“THE DEBUT OF AN EXCITING NEW TALENT”: CHURCHILL’S FIRST BOOK, THE STORY OF THE MALAKAND FIELD FORCE
CHURCHILL, Winston. The Story of the Malakand Field Force, An Episode of Frontier War. London: Longmans, Green, 1898. Octavo, original apple-green cloth, uncut. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $8000.
First edition, first issue, of Winston Churchill’s first book, an account of his service with the Malakand Field Force in India, with frontispiece portrait of Sir Binden Blood and six maps, two of them folding and in color.
When in the summer of 1897 a "Swati revolt threatened the British garrison holding the Malakand Pass" along the Afghanistan border, "Churchill caught the next boat to India" where he covered the events of the campaign for the Daily Telegraph (Manchester, 250). The book "was hailed as a minor classic, the debut of an exciting new talent, and… a penetrating study of Raj policy. Churchill's response to all this is curiously moving. He was 'filled with pride and pleasure… I had never been praised before'" (Manchester, 262). First issue, without errata slip and with 32-page publisher's catalogue dated 12/97 bound at rear. Without virtually unobtainable dust jacket, described as "presumed to have existed, no examples have been found" (Woods). Cohen A1.1.a. Woods A1(a). Langworth, 11. Occasional pencil marginalia in a neat hand.
Interior generally clean, inner hinges and text block expertly reinforced; light expert restoration to extremities of original cloth with light soiling and spine slightly toned. A very good copy of this increasingly scarce Churchill title.