"I KNEW THAT DEATH IS BUT A DOOR, I KNEW WHAT WE WERE FIGHTING FOR"
MONTGOMERY OF ALAMEIN, Bernard. Poems from the Desert. Verses by Members of the Eighth Army. London: George G. Harrap, (1944). Octavo, original half navy morocco, uncut, original cardboard slipcase. $1850.
Signed limited first edition of this collection of 27 poems written by members of the Eighth Army while in the Western Desert in 1942-43, number 53 of only 110 copies signed by General Bernard Montgomery, who has written the Foreword, with etched frontispiece by Stephen Gooden.
Twenty-six of the poems gathered here were the winning entries taken from 403 poems submitted to a competition organized by the Eighth Army's newspaper Crusader; poems had to be written in the Western Desert to be considered. The twenty-seventh poem "has a unique history. Written on a scrap of paper, it fluttered into the hands of a soldier sheltering in a slit trench, during the battle of El Ahgeila." As the renowned commander of the Eighth Army, Montgomery of Alamein, writes in his foreword, "It is not too fanciful to see in the poems that follow something of the greatness of mind and spirit with which this valiant Army has been fired, and to which so many of its finest achievements can be attributed." With original cardboard slipcase.
A few spots of foxing to endpapers and cloth boards. A near-fine signed copy.