South Bend, Indiana: St. Augustine's Press, 2020. Subscriber's issue. Full leather. The long-awaited and much-anticipated forthcoming St. Augustine’s Press edition of The River War will be the first publication of Winston Churchill’s full, unabridged text since the 1899 first edition. Churchill Book Collector is accepting non-refundable deposits of $825 to secure a finely bound, limited, and numbered, two-volume Subscriber’s issue. The second and final $825 installment of the $1,650 purchase price, plus postage, will be due when the copies are ready to ship. We anticipate that copies of the Subscriber’s issue will be available to ship in early 2021. No coupons or discounts will apply to purchase.
This Subscriber’s issue will be limited to 50 copies. Each will be personally hand-bound by the proprietor of Felton Bookbinding Ltd. in full navy morocco goatskin deferential in color and design to the publisher’s original illustrated cloth. Both binding illustrations – the Mahdi’s tomb on the spines and the gunboat on the beveled-edge front covers - are recreated from newly commissioned artwork and dies. The contents will be sewn, bound with silk head and tail bands and all edges gilt. Gilt-ruled turn-ins will frame handsome marbled endpapers. The limitation page of each set will be hand-numbered and signed by the Editor. The volumes will be housed in a navy cloth slipcase.
PLEASE NOTE that appearance of the volumes will be similar (though not identical) to those pictured. Churchill Book Collector will be the exclusive seller of the Subscriber’s issue by special arrangement with the editor, publisher, and the International Churchill Society.
Churchill’s second published book – The River War – presents a singular and strange case in the vast canon of Churchill’s published books.
Originally published in 1899, it swiftly saw a new edition in 1902. But that edition was considerably abridged and revised by the author, the text significantly reduced by one-third. While corrections were made, the chief spur to abridgement was indicated in the author’s own Preface: “What has been jettisoned consists mainly of personal impressions and opinions, often controversial in character…” Churchill had been elected to Parliament in 1900, and, among other things, the legitimate but impolitic criticisms of imperial cynicism and cruelty made in the first edition were a liability.
Churchill’s considerations were understandable. Puzzling is the fact that every single edition of The River War since – and there have been many – has been based on the 1902 abridged and revised text. That means that anyone wanting to read the full text has been obliged to subject a scarce, expensive, and precious first edition to the rigors of casual reading.
This edition has been the work of decades under the editorship of Professor James W. Muller. Merely being the first unabridged edition in 120 years would justify some excitement. But this is far more than just an unabridged edition. Included in the edition are the following:
· Churchill’s original, unedited dispatches from the Sudan
· Churchill’s additional, later writing about the Sudan and its leaders
· Unpublished illustrations from a notebook kept during the campaign by the original artist of Churchill’s book, his fellow officer Angus McNeill
· A facsimile of Churchill’s original, handwritten draft of his chapter on the fate of Gordon – the only known chapter draft preserved in his hand
· Professor Muller’s extensive, insightful, and helpfully contextualizing Introduction
· Profuse and informative annotations footnoted throughout the work, identifying Churchill’s references to people, places, writings, and events unfamiliar to today’s readers.
· A new foreword, written specifically for this edition by Churchill’s youngest daughter, Mary Soames, before her death
Moreover, the entire text of The River War is printed in two colors, distinguishing between what Churchill originally wrote and how it was later abridged or altered. Item #006256