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119794 119794_1
LEWIS, Cecil.

Sagittarius Rising.

Availability: In stock

Published: London Peter Davies, 1936

Stock Code: 119794

OR On display in 100 Fulham Road


First edition in the exceptionally uncommon dust jacket, of one of the classics of Great War literature, widely considered the finest flying memoir of the war. "At seventeen, standing 6 feet 4 inches tall and equipped with a precocious intelligence, Lewis lied about his age to join the Royal Flying Corps. He celebrated his eighteenth birthday in France, flying patrols over the western front at a time when the average life expectancy of a pilot was three weeks. On 1 July 1916 he flew the first patrol of the Somme offensive and witnessed the mile-high column of earth thrown up by the detonation of mines under the German positions. Later he duelled with the 'circus' of Manfred von Richthofen and was the last man to see the aircraft of Albert Ball VC, the allied ace who vanished in a bank of cloud. Lewis also hunted Gotha airships over London by moonlight, and in 1917 he was awarded the Military Cross for continuous bravery" (ODNB). On publication, the book was reviewed in the New Statesman by George Bernard Shaw, who Lewis had encountered while deputy director of programmes at the BBC, and who had permitted him make the first film adaptation of one of his plays. Shaw's high praise guaranteed the book's immediate success: "This is a book everyone should read. It is the autobiography of an ace, and no common ace either This prince of pilots had a charmed life in every sense of the word".

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Octavo. Original grey marl cloth, titles to spine in dark blue. With the dust jacket.


Faint foxing to spine, top edge faintly dust toned, light offsetting to endpapers; an excellent copy in the price-clipped jacket with browned spine, nicks to extremities, paper tape reinforcements to verso.


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