Item #006938 "Uganda is defended by its insects." - My African Journey, the first state of the first U.S. edition, inscribed and signed by Winston S. Churchill. Winston S. Churchill.
"Uganda is defended by its insects." - My African Journey, the first state of the first U.S. edition, inscribed and signed by Winston S. Churchill
"Uganda is defended by its insects." - My African Journey, the first state of the first U.S. edition, inscribed and signed by Winston S. Churchill
"Uganda is defended by its insects." - My African Journey, the first state of the first U.S. edition, inscribed and signed by Winston S. Churchill
"Uganda is defended by its insects." - My African Journey, the first state of the first U.S. edition, inscribed and signed by Winston S. Churchill
"Uganda is defended by its insects." - My African Journey, the first state of the first U.S. edition, inscribed and signed by Winston S. Churchill
"Uganda is defended by its insects." - My African Journey, the first state of the first U.S. edition, inscribed and signed by Winston S. Churchill
"Uganda is defended by its insects." - My African Journey, the first state of the first U.S. edition, inscribed and signed by Winston S. Churchill
"Uganda is defended by its insects." - My African Journey, the first state of the first U.S. edition, inscribed and signed by Winston S. Churchill
"Uganda is defended by its insects." - My African Journey, the first state of the first U.S. edition, inscribed and signed by Winston S. Churchill
"Uganda is defended by its insects." - My African Journey, the first state of the first U.S. edition, inscribed and signed by Winston S. Churchill

"Uganda is defended by its insects." - My African Journey, the first state of the first U.S. edition, inscribed and signed by Winston S. Churchill

New York and London: Hodder and Stoughton (for George H. Doran Company), 1908. First U.S. edition, only printing, first state. Hardcover. This is the U.S. first edition, humbler in appearance than its British counterpart, but also far more scarce. It is scarcer still in the first state. It is extravagantly scarce thus, inscribed and signed by the author in three lines. On the upper half title Churchill wrote "Uganda is defended by its insects." Directly below he wrote the citation to where this quote is found in the text: "p.94". Below, Churchill signed "Winston S. Churchill".

Condition

Condition of this uniquely inscribed copy approaches very good. First state is confirmed by “Hodder and Stoughton” as the only publisher on the title page. The American binding was comparatively plain and aesthetically uninspired compared to that of the British first edition. The cloth proved highly susceptible to fading and mottling of the color; nearly all remaining copies show spine sunning. The binding is square and tight, though spine toned with light scuffing and color variation to the boards. A clean split to the cloth of the upper front hinge does not affect binding integrity or appreciably impact aesthetic appearance. Modest shelf wear shows at the corners, hinges, and spine ends, with a miniscule split and minor fraying at the spine heel. The contents are surprisingly clean for the edition. We find no spotting. Other than the author’s inscription the only previous ownership marking of any kind is a tiny, personal library sticker printed “7246” and affixed to the upper front pastedown. The untrimmed fore and bottom edges show some age-toning and the top edge shows shelf dust. The 61 photographs of this edition were tipped in rather than bound, and plates often go missing. In this case, all photographic plates are present and intact, including the frontispiece, the frontispiece tissue guard, and the three maps. The only damage noted is a tiny chip and .375 inch (.95 cm) split to the lower fore edge of the front free endpaper.

Provenance is of note; this book came to us from the personal collection of Churchill’s bibliographer, Ronald I. Cohen, where it resided for more than four decades.


The Edition

My African Journey is Churchill's travelogue on Britain's possessions in East Africa, written while he was serving as Undersecretary of State for the Colonies. My African Journey is the only travelogue among Churchill’s published works, and the only one of his many books to contain photographs ostensibly taken by the author.

The first U.S. edition is far scarcer than the British first edition, with only 1400 copies sold (encompassing all three states), in contrast to more than 8000 copies of the more frequently seen British edition. The U.S. first edition was made from British first edition sheets bound in a plain coarse dark red cloth with the same gilt titles on the spine as used on the British. Unlike its British counterpart, the sheets were left untrimmed on the fore and bottom edges and were bound without the Hodder and Stoughton catalogue at the rear.

The three states of these U.S. first editions differ only in the title pages. This first state lists “Hodder and Stoughton” at the foot of the title page and the location as “London”. The second state still lists “Hodder & Stoughton” but with an ampersand instead of “and” and adding “New York and” to “London”. The third state substitutes “George H. Doran Company” for Hodder and Stoughton and lists only “New York”.

The strange troika of issues of the first U.S. edition owes to Doran’s relationship with Hodder & Stoughton and his newly minted status as a New York publisher in 1908. Doran had begun his publishing business in partnership with Hodder & Stoughton, who was a minority shareholder in Doran’s namesake enterprise, and had just opened his American offices in New York in February 1908. (See Cohen, Vol. I, p.159, A27.4)

Churchill’s African Journey

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. Churchill and his kill are captured in the frontispiece photograph of his eventual book (a stylized representation of which also adorns the front cover of the British first edition). 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.

Uganda and its insects

Churchill’s narrative portrayal of “The Kingdom of Uganda” is found at pages 86-103. When Churchill toured the country, Uganda had been a British protectorate for a decade and a half, since 1894. As might be expected, Churchill’s discussion of Uganda is more nuanced than might be inferred from the quote he chose to append to his signature. In addition to citing its problems and plagues – insect and otherwise - Churchill also wrote of Uganda with lyrical appreciation: “Uganda is a fairy-tale. You climb up a railway instead of a beanstalk, and at the end there is a wonderful new world. The scenery is different, the vegetation is different, the climate is different, and most of all, the people are different from anything elsewhere to be seen in the whole range of Africa.” (p.86)

Churchill’s comment about the insects was an encapsulation of his broader observation about the negative physical and psychological effects of Uganda on its European inhabitants. More prophetic and prosaic, he noted “there seems to be a solemn veto placed upon the white man’s permanent residence in these beautiful abodes.” Uganda gained its formal independence on 9 October 1962, during the final years of Churchill’s life and long parliamentary career, and notionally became a republic in 1963. Uganda has since struggled with depredations more severe than its insects, including civil strife, various flavors of autocracy, and AIDS.

Reference: Cohen A27.4, Woods/ICS A12(ab), Langworth p.83. Item #006938

Price: $15,000.00

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