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The River War by Winston S. Churchill, First Edition, Two Volume Set, 1899

Sale price$11,500.00

Churchill, Winston S. The River War: An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1899. Edited by Col. F. Rhodes, D.S.O. Illustrated by Agnus McNeill, Seaforth Highlanders. Two Volume Set. First Edition Printing. Rebound in full navy leather with gilt tooling and facsimile gilt signature embossed to front boards, raised bands, gilt titles, and gilt tooling to the spine, and new marbled end paper. Presented with a custom navy cloth archival slipcase. 

This is a first edition printing of The River War: An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan by Winston S. Churchill.  The two volume set was published in London in 1899 by Longmans Green, and Co.  It was edited by Col. F. Rhodes, D.S.O, and illustrated by Agnus McNeill. The book is presented rebound, in stunning full navy leather boards with gilt borders and Churchill’s facsimile gilt signature embossed on the front. The spines boast raised bands, gilt titles, and gilt tooling, and the inside has new marbled end paper. The two volumes are protected with a custom navy cloth archival slipcase. The front of the slipcase is inset with the original cloth and gilt stamped front of Vol I, with a river boat scene, the book’s title, and Churchill’s name.

The River War tells the story of Britain’s campaign to reconquer Sudan at the end of the nineteenth century. In 1885, Sudanese Dervishes rebelled against foreign rule and killed Britain’s envoy Charles Gordon at his palace in Khartoum. Herbert Kitchener’s Anglo-Egyptian army, advancing hundreds of miles south along the Nile through the Sahara Desert, defeated the Dervish army at the battle of Omdurman on September 2, 1898. Churchill charged with the 21st Lancers in the most dangerous fighting against the Dervish host. After the battle Churchill began writing his full account of the campaign, built on a foundation of fifteen previous newspaper articles and dispatches written while in action. He even resigned from the army to be free to write the book as he pleased, without fearing how it would be received by his commanding officer.

Just a year later, in November of 1899, The River War was published. It was issued  in “two massive volumes, my magnum opus (up to date), upon which I had lavished a whole year of my life,” as Churchill recalled later in his autobiography. The book had twenty-six chapters, five appendixes, dozens of illustrations, and colored maps.

A relatively small print run, there were only 2,000 copies of this first edition, first printing. The young author was noticeably even-handed in his account. He gave Kitchener credit for his victory but found much to criticize in his campaign. He showed sympathy for the founder of the rebellion, Muhammad Ahmed, and for his successor the Khalifa Abdullahi, whom Kitchener had defeated. Churchill also discusses how the war in northeast Africa affected British politics in Britain, fit into the geopolitical rivalry between Britain and France, and abruptly “thrust the vast Sudan, with the largest territory in Africa, into an uncertain future in Britain’s orbit.” His two volume work was later shortened in 1902 to fit into one volume. Seven whole chapters, and parts of every other chapter, disappeared in this 1902 abridgment. Many maps and most illustrations were also dropped.

The original two-volume book was never published again, making this scarce two first edition printing even more collectible. 

CONDITION: Very good condition overall. Two volume set. Handsomely rebound in full navy leather with gilt tooling and facsimile gilt signature embossed to front boards, raised bands, gilt titles, and gilt tooling to the spine, and new marbled end paper. Presented with a custom navy cloth archival slipcase, inset with front gilt-stamped cloth from Vol I’s original binding. Interior pages are in generally good condition. A few pencil marks and scattered light foxing throughout, as expected with age and past use. Illustrated throughout with black and white illustrations and several color maps and plans.

Book Dimensions: 9 1/8" H x 6 1/2" W x 2" D (each). Slipcase Dimensions: 9 1/2" H x 6 3/4" W x 4 1/2" D. 

Accompanied by our company's letter of authenticity. 

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The River War by Winston S. Churchill, First Edition, Two Volume Set, 1899

The River War by Winston S. Churchill, First Edition, Two Volume Set, 1899

Colorado

Pickup available, usually ready in 4 hours

1 Lake Avenue
Colorado Springs CO 80906
United States

7194716157
The River War by Winston S. Churchill, First Edition, Two Volume Set, 1899
The River War by Winston S. Churchill, First Edition, Two Volume Set, 1899 Sale price$11,500.00

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