defection to the Liberal Party led him and Oldham to part company and Churchill found a new constituency in Manchester Northwest. The Story of the Malakand Field Force recounts Churchill's experiences while attached to Sir Bindon Blood's punitive expedition on the Northwest Frontier of India in 1897. Publication of the first edition of 1898 was arranged by Churchill's uncle while the author was still in India, resulting in numerous spelling and detail errors. Churchill was incensed by the errors and acted with haste to address them. Hence later states of the first edition bear errata slips. In part because of the errors in the first edition which so vexed Churchill, the publisher also issued a second edition less than a year after the first in January 1899. This Silver Library edition was the first to incorporate the author's corrections in the text, making this an important and highly collectable edition. This first printing of the first Silver Library edition consisted of just 1,440 copies. Reference: Cohen A1.3.a, Woods/ICS A1(ba.1), Langworth p.20. Item #005949

Price: $275.00

See all items by