ronald searle's second illustrated book - from his own experience
HASTAIN, Ronald. White Coolie. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1947.
8vo. Original cloth with illustrated dust-wrappers (price-clipped) by Ronald Searle; pp. 302, , illustrations by Ronald Searle, fading to cloth, minimal marginal leasures to wrappers, a little offsetting from illustrations to opposite pages; a very good copy of an uncommon work, more so in the striking wrappers; ownership inscription, dated October, 1947 to front fly-leaf.
First edition. 'Ronald Hastain has seen much of the Far East The Japs kept him on the move. For him, the prisoner-of-war at Changi on Singapore Island was a stepping-off place for the dark hinterland of Siam, the jungle and the mountains. Then came the return to Singapore by that crazy scenic railway built at the cost of untold human lives to satisfy the demands of the Japanese High Command, and the voyage on a hell ship through typhoon and shipwreck to the Land of the Rising Sun. And here, on true Japanese soil, Hastain stayed in industrial slavery till August 1945 brought rescue by the American Air Force. Through these long, enforced treks into the unknown, which make this record one of the most remarkable travel-books ever written, this British officer missed completely the deadly monotony suffered by most prisoners-of-war. He did not miss much else. Ex-P.O.W.s will recognise in White Coolie the very stuff of their experience, the stronger for being recorded so simply, without sensationalism and without vindictiveness Unconsciously, Hastain has painted a self-portrait which shows him a natural leader, not unworthy to speak for them all' (rear panel). 'To Ronald Searle, the artist, I should like to express my deep gratitude and appreciation for his drawings, which so strikingly illustrate phases of our common experience as prisoners-of-war' (A Note from Author to Artist on rear inside flap of wrappers). - This is the variant of the wrapper with red, not yellow, lettering.