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The Story of the Malakand Field Force.
  • 94372

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The Story of the Malakand Field Force.

An Episode of Frontier War. New Edition.

Published: London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1899

Stock code: 94372

Price: £500

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This item is on show at 43 Dover Street (map)

First printing of the Silver Library Edition of Churchill’s first book – a run of 1,440 copies – which first had been published the previous year. Based on his exploits with the Malakand Field Force led by Sir Bindon Blood on the north-west frontier of India in 1897, which Churchill accompanied as a war correspondent for the Daily Telegraph. As he was still in India, the checking of the proofs was undertaken “by an uncle of mine [Moreton Frewin], a very brilliant man and himself a ready writer. For some reason or other he missed many scores of misprints and made no attempt to organise the punctuation.” This led to a some fairly severe comments, these however mixed with compliments: “The Athenæum said ‘Pages of Napier punctuated by a mad printer’s reader'” (My Early Life). One reader unstinting in his praise was the prime minister, Lord Salisbury, who called Churchill for a personal interview and expressed his “admiration not only for its matter but for its style” and thought it a “truer picture” of events than any other documents he had read. The reception of Malakand was key in convincing Churchill that he could live by the pen, as well as by the sword.

Small octavo. Original plum buckram, spine lettered in gilt, broad single fillet panel to the front board, white and buff patterned endpapers. Tissue-guarded portrait frontispiece of Sir Bindon Blood, 2 folding coloured maps, and 4 full-page. Spine slightly faded and a little rubbed head and tail, pale toning and marginal light browning throughout, title page and tissue-guard spotted, a very good copy.

Bibliography: Cohen A1.3.a; Woods A1(b).

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