London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1900. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a superior copy of the British first edition, first printing, first issue of Churchill's fifth published book. Ian Hamilton's March is the second of Churchill's two books based on his newspaper despatches sent from the front in South Africa during the Boer War.
Condition of this copy is better than very good. The red cloth binding is square and tight with sharp corners, and clean, with only a few trivial blemishes. The red color remains rich and unfaded, with only the slightest color shift to the spine, and both the spine and front cover gilt remain bright. Wear is mild, mostly confined to corners and hinges with minor wrinkling to the spine ends. The contents are unusually bright with a pleasingly crisp feel. The original black endpapers, frontispiece, tissue guard, and all maps and plans remain intact. Trivial spotting appears confined to the fore edges, the fore and bottom edges otherwise clean, the top edge showing light dust soiling. The sole previous ownership mark is the charmingly diminutive triangular bookshop sticker of “MACNEUR & BRYDEN HELLENSBURGH” affixed to the upper front pastedown – a Scottish bookseller in operation for more than a hundred years, from 1875-1979. The binding is protected with a clear, removable mylar cover.
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 rendered him a celebrity and helped launch his political career.
Churchill's first book of Boer War despatches, London to Ladysmith via Pretoria, was published in England in mid-May 1900 and sold well. Ian Hamilton's March completes Churchill's coverage of the Boer War, publishing 17 letters to the Morning Post, spanning 31 March through 14 June 1900. The narrative in Ian Hamilton's March includes the liberation of the Pretoria prison camp where Churchill had been held. Though a companion and sequel to London to Ladysmith, it is notably different in appearance, content, and scarcity. The first printing saw only 5,000 copies - half as many copies as London to Ladysmith. Where Ladysmith bore a lavishly illustrated binding, Ian Hamilton's March was bound in red cloth matching the style of Churchill's first published book, The Story of the Malakand Field Force - fitting, as these were the first and last Churchill first editions published by Longmans, Green, and Co.
While London to Ladysmith via Pretoria had swiftly published Churchill's dispatches in the wake of his capture and escape, for Ian Hamilton's March "the texts of the originally published letters were more extensively revised and four letters were included which had never appeared in periodical form" (Cohen, A8.1.a, Vol. I, p.105). Churchill effected these revisions while on board the passenger and cargo steamer Dunottar Castle, which was requisitioned as a troop ship, en route home to England. Arriving home from South Africa in July 1900, Churchill 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 British first edition of Ian Hamilton's March was published just a few weeks later.
Reference: Cohen A8.1.a, Woods/ICS A5(a), Langworth p.59. Item #006418