My African Journey

CHURCHILL, Sir Winston. My African Journey.

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CHURCHILL, Sir Winston. My African Journey. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1908.

8vo. Original red pictorial cloth, with an illustration on the upper cover showing the author standing over a dead rhinoceros, spine lettered in gilt; pp. [vi], v-xiii, [ii], 2-226, [2], [16, advertisements]; with 3 maps and 61 illustrations from photographs by the author and Lt.-Col. Gordon Wilson, including frontis behind mounted tissue-guard; some plates professionally reattached, having worked loose (as is common), else a remarkably fresh example of the first edition, the cloth bright and vibrant with only minor darkening and rubbing along the spine; internally very clean with only marginal toning and offsetting to the endpapers.
First edition.
Following his election as Member of Parliament for Oldham in 1900, Churchill was given his first ministerial position as Under-Secretary at the Colonial Office by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman in December 1905, and he quickly immersed himself in colonial matters. In the autumn of 1907 Churchill travelled to East Africa to take part in a safari, but naturally Churchill the politician also took a keen interest in many other aspects of East African life. Equally, following the established pattern, he sought to defray the expenses of the trip through journalism, and Churchill and his agent, A.P. Watt, negotiated with The Strand to provide a number of reports on British East Africa (eventually nine) and photographs to illustrate them, which returned £1,050 to the author (Churchill's expenses for the expedition were accounted at £800).
These nine articles were then edited and enlarged by the addition of a further 10,000 words, to be published in book-form as My African Journey, for which Churchill was paid a further £500. The finished work recounts Churchill's travels, exploits as a huntsman, and his interest in Britain's political engagement with its East African colonies: 'these letters [...] present a continuous narrative of the lighter side of what was to me a very delightful and inspiring journey; and it is in the hope that they may vivify and fortify the interest of the British people in the wonderful estates they have recently acquired in the north-eastern quarter of Africa, that I offer them in a connected form to the indulgence of the public' (p. vi).
Woods A12.