'a book of unique appeal'
THOMSON, William McClure. The Land and the Book; or, Biblical Illustrations Drawn from the Manners and Customs, the Scenes and Scenery of the Holy Land. London, T. Nelson and Sons, 1868.
8vo. Original maroon cloth with bevelled edges, lettered and decorated in gilt and blind; pp. [4, advertisements] [v]-xvii, 718; 12 tinted colour plates, retaining tissue guards, one folding lithographic map (repaired tear); fading to spine, light spotting to and offsetting from tissue guards and map; otherwise a good copy with school prize and ownership inscription at the beginning.
Later and updated edition. Thomson (1806-1894) was educated at Miami University and Princeton Theological Seminary. In 1832 he sailed for Syria, arriving in Beirut in 1833 and travelling to Jerusalem the following year, from where, after his imprisonment and his wife's death, he returned to Syria later in the year, subsequently travelling widely throughout the area. The Land and the Book is divided into four parts, entitled: 'Phoenicia and Lebanon'; 'Northern Palestine'; 'Sea-Coast Plains--Sharon and Philistia'; and 'Southern Palestine', and was first published in New York and London in two-volume editions in 1859. The first Nelson one-volume edition appeared in that year, and its great success ensured a stream of new editions that stretched into the early 20th century. 'The first edition had an extraordinary circulation. It was republished in England and more copies were sold than of any previous American book except Uncle Tom's Cabin [...] Thomson had traveled widely and repeatedly in Palestine and Syria and had studied the topography and the ancient buildings and sites, using the best archaeological helps available. His appreciation of natural beauty and power of description were unusual; he knew the life of the people in all its aspects, and spoke their languages; he was minutely familiar with the Bible, and well read in the writers on Palestine, ancient and modern. These qualifications, with an easy and graceful style, produced a book of unique appeal. It fulfilled in high degree its purpose of elucidating the Bible and greatly increased knowledge of Palestine in the English-speaking countries. Furthermore, it preserved faithful descriptions of Palestinian life while it was as yet little affected by western civilization' (DAB).