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The Story of the Malakand Field Force, An Episode of Frontier War, the first printing of the Colonial edition with the Indian errata slip
London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1898. First Colonial edition. Hardcover. This is the scarce first edition, first printing of the “Colonial Library” issue of Churchill's first book, bearing the unusual and rarely seen Indian errata slip arranged personally by Churchill. The author's first book recounts his experiences when attached to Sir Bindon Blood's punitive expedition on the Northwest Frontier of India in 1897. First printing copies of the Colonial issue were produced in small numbers simultaneously with the Home Issue. The harsher climate and condition of the colonies meant low survival rates and often poor condition for those few examples that survived. Complicating matters for collectors, there were no fewer than 10 different editions, printings, and binding variations for the very small number of Colonial issues ultimately produced from 1898 to 1901. Here is the important first printing of the Colonial issue made still more scarce and desirable by the presence of the rare Indian errata slip unique to this particular Colonial issue. Publication of the first edition of 1898 was arranged by Churchill's uncle while the author was still in India, resulting in numerous spelling and detail errors. Churchill was incensed by the errors and acted with haste to address them. Per Cohen in his Bibliography: "Colonial Library copies are known with an unusual errata slip, which was prepared in India on or about 7 April 1898. It was, therefore, in all likelihood available in first edition copies in India before the domestic errata slips were available in London and certainly before the domestic errata slips were available in India." (Cohen p.14). Churchill was still serving in India at the time. In a 22 March 1898 letter to his mother, Churchill lamented the "gross & fearful blunders" of the first edition and stated: "I may catch the Indian edition, in which the absurdities would be most laughed at." Evidence indicates that Churchill personally arranged for the printing of the Indian slips, paid for them himself, and had them tipped into the Colonial copies before distribution. They are printed on distinctive laid, watermarked paper and contain four additional corrections not found on the domestic errata slip, as well as small differences in the other corrigenda. Given the provenance of the Indian errata slip, we can be confident that this copy originally sold in India, where the young author was serving at the time. This first printing of the colonial issue is also noteworthy for being the only of the many books published in Churchill's lifetime with the “L.” for “Leonard” appearing on both the binding (spine and lower front cover) and the title page. This is an original, unrestored copy, meaning it has not been rebacked or had endpapers replaced like so many of the copies that survive. Condition is very good, particularly given the inherent rigors associated with colonial provenance. The binding is square, the hallmark greenish-gray color still distinct on both the covers and spine, the striking front cover illustrated in blue only modestly scuffed, the spine gilt still bright. We note wear to corners and spine ends, light overall scuffing and soiling, and a small, stray ink mark to the center front hinge. The contents are improbably bright and clean for a colonial issue, with only a few trivial spots and no previous ownership marks. The frontispiece and original tissue guard are intact, the maps present and properly folded. The contents are firmly attached to the binding, despite a cosmetic split following the front free endpaper that exposes the intact mull beneath. Overall, a well-preserved and completely original copy of this first printing of the first Colonial Library issue, sold in India while Churchill was still there. Bibliographic reference: Cohen A1.2.c, Woods/ICS A1(ab.1), Langworth p.15.
      [Bookseller: Churchill Book Collector]
Last Found On: 2018-02-25           Check availability:      Biblio    

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