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THE STORY OF THE MALAKAND FIELD
AN EPISODE OF FRONTIER WAR
 (Cohen A1) (Woods A1)
Winston Churchill’s first book is a true-life adventure story
that vividly captures his experiences on the Northwest Frontier
of India while attached to Sir Bindon Blood’s punitive
expedition in 1897. Churchill’s willingness, as a young lieutenant,
to criticize the leading generals of the day typified his
precocious approach and alienated some of those generals,
including Lord Kitchener, who would later try to prevent
Churchill from joining Kitchener’s expedition to reconquer
the Sudan. (See The River War.) Much of the book’s content
first appeared as newspaper despatches posted by Winston
Churchill, the war correspondent, setting a precedent for
many of the author’s works to come.
As Churchill’s first book, Malakand has always been desir
able. Yet, until the publication of a modern reprint in 1990, there had been no edition in print in the
English language since 1916. (The only edition in any language between 1916 and 1990 was issued
in 1944 by Churchill’s Swedish publisher, Skoglunds, which remains the only foreign translation.)
Thanks in part to the efforts of the International Churchill Society, Malakand was reissued in the
1990s in both hardcover and softcover, though these editions, too, are now out of print.
From the Reviews
“There’s not an awkward passage in Churchill’s first book. He sets the exotic stage as he
moves us into the action…Churchill elbowed his way into the Malakand Field Force seeking military,
not literary, distinction. He was a twenty-two-year-old subaltern in the 4th Hussars, a regiment
stationed in Bangalore, far to the south. He was poor [and] restless in the peacetime cavalry.
When the frontier tribes attacked, he wired the Malakand Field Force commander, Sir Bindon
Blood, whom he had met socially, proposing to spend his leave at war. Sir Bindon, who had
filled all his slots for junior officers, allowed Winston to come along as a war correspondent.
“The pattern of the campaign was dictated by the region’s melodramatic topography. Churchill
describes the Bengal Lancers, under fire, trying to swim their horses through a gorge of the swift-flowing
Swat River, and he also describes the artillerymen walking their mules over a swinging bridge across
the Panjkora River while the current below battered the bodies of dead camels against the rocks. The
tribes fought for fun, for loot, and for Islam; one mullah had promised that they would be invulnerable to
the bullets of the infidel, and another that they would go to heaven if they were killed. Since they didn’t
coordinate a strategy, the frontier campaign was a series of separate actions, some consecutive, others
simultaneous. Churchill sees to it that the reader is never confused; we will always know where a particular
brigade is and what it is trying to do. Though Churchill the writer was at least as green as Churchill
the soldier, he knew that it was best to describe little things (for example, that a bullet missing you
makes ‘a curious sucking noise’ in the air) and let the reader discover the big things – the steadiness of
the outnumbered imperial forces, the cultural misunderstandings that pervaded the frontier – for himself.”
-Naomi Bliven in The New Yorker, 26 March 1990
Easily distinguished by its apple green cloth binding, the First Edition is uniform in style with
the (red) binding of Ian Hamilton’s March. Churchill’s uncle, Moreton Frewen, handled final proofing
of Malakand and committed a plethora of grammatical errors in the First Edition, much to Churchill’s
consternation. Frewin’s errors begin early with a host of unnecessary commas in the dedication on
page (v). Notable too is the byline: “Winston L. Spencer Churchill,” which is the only reference to the
author’s middle name (Leonard) among all of his books.
With the Second Edition, issued in late 1898, Churchill deleted this “L.,” but the letter had a
life of its own, returning again in the 1901 impressions. The “L” was finally dispensed with in Churchill’s
second book and never reappeared, although he retained “Spencer,” or at least “S,” to distinguish
his work from that of the American novelist Winston Churchill.
Obviously this is a key edition, and one of the most collectible. Truly fine copies are extreme
rarities, and even those with routine wear and tear are difficult to find.
THE STORY OF THE MALAKAND FIELD FORCE
First Edition, Home Issue
Cohen A1.1 / Woods A1a
Publisher: Longmans, Green, and Co., London, 1898
Green cloth gilt stamped on the spine; blind and gilt stamped on the front cover. Ubulks 1 1/2
inches (38 cm). 352 pages numbered (i)-(xvi), 1-336, with or without a 32-page rear catalogue supplement
that is printed on cheap stock; frontispiece photograph, illustrations and maps. Byline on
the spine and on the title page contains Churchill’s middle initial “L.” The title page lists Longmans
offices in London, New York and Bombay.
Published on 14 March 1898 at 7s. 6d. ($1.85). According to Woods, some copies were exported
for sale by Longmans, Green in New York and sold at $2.50 in the U.S.
A total of 1,954 copies were published, with 1,600 bound in March 1898 and 354 in June. Bibliographer
Ronald I. Cohen, in reporting on his examination of the publisher’s records (Finest Hour
#54, pages 14-15) states that there were not similar quantities of the Home and Colonial issues
(as per Woods), but rather 2,000 Home and 3,000 Colonial. From the 2,000 Home issues, 46 sets
of sheets were transferred for use in Colonial issues in October 1898, leaving the 1,954 disposed
of as follows: 1,675 sold in Britain; 200 sent to New York for the American market; and 79 kept as
States and Impressions
No “states” can reliably be assigned. (See “Variations.”) There was one impression, with several
binding and internal variants.
Though a jacket is presumed to have existed, no examples have been found.
Boards: In addition to the smooth apple green cloth most often encountered, there is a distinctly
brighter, more grainy or mottled green cloth, which could possibly indicate the June 1898
Errata slips: Copies appear with and without a 13-entry errata slip. (On some slips, the line
“CHURCHILL’S Malakand Field Force” at lower left is trimmed.) A longer, 16-entry slip also exists,
but has been found only in Colonial issues. (See: 1ab) Errata slips do appear in various positions,
contrary to Woods’s assertion; typically before or after the folding map opposite page 1. In his
Finest Hour article on quantities produced, Cohen deduced that 3,300 copies of Malakand were
shipped before the first errata slip was printed; therefore, about 1,700 of the combined Home/Colonial
issues were available for the insertion of errata slips.
Rear catalogues: Printed on cheap paper, this 32-page supplement advertising other Longmans
titles is dated on its final page either “12/97” or “3/98.” Since the catalogue describes books
for sale in London, it is likely that the 200 copies of Malakand sold in America lacked catalogues but,
then, many copies sold in England also lacked catalogues.
Protective Tissue Guards: All copies are likely to have contained a protective tissue guard
over the frontispiece. Many have since lost these original tissues and traces of them may be hard
to find. Woods mentions tissue guards over the folding maps at pages 1 and 146; these are rarely
seen and do not appear uniformly.
States: Variants of this edition are sometimes called “states,” depending on which catalogue they
contain or the size or presence of an errata slip. “First states” are represented as containing the
“12/97” dated rear catalogue and no errata slip. (The first slips were printed 19 April, not soon
enough for the initial binding in March.) Copies with “3/98” catalogues and/or errata slips are con- sidered to be later states, but these distinctions are not always borne out by the books themselves.
The problem is that sheets were printed in one location; catalogues were bound somewhere else,
errata slips were printed in one or perhaps two other locations and inserted elsewhere. This leaves
much room for inconsistencies, which are very apparent when examining numerous copies.
Writing in Finest Hour #70, bookseller Glenn Horowitz noted that Churchill did not post his manuscript
from India to London until 29 December 1897, so Longmans must have had a supply of
“12/97” catalogues when they began binding the book in March. Yet, not all copies contain catalogues.
No one can say when the “12/97” catalogues ran out and were replaced with the “3/98” catalogues,
or whether and how long an interval (or intervals) occurred when no catalogue of any kind
was inserted. Likewise, although errata slips could not have been inserted before they were printed
on 19 April 1898, they were often omitted later as well. We have seen copies containing the “3/98”
catalogue but no errata slip.
Horowitz concluded that “copies of the Home issue exist with a catalogue in the rear dated either
12/97 or 3/98, except in cases where there is no catalogue at all…some copies have an errata sheet
tipped in at various places amongst the first dozen pages; some do not; those with an errata were
‘distributed’ later than 19 April 1898, the day 1,700 erratas were printed. From that evidence no state
of issuance can, or should, be ascertained.”
THE STORY OF THE MALAKAND FIELD FORCE
First Edition, Colonial Issue
Cohen A1.2 / ICS A1ab
Publisher: Longmans, Green, and Co., London & Bombay,
Grey cloth blocked pictorially on the cover with the “Longman’s
Colonial Library” design in navy blue. The spine is gilt
stamped. 8vo. Usually bulks 1 1/4 inches.
A softbound edition was also published with the “Longman’s
Colonial Library” design in navy blue on light greyish green
wrappers. 336 pages. Printed on thinner paper than the
Home issue, with a frontispiece photograph, illustrations
and maps. Though produced simultaneously with the Home
issue, publication dates would have been later, occurring
when copies arrived at their various colonial markets (chiefly
India). The title page (and the cover of wrapper copies)
omits New York from the Longmans offices, and states at
the top: “Longman’s Colonial Library,” and at bottom, “This
edition is intended for circulation only in India and the British
A total of 2,796 copies were published. Three thousand sets of sheets were printed (concurrent with
the 2,000-copy Home issue), from which 250 sets of sheets were extracted for the Canadian issue
(See: A1ac), while 46 sets of sheets were added from the Home issue.
According to Cohen (Finest Hour #47, page 14), 3,000 sheets of this issue were run off in March
1898. A “Bibliographical Note” in later editions confirms the March 1898 reprint, so the 3,000 were
apparently produced in two pressings. We are not sure there is any way to tell the impressions
apart; we have never seen a copy marked “Second impression.”
None are known to exist. The pictorial cover suggests the possibility that no jacket was issued on
cloth copies for the Colonial market.
This issue is subject to the same variations of protective tissue guards as the Home issue. Colonial
issues do not contain the 32-page advertising supplement.
Errata slips: On Colonial issues, two distinctive errata slips have been encountered: the 13-entry
type described under the Home issue, and a 16-entry version in a different typeface. The latter has
been found only in Colonial issues. It is likely that Churchill, finding three more errors, caused the
longer slip to be printed and inserted in Colonial issues once the books arrived in India, which is
where most of them were sold.
Both issues were printed simultaneously, but it took more time for the Colonial copies to reach retail
shops. Although more wrapper copies than cloth copies were produced, the former are now rarer,
with few known to exist; no doubt, many wrapper copies were simply thrown away. The clothbound
version, while hardly common, may be found today in a handful of libraries and rare book catalogues.
At least as desirable as the Home issue, the clothbound Colonial is a Victorian period piece, with is
Longmans trademark Colonial Library pictorial binding (a nice companion to the Colonial Savrola).
While much rarer today, the softcover is not as aesthetically pleasing.
THE STORY OF THE MALAKAND FIELD FORCE
First Edition, Canadian Issue
Publisher: Copp Clark, Toronto, 1898
Olive grey pictorial cloth gilt stamped on the spine, printed
navy blue on the top board. 8vo. Usually bulks 1 1/4 inches.
336 pages. Printed on thinner paper than the Home issue,
with a frontispiece photograph, illustrations and maps. Published
March or April 1898, with cancel title for Longmans’
export agent in Canada; actual appearance was delayed
until stocks arrived in Canada. Title page cancel differs from
the Colonial issue in its publisher notation, which reads: TORONTO
| THE COPP CLARK, CO., LIMITED | LONDON
| LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. | 1898. Copp, Clark’s
name also appears on the spine.
Quantities and Impressions
One issue of 250; taken from stocks of the Colonial Issue,
with a cancel title denoting the Canadian Copp Clark Company.
Dust Jackets and Variations
None known to exist (See: A1ab). This issue is unlikely to contain errata slips, since it was part of
the initial press run of 3000 sheets in March 1898.
We have seen only two examples of this issue. In appearance it is exactly like the Colonial issue,
with the Copp, Clark imprints noted above. Copp, Clark was also responsible for Canadian Issues
of at least three later Churchill works (See: A3, A4, A5).
The Canadian issue is the rarest of the three First Editions of Malakand, and everything said under
this heading for the Colonial issue applies to it as well. A real prize for the collector of obscure variations,
its value is on par with the Colonial issue.
THE STORY OF THE MALAKAND FIELD FORCE
Second Edition, Colonial Issue
Publisher: Longmans, Green and Co., London and Bombay, 1898
Grey cloth blocked navy blue pictorially on the cover in the “Longmans Colonial Library” design; the
spine gilt stamped. 8vo. Usually bulks 1 ¼ inches. 336 pages. Printed on thinner paper than the
Home issue, with a frontispiece photograph, illustrations and maps. Printed in November 1898 but
published later. It was also published softbound in grey wrappers printed navy with the Longmans
Green uniform design.
Quantities and Impressions
A total of 1,060 copies were produced: a first impression of 500 (November 1898), 60 sets of sheets
transferred from the Silver Library issue (on or after June 1900), and a second impression of 500
(February 1901). There is a distinct difference in the title pages of the two impressions:
• First impression: The words NEW EDITION appear above the publisher’s name, and the
byline omits the initial “L.,” reading WINSTON SPENCER CHURCHILL.
• Second impression: NEW EDITION is replaced by NEW IMPRESSION, the “L.” returns to
the byline, thus: WINSTON L. SPENCER CHURCHILL, and the date 1898 changes to 1901.
None are known to exist and the publisher may not have supplied any.
A clothbound copy has surfaced, originally sold in New Zealand, with a title page not conforming to
either description above. Instead, the title page is an exact copy of the First Colonial issue of March
1898, including the 1898 date and byline initial “L.,” while the cover and spine byline omit the “L.”
(This is the only Colonial copy of the Malakand binding we have seen with the “L.” missing.) The title
page is integral with the subsequent pages, which are otherwise consistent with the Second Edition
(Silver Library text).
The most logical conclusion is that this is one of the sixty Colonial issues made up from sheets
transferred from the Silver Library on or after June 1900 to relieve a minor shortage. Since these
sixty copies were created well before the 1901 second impression, we believe Longmans utilized
a First Edition plate for the title page, while managing to remove the “L.” from the spine and byline.
This copy is also unique among Colonial copies of Malakand for its repeat pattern on the endpapers
of Longmans logos (“ship and swan”), identical to the endpapers of the Silver Library Edition, but
printed blue-grey to match the Colonial binding, rather than the brown of the Silver Library. (These
blue-grey endpapers also occur on the Colonial Savrola.)
In November 1898, Churchill was finally able to accomplish plate corrections for the many errors
which so upset him in the First Edition. Evidently, the colonial market was the most in need because,
according to the “Bibliographical Note” on the title page verso, the Colonial “New Edition”
was published two months before the Silver Library issue (January 1900), which also would contain
With the exception of a slight color variation and one byline alteration (see above), these books
were bound in the style of the First Colonial edition (A1ab). That their contents differed dramatically
is the discovery of Brad Nilsson, who recorded his find in Finest Hour #73 (pages 25-27).
Since this issue preceded the Silver Library by about two months, it is the first appearance of Mal- akand as Winston Churchill wished it to be read.
Because it contains a significantly revised text, this is an important issue and extremely rare. The
only copy examined by Nilsson is in the Hoover Library at Stanford University, and unfortunately has
been rebound in library cloth.
THE STORY OF THE MALAKAND FIELD FORCE
Second Edition, Silver Library Issue
Cohen A1.3 / ICS A1bb
Publisher: Longmans, Green and Co., London, 1899
Reddish brown cloth gilt stamped on the spine, with gilt
or blind stamped rules on the front cover. 8vo. Usually
bulks 1 ¼ inches. 340 pages, the last three blank; with
a frontispiece photograph, illustrations and maps. Contains
a new “Preface to the Second Edition” at page (xi).
First printed in November 1898, but the official publishing
date is January 1899. Some copies contain 32-page catalogues
of other Longmans titles. As with all Longmans
Silver Library titles, the endpapers are printed brown in a
design of swans and ships between ivy leaves.
A total of 2,500 copies were published: 1,500 printed
in November 1898 and 1,000 printed in February
1901. Writing in Finest Hour #54, Cohen disclosed that,
through 1912, 1,668 copies had been sold in Britain, 65
in the USA, 60 had been transferred to the Colonial issue,
three used as presentation copies, leaving 663 in
stock and 41 unaccounted for.
The title pages of the two impressions are distinctly different:
• The First impression title page contains the Silver Library ship logo, the byline WINSTON
SPENCER CHURCHILL, the words NEW EDITION and the date 1899, despite a “Bibliographical
Note” on the verso stating January 1900 as the publication date.
• The Second impression title page omits the Silver Library ship logo (which is transferred in
larger format to the first free endpaper), adds the byline letter “L.,” states NEW IMPRESSION and
contains the date 1901. The title page verso contains a revised “Bibliographical Note” containing the
reprint date (February, 1901) and a boxed advertisement for Churchill’s four subsequent books.
See Cohen for the revised arrangement of preliminaries on the February 1901 impression. Rear
catalogues are found in both impressions and bear various dates. The existence of a catalogue
dated “5/03” in a 1901 impression suggests that not all sheets were bound after the second printing
in February 1901, but kept in stock and bound as required. This accounts for the several variant
bindings encountered. (See below.)
Jackets are not known but are assumed to have existed.
On the top board, the border rule has been found gilt stamped on both impressions, but also has
been found blind on some 1901 impressions.
The 1901 impressions exist with a much smoother, medium red plain cloth, no blocking on the back
board, and a blind border of the same dimensions as the standard binding, although it now fills the
area completely, as the boards are about 4mm narrower. The spine has the Silver Library ship logo,
but the shape of the ship is slightly different, and the date “1724” is on one line and the spine type is
in a different font. The spine letter “E” has been changed from Middle English style to a block capital.
The pages are trimmed slightly smaller and there are no catalogues in the two copies examined.
This variant has also been encountered with the spine blocked black, instead of gilt.
Several other variations of the spine logo have been noted, bearing the two-line dates “17” over “24”
and “17” over “25.”
Cloth color Date Published Letter “E” undr
‘1897’ on spine
Year on spine Rear Catalogue
brown 1899 rounded leaf 17 over 25 10/99
brown 1899 rounded leaf 17 over 25 none
brown 1901 rounded lead 17 over 24 5/03
smooth red 1901 straight rule 17 over 24 none
smooth red 1901 straight rule 17 next to 24 none
We collect first editions to get as close as possible to the author’s original expression but in the case
of Churchill’s first book, the First Edition was irrevocably compromised by Frewen’s proofreading. It
is the Second Edition, which conveys the text as Churchill wished it to be read from the start. This is
at once apparent through the dearth of commas in the dedication, and Churchill’s added “Preface to
the Second Edition,” dated “London, 15th October 1898.” (He also added a sentence to his original
Preface: “On general grounds we deprecate prefaces.”)
Debate surrounds the question as to how many hours the plate corrections to the Second Edition
required. Woods states that, “corrections on the first edition necessitated 122 hours’ work by the
printer” and that the second “needed 196 hours’ work by the printer.” [We assume he means the
November 1898 printing and the second in 1901.] Horowitz comments: “This is very confusing and
also extraordinary: surely they could copy-edit The World Crisis and Marlborough in less time than
that!” (Finest Hour #73, page 26). Yet, a lot of correction went on, for example, in the first ten pages
between the First and Silver Library Editions; more than fifty changes.
Presumably, the 122 hours applies to the extensive plate changes in November 1898 for the
greatly revised Second Edition. But then what about the 196 hours Woods mentions as being
needed later? He could only be referring to the final, February 1901 printing. Yet, we cannot think
that this task required 196 more hours. In those days, plates were heavy metal objects which had
to be altered laboriously by hand. In a time of 50-hour weeks, it might require 122 man-hours to
make Churchill’s November 1898 alterations. Perhaps the later figure of 196 hours is cumulative,
meaning that another 74 hours were put in on the 1901 impression. It would be revealing if some
dedicated collector would do a page-by-page check of a 1901 and 1898/99 issue, to discover exactly
how many textual variations exist.
Some minor corrections to Woods: He states that in the 1901 impression “the initial L has been
deleted from the author’s name on the spine.” This is incorrect; it was deleted on the New Edition
of 1898/99. Woods also says the “Preface to the Second Edition” is exclusive to the Silver Library
Issue (it is also found in the Second Colonial), and that all copies should possess a rear catalogue
and tissue guards over the folding maps, but this is not necessarily the case.
The Silver Library is a serviceable and, more or less, obtainable issue, though given to page age-toning.
Its chief value is that it contains Churchill’s text as he wished it to be. It has the advantage of
being uniform with other Longman titles in the Silver Library series. This allows the fastidious restorer
to replace missing endpapers with identical endpapers from other Silver Library titles. Fine
examples of the first impression are rare, but the 1901 impression is rarer in any condition.
[THE STORY OF THE MALAKAND FIELD FORCE] Shilling Library Edition
Cohen A1.5 / ICS A1c/ Woods A1(c)
Publisher: Thomas Nelson & Sons, Ltd., London,
Medium blue cloth, gilt stamped or black on the spine, plain
boards, a border rule on the front board blind stamped.
16mo. 384 pages. Frontispiece photograph, maps and
plans. Decorative endpapers printed light blue. Published
at 1 shilling (25c).
Quantities and Impressions
One impression was produced, but subsequent bindings
of remaining unbound sheets are likely. (See “Variations”)
Publisher’s standard jacket for the series, printed black on
light blue, showing an author’s photo and a decorative border
on the front face, with other Nelson titles printed on the
flaps and rear face.
Copies are known with and without gilt top page edges, and a very few exist with black rather than
gilt spine blocking. Black lettered copies have not been encountered with gilt top page edges, and a
bookplate in one identifying it as a June 1920 school prize suggests that it may represent a remainder
binding of leftover sheets.
Described as a “Cheap Edition April 1916” on its title page verso, the Nelson Edition appeared as
part of an extensive series of small-format, low-priced books. Among these, it was the second and
final Churchill title (Nelson had published The River War the year before). This was the last edition
of Malakand to be released for 74 years, and many copies were taken by soldiers to the front during
the Great War, or to India, which accounts for the many owner inscriptions naming famous regiments).
The Nelson Edition contains Churchill’s approved text as published in the Second Edition,
and quite good maps for the size and price. Being cheap, the book tended to be treated carelessly,
and most copies are well worn or display gutter breaks. Jacketed copies are extremely rare.
Until the advent of modern reprints this was the only inexpensive alternative to the early editions, but
availability of new editions has reduced the price of run-of-the-mill Nelson Editions. The variations
are scarce and worth looking for, as is, of course, the very rare “period” dust jacket, which would at
least double the price of a copy so equipped.
[THE STORY OF THE MALAKAND FIELD FORCE] The New Edition, 1989
A milestone for Churchill’s admirers was the resurrection
of his first book in 1989. Features common to all issues
of this edition are as follows: the text photographically
reproduced from the Collected Works, Volume III (see
Posthumous Collected Editions), which itself was reset
from the Silver Library text approved by Churchill; a new
foreword by Tom Hartmann (in addition to the author’s
original preface); and an appendix on the International
Churchill Societies. There are 236 pages, with maps and
plans from the Collected Works (redrawn).
This edition is not listed in Woods.
All new editions are essentially the same, nicely if economically
produced. According to Leo Cooper, sales of
English issues were “disastrous,” but the Norton issue
had a long and happy run in the United States, and was
then reprinted by Barnes & Noble. These are editions for
readers, and for collectors wishing to read the text without
wear and tear on valuable early editions.
New English Edition
Cohen A1.6 / ICS A1da
Publisher: Leo Cooper, London 1989
Black cloth gilt stamped on the spine, and plain boards. 8vo. Black dust jacket printed white and red.
Photo of the author in dress uniform on the front face. One impression, with no known variations.
Sold at £14.95.
New American Issue
Cohen A1.7 / ICS A1db
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Co., New York 1990
Dark blue cloth stamped silver on the spine, and plain boards. 8vo. White dust jacket printed blue,
gold and black. Photo of the author in dress uniform on the front face. One impression, with no
known variations. Sold at $18.95.
New Paperback Issue
Cohen A1.8 / ICS A1dc
Publisher: Mandarin Books, London 1990
Pictorial color wraps. 8vo. One impression, with no known variations. Sold at £4.99.
Second American Issue
Cohen A1.9 / ICS A1dd
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Inc., New York 1993
This bookstore chain did a remainder reprint with similar physical characteristics but with Barnes
& Noble replacing Norton as publisher on title page, spine and jacket. There was one impression.
Swedish: STRIDEN OM MALAKAND
Published in hardcover and wrappers by Skoglunds Bokforlag, Stockholm, in 1944. The softbound
edition bears multicolor artwork of British cavalry on the front face. The format is 8vo, 232 pages; the
wrapper version sold for 14.50 kroner, the blue cloth hardback 19.50 kroner. No dust wrapper has
been found but Swedish practice suggests that one exists with a design similar to the wrapper version.
Appraisal: This issue is considered the most attractive of all editions of Malakand, and the best
produced because of the large format, high quality paper, and clear, large maps. Hardbound copies
are rarely encountered outside Sweden.
Collectors of editions in foreign languages are enjoying a little-known but rewarding branch of Churchill
bibliophilia, not the least for the sometimes magnificent bindings of these works. Notable examples:
the Monaco edition of Savrola, Scandinavian editions of The Great War and the Belgian
French edition of The Second World War. Foreign translations also often differ importantly from the
English editions, depending on what Churchill wished to emphasize or downplay. For example, in
The Official Biography, Sir Martin Gilbert records that the Dutch, through Churchill’s foreign-language
impresario Emery Reves, were offended by no mention in The Grand Alliance of the activities
of Dutch submarines in the Allied cause. Churchill replied that he would make no alteration in his
English text but had no objection to an amplifying footnote on this subject in the Dutch edition, which
was duly entered. (Winston S. Churchill, Vol. VIII, “Never Despair,” London: Heinemann 1988 page
549). While we have not gone into great descriptive detail, we have indicated the broad reach of
Churchill’s foreign translations.
This guide follows John Carter’s ABC for Book Collectors commonly used terms:
Edition: “All copies of a book printed at any time or times from one setting-up of type without
substantial change, including copies printed from stereotype, electrotype [we must now add ‘computer
scanning’] or similar plates made from that setting of type.”
Impression: “The whole number of copies of that edition printed at one time, i.e., without the
type or plates being removed from the press.” A particular conundrum was posed by the discovery
that the stated third impression of the Colonial Malakand Field Force (pressed November 1898)
carried the same extensive textual corrections of the Silver Library Edition (pressed at the same
time—indeed both these books used the same sheets). How then to classify the third Colonial? It is
clearly not a new impression. Our solution was to make it part of a new entry, not cited by Woods,
the “Second Edition,” along with the Silver Library Edition.
State: “When alterations, corrections, additions or excisions are effected in a book during
the process of manufacture, so that copies exhibiting variations go on sale on publication day indiscriminately,
these variant copies are conveniently classified as belonging to different states of the
edition.” Example: the two states of the first English My Early Life.
Issue: “An exception to the above is the regular use of “issue” for variant title pages, usually
in respect of the publisher’s imprint…[also] when similar variations can be clearly shown to
have originated in some action taken after the book was published, two [or more] issues are distinguished.”
Example: the two issues of The People’s Rights, one with an index and appendix, the
other with two appendices and no index.
We occasionally sidestep Carter’s strict definitions for clarity. With Savrola, for example,
Woods states that the first English “edition” was produced from a set of electroplates made up in
Boston, a duplicate set to the First American Edition. The English “edition” might therefore be called
an “issue,” but we do not do so because no one else does, including Woods, and because this book
is quite distinct in appearance.
Offprints: Carter defines this as “a separate printing of a section of a larger publication,”
which is not exactly how modern publishers use it. To us an offprint is a reprint, sometimes reduced
but sometimes same-size, of all pages of an earlier printing; for example, the five Canadian offprints
of American war speech volumes from The Unrelenting Struggle through Victory. In earlier years,
offprinting was accomplished by using plates from the original—like the Canadian issue of My African
Journey—or by reproducing the type on negatives—like the Australian issue of Secret Session
Speeches. In the latter case, the offprint usually exhibits heavy looking type, not as finely printed as
the original. Typically, offprints are not considered separate editions, but a contretemps arises with
modern reprints of long out-of-print works made by photo-reproduction.
Proof copies: From The World Crisis on, proof copies bound in paper wrappers are occasionally
encountered. This is a task best left to the bibliographer, except to say that in general they
tend to lack illustrations, maps and plans that appear in the published volumes. Although not widely
collected, proofs do usually command high prices when they are offered for sale.
Dust Jackets = Dust Wrappers: We generally use the term “dust jacket” to refer to what
English bibliophiles usually call a “dust wrapper.” The two terms are interchangeable, though words
that describe the parts of the dust jacket, aside from “spine,” are common to both countries:
Flap: the parts of the jacket that fold in around the edge of the boards, front and rear.
Face: The front or back panel of the jacket that you see with the book lying flat in front of you.
Books vary—especially old books—and one finds variations between identical editions. Except
where distinct size differences help to identify various editions or impressions of the same title,
one from another, this guide describes books by the traditional cataloguer’s terms.
Folio (Fo.): Very large format, now commonly known as “coffee table” size; among Churchill
folio works is the Time-Life two-volume Second World War, measuring 14 x 12 inches (365 x
Quarto (4to): Normally lying between folio and octavo in size, though varying considerably in
this respect. A telephone directory is quarto; but so is The Island Race, A138(c), which measures 12
1/4 x 9 3/4 inches (310 x 248mm), although Woods calls it “octavo” and says it measures 12 x 9 1/2!
Other quarto volumes are the Danish and Norwegian translations of The Great War, which measure
8 1/2 x 11 1/2.”
Octavo (8vo): The most common size since the early 17th century. A large (demy) octavo
is about the size of Frontiers and Wars, (A142/1), which measures 9 1/2 x 6 3/8 inches (232 x
162mm). A small (crown) octavo is about the size of the English Young Winston’s Wars, (A143[a]),
which measures 8 3/4 x 5 5/8 inches (222 x 143mm), although Woods calls it “16mo” and says it
measures 8 1/2 x 5 1/2.
Duodecimo (12mo, commonly called “twelvemo”): A bit smaller than 8vo, but taller than
16mo; the size of a conventional paperback, say 6 7/8 x 4 1/4 inches (175 x 107mm).
Sextodecimo (16mo, usually pronounced “sixteenmo”): The smallest size of book covered
here, this format is shorter, but perhaps wider, than a paperback; for example, the 1915 edition of
Savrola, which measures 6 5/8 x 4 1/2 inches (168 x 114mm).
My only other reference to size will be when an obvious difference can be ascertained between
related editions or issues. I thought it useful to mention, for example, that the First Edition of Malakand
bulks about 1 1/2 inches, while the first Colonial issue bulks only about 1 1/4 inches; and
that there’s about a half-inch difference between the first impression Macmillan Aftermath and the
later impressions. Even here, the key word is “about,” since old books swell or shrink depending on
storage conditions, and many were not uniform to begin with.
MAJOR WORKS CITED
Three works are commonly referred to in this guide:
Woods is shorthand for A Bibliography of the Works of Sir Winston Churchill, KG, OM, CH by the
late Frederick Woods, the Second Revised Edition, second issue (Godalming, Surrey: St. Paul’s
Bibliographies 1975). Woods recognized that his work needed updating, and was beginning work
on a new edition before his untimely death in 1994.
The pioneering Churchill bibliographer, Woods published his first edition in 1963, astonishing not
only bibliophiles but also the Churchill family with the number of items he uncovered. Dissatisfaction
with the completeness and accuracy of his work was inevitable as time passed, and Woods, to
whom many of us passed our corrections and suggestions, characteristically recognized this. He
was hoping to rectify the situation before his death. He can truly be said to have inspired everyone
who has researched or seriously collected the works of Churchill.
Cohen is the new Ronald Cohen Bibliography, published by Continuum, a product of more than 25
years’ labour by the author, aided and abetted by scores of bibliophiles and, through the pages of
Finest Hour, journal of The Churchill Centre.
Both Woods, before he died, and Cohen kindly gave permission to quote their bibliographic numbers
here as a cross reference.
ICS refers to a publication of the International Churchill Societies, Churchill Bibliographic Data, Part
1 (“Works by Churchill”). Pending release of the update, which he did not succeed in publishing,
Woods also permitted the International Churchill Society to publish an “Amplified list” based on
his numbers, but with more detailed sub-designations to pinpoint the various editions and issues.
For example, The World Crisis has assigned three “Woods” numbers: A31(a) through A31(c). The
ICS “Amplified Woods list” runs from A31a through A31k in order to distinguish certain deservingly
distinct editions and issues. Except for deleting the parentheses, in no case did ICS alter any basic
Woods numbers. For example, even Blenheim, which undeservedly holds Woods number A40(c)—
it is only an excerpt, and probably should not be among the “A” titles at all—is retained by ICS. Thus,
“ICS” numbers are merely an extension of Woods numbers.