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THE STORY OF THE MALAKAND FIELD FORCE
-First Edition of Churchill’s First Book-
First English Edition (First State)
Longmans, Green, & Co. Ltd. [London]
Biblio: (Cohen A1.1.b) (Woods A1a)
8vo (352 pages, 6 maps, illustrations, tissue-guarded frontis portrait. 1 of 2,000 copies printed)
Hardcover [Apple-green cloth]
Item Number: 203960
The Story of the Malakand Field Force was Winston Churchill’s first book, a chronicle of true-life military adventures drawn from newspaper dispatches filed by the then-22-year-old correspondent while serving on India’s Afghanistan-bordering Northwest Frontier under Major-General Sir Bindon Blood. Wrenching to read how little has changed in this region since Churchill’s time. The First Edition is easily distinguished by its apple-green cloth binding but Malakand is prized by collectors in almost any edition.
This is a nominally very good copy of the First State of the First English edition. The rear publisher’s catalogue is absent and appears to have been removed. An errata slip is present after the first folding map. (Frederick Woods’ original Churchill bibliography indicated two “states” based on the presence or absence of errata slips. Subsequent research has indicated that no precedence should be assigned.) There are no tissue guards on any of the maps, nor do there ever appear to have been. The frontis portrait tissue guard is also absent.
The green cloth has mellowed, with some darkening, and the gilt titles have faded modestly on the front face and on the spine. There are two bumps at the right edge of the front board and a crunch to the lower corner of the rear board. All others corners are gently turned. The binding is tight, though the hinges are tender, with the front hinge giving a bit. There is a former owner’s name in ink on the half-title, dated “1898,” as well as a vintage bookplate on the front free endpaper. The contents are fine, with some foxing to the half-title and the rear final page, as well as very faint, scattered foxing throughout.