Item #007839 My African Journey, the hardcover colonial issue of the first edition. Winston S. Churchill.
My African Journey, the hardcover colonial issue of the first edition
My African Journey, the hardcover colonial issue of the first edition
My African Journey, the hardcover colonial issue of the first edition
My African Journey, the hardcover colonial issue of the first edition
My African Journey, the hardcover colonial issue of the first edition
My African Journey, the hardcover colonial issue of the first edition

My African Journey, the hardcover colonial issue of the first edition

London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1908. First edition, Colonial issue. Hardcover. This is a superior copy of the scarce hardcover colonial issue of the British first edition of My African Journey. Churchill's travelogue on Britain's possessions in East Africa was written while he was serving as Undersecretary of State for the Colonies. This book is notable, among other things, for being the only one of his many books to contain photographs apparently taken by the author. My African Journey offers collectors the only colonial issue of a work by Churchill written about colonial possessions while Churchill was actually serving in the Colonial Office.

The British 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. There was a colonial hardcover issue of the first edition. Per Churchill bibliographer Ronald I. Cohen (Cohen A27.2, Vol I, p.158): "the colonial issue in cloth covers is distinguished only by the presence of an asterisk, gilt, below the name of the publisher on the spine." While there were a total of 12,500 copies of the first edition printed, it is estimated that no more than 1,726 of these were such colonial copies. Given that the colonial issue was destined for the harsh climates and conditions of the British colonies, comparatively few have survived and even fewer have survived in respectable condition.

This copy is in very good condition. The original red cloth binding is square, tight, notably bright, far less worn and blemished than the majority of copies. The illustrated front cover remains strikingly bright, with only a few, trivial blemishes. The blank rear cover is likewise bright, though with a small moisture stain. Shelf presentation is quite respectable, especially for a colonial issue. The spine is sunned, but uniformly and not severely, with the gilt print still vividly bright and distinct, including the asterisk at the spine heel - hallmark of the hardcover colonial issue. A few tiny moisture stains, light soiling at the heel, and some wrinkling and minor fraying to the spine ends do not substantially detract. The contents are likewise quite respectable. Spotting, endemic to the edition, is moderate, light and intermittent within, more evident on the text block edges. The contents are complete. 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 in this copy. We note only a single, vintage owner inscription - in pencil and plausibly erasable - on the upper front pastedown.

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." Churchill enjoyed a proper 19th Century bwana experience, traveling by special train provided by the Uganda Railway, receiving tribute from various chiefs, and shooting all manner of things. Happily, there are more insightful and enduringly interesting experiences recounted in the book than just a catalogue of culled fauna.

By now a seasoned and financially shrewd author, Churchill arranged to profit doubly from the trip, first by serializing articles and then by publishing a book based substantially upon them. Nine articles on his African journey were published in Strand Magazine from March to November 1908. In November 1908 Hodder and Stoughton published My African Journey as a book. While Churchill's Strand articles make up the bulk of the book, the last two chapters plus an additional paragraph in Chapter X did not appear in Strand and the book is a substantial 10,000 words longer than the serialized articles.

Reference: Cohen A27.2, Woods/ICS A12(aa), Langworth p.82. Item #007839

Price: $1,500.00

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