CHURCHILL, Winston S. My African Journey. 1908. Peter Harrington Rare Books.

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CHURCHILL, Winston S. My African Journey. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1908. Peter Harrington Rare Books.

Presented by Pom Harrington, owner of Peter Harrington Rare Books.

Octavo. Original red cloth, gilt-lettered spine, titles and pictorial decoration to front board in black, blue, and grey enamel, bottom edge untrimmed. Publisher’s 16-page catalogue at rear. Housed in a custom red morocco solander box.

First edition, first issue, sole printing, an exceptionally bright example of the original cloth, entirely unfaded, including the vulnerable spine, and with the enamel decoration, so prone to chipping, completely intact: this is the best copy we have handled. A total of 12,500 sets of sheets were printed, of which Cohen accounted for 8,161 in this binding: some 3,000 sets constituted the colonial cloth or paper issues, and 1,400 were shipped to America and bound in blind-stamped cloth. My African Journey was the first book to derive purely from Churchill’s journalism, as distinct from his work as a war correspondent. Before embarking he signed an extremely lucrative contract for the publication of a series of articles in The Strand, and for further publication in book form. What Churchill was offered is impressive testimony to his perceived drawing power, at £750 for five contributions he was receiving “more than Kipling, whom The Strand were paying £90 for his short stories; more than W. W. Jacobs, whose rate at the time was £110 for a story” (Pound, The Strand Magazine, 1891-1950). “The result bubbles with Churchill’s irrepressible interest in everything new, whether it was the thrill of hunting rhino, the dangers of sleeping sickness, or the engagingly extempore justice of the District Officers” (Woods, Artillery of Words: The Writings of Sir Winston Churchill, 1992, p. 81).

CHURCHILL, Winston S. My African Journey. 1908. Peter Harrington Rare Books.