HISTORY BOOKS AT ASH RARE BOOKS
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BAMFORD, Samuel, 1788-1872 : PASSAGES IN THE LIFE OF A RADICAL.
London : MacGibbon & Kee, (1967). Originally published serially in Manchester in the early 1840s and here in a slightly shortened modern edition – one of the most important documents of nineteenth-century radicalism, covering the turbulent years either side of the Peterloo massacre, in the aftermath of which the highly articulate Bamford, both weaver and poet, was charged with treason and wrongly convicted of inciting a riot – “it is a voice that England cannot afford even now to shut its ears to”. With a preface by Tim Hilton.
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BELLOC, Hilaire (Joseph Hilaire Pierre René), 1870-1953 : HIGH LIGHTS OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION.
New York : Century Co., 1915. First edition. A handsomely illustrated history of the French Revolution, in six parts, differing in tone from Belloc’s earlier and more formal history published in 1911. The present version was never published in the UK.
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[CHALLICE, Annie Emma Armstrong, 1821-1875] : HEROES, PHILOSOPHERS, AND COURTIERS OF THE TIME OF LOUIS XVI.
London : Hurst & Blackett, 1863. First edition. Drawn from French sources and with emphasis in particular on the story of French influence and intervention in the American War of Independence. With a rich cast of characters including Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Voltaire, Mirabeau, William Pitt, Tom Paine, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Horace Walpole, Samuel Johnson, the Marquis de Lafayette, Madame du Barry, Richelieu, Rousseau, Captain Cook, Cagliostro, etc.
CHARPENTIER, Armand, 1864-1949 : THE DREYFUS CASE.
London : Geoffrey Bles, 1935. First edition in English of "Historique de l'Affaire Dreyfus" (Paris : 1933), translated by J. Lewis May. Reputedly the best account of the trials and tribulations of Alfred Dreyfus (1859-1935).
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CHURCHILL, Winston (Sir Winston Leonard Spencer), 1874-1965 : LONDON TO LADYSMITH VIA PRETORIA.
London : Longmans, Green & Co., 1900. First edition. Churchill’s personal account of the early months of the Boer War and his extraordinary adventures in South Africa. A particularly interesting copy in having been annotated in pencil in numerous places by an eye-witness to a number of the military actions – at Spion Kop, etc. At one point the anonymous annotator identifies himself as the field officer of the East Surreys who pointed out to Churchill “an expansive bullet of a particularly cruel pattern” being used by the Boers. For the most part the officer accepts Churchill’s account – “Very well described. I watched all this”, etc. – adding and identifying a name here and there, but elsewhere he bluntly corrects with a “Wrong” and other tokens of disagreement.
COOKE, George Wingrove, 1814-1865 : MEMOIRS OF LORD BOLINGBROKE.
London : Richard Bentley, 1835. First edition. The first full-scale biography of the “Man of Mercury” – Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke (1678-1751) – politician, exile, writer, historian, philosopher, libertine and wit – a figure, in the author’s phrase, too long “sedulously erased” from the history books. Included as appendices are Bolingbroke’s poems, the articles of impeachment, his will, etc.
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DOBRÉE, Bonamy, 1891-1974 – editor : FROM ANNE TO VICTORIA : ESSAYS BY VARIOUS HANDS.
London : Cassell & Co., (1937). First edition. Essays literary, artistic and historical – the contributors including W. H. Auden (on Alexander Pope), T. S. Eliot (on Lord Byron), Graham Greene (on Henry Fielding and Laurence Sterne), Edwin Muir (on Walter Scott), Herbert Read (on William Hogarth), George Santayana (on Bishop Berkeley), John Sparrow (on Lord Mansfield), Rebecca West (on Elizabeth Montagu), Leonard Woolf (on Tom Paine), etc.
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DOYLE, James E. (James William Edmund), 1822-1893 : A CHRONICLE OF ENGLAND : B.C. 55 – A.D. 1485.
London : Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green, 1864. First edition. The antiquary and illustrator James Doyle (brother of Richard, uncle of Arthur Conan) compiles and illustrates a sumptous chronicle of England from the invasion of Julius Caesar to the death of Richard III. Long celebrated as perhaps the finest example of Victorian colour-printing, with the glowing colours of Doyle’s illustrations engraved and printed by Edmund Evans (1826-1905) in eight to ten overlays on a hand-press – “as bright as if they had just been painted” (ODNB) – and, as Evans later recalled, “the most carefully executed book I have ever printed”.
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DREYFUS, Alfred, 1859-1935 : FIVE YEARS OF MY LIFE.
London : George Newnes, 1901. First edition in English of “Cinq Années de Ma Vie, 1894-1899” (first published in Paris earlier the same year), translated from the French by James Mortimer. The sensational Dreyfus affair – the first two trials, Devil’s Island, etc., in his own words. Dreyfus was not finally exonerated of the trumped-up charges of treason until 1906.
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FROUDE, James Anthony, 1818-1894 : ENGLISH SEAMEN IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY : LECTURES DELIVERED AT OXFORD EASTER TERMS 1893-4.
London : Longmans, Green & Co., 1901. The Silver Library edition of Froude’s celebrated lectures on Hawkins, Drake and the Armada, originally published in 1895 – and here presented in a handsome prize binding.
GREEN, J.R. (John Richard), 1837-1883 : A SHORT HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH PEOPLE.
London : Macmillan & Co., 1902-1903. The magnificent “illustrated edition” of Green’s magisterial and hugely popular account, first published in 1874. Short only by Victorian standards, “It is a history, not of English Kings or English Conquests, but of the English People”. Green was among the first to switch attention from political and military to social and cultural history, although remaining well aware of that “recurring tendency to the formation of oppressive oligarchic structures from which, periodically, ordinary Englishmen had to liberate themselves” (Anthony Brundage in ODNB). The illustrated edition was prepared after his death by Green’s wife, Alice Stopford Green, and his former assistant, Kate Norgate – “It was a favourite wish of my husband’s to see English History interpreted and illustrated by pictures which should tell us how men and things appeared to lookers-on in their own day, and how contemporary observers aimed at representing them”.
HARRIS, John, 1756-1846 – publisher : HISTORICAL PASTIME : OR A NEW GAME OF THE HISTORY OF ENGLAND.
London : for J. Harris, 1803 [but later]. A popular and colourful early nineteenth-century board game, first produced in 1803 – the slip-case so dated here, but with the 1813 rule-book. “No. 1. Battle of Hastings – Pay one to the King ... No. 3. British Baron – Pay one the Norman” – the players pursue their English history through 158 numbered spaces from 1066 to the American War of Independence. “This will naturally excite a curiosity in the youthful mind; and that curiosity will be gratified in the short account of each reign sub-joined. – On the whole, the writer flatters himself, that the public approbation will convince him, that the hours he has devoted to the formation of this little Scheme, have not been spent in vain”. Complete with the 48pp “Rules and Directions for Playing the Historical Pastime ... with a Short Account of the Principal Events”, and the original slip-case.
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JACKSON, Catherine Hannah Charlotte, Lady, 1814?-1891 : THE OLD RÉGIME : COURTS, SALONS, AND THEATRES.
London : Richard Bentley & Son, 1880. First edition. A gossipy and readable history of French high society from the death of Louis XIV to the demise of Marie Antoinette – libertinage, seeking interviews with Satan, un fanfaron de vices, an actress’s dinners, rival gambling houses, les devotionettes, the coiffure of Madame de Gontaut, and much else besides.
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LANIER, Henry Wysham, 1873-1958 : THE BOOK OF BRAVERY : BEING TRUE STORIES IN AN ASCENDING SCALE OF COURAGE.
London : Bickers & Son, . First edition : the London issue of the American sheets. Thirty-six tales of inspiring bravery, ancient and modern, grouped under the headings of “Facing Death to Avoid It”, “The Treasure-Seekers”, “Soldiers Who Knew No Fear”, “Some Exploits of the Sea”, and “Famous Deeds of Discipline”, with individual chapter titles such as, “How an Artist Outwitted a Pope”, “A Great Novelist among the Corsairs”, etc.
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LAWRENCE, John, 1928- & LAWRENCE, Robert, 1960- : WHEN THE FIGHTING IS OVER : A PERSONAL STORY OF THE BATTLE FOR TUMBLEDOWN MOUNTAIN AND ITS AFTERMATH.
London : Bloomsbury Publishing, (1988). First edition. Inscribed to Brian and Elspet [the actor Brian Rix and his wife Elspet Gray] and signed “John and Robert” by the authors – “Your support and love have been so invaluable”. The horrendously wounded hero of Mount Tumbledown and his father give a personal and controversial account, with the editorial assistance of Carol Price.
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LECKY, William Edward Hartpole, 1838-1903 : THE MAP OF LIFE : CONDUCT AND CHARACTER.
London : Longmans, Green & Co., 1902. An attractively bound reprint of the celebrated historian’s popular discussion of everyday ethical problems. It was in 1902 that Lecky became one of the first people to be granted the new Order of Merit. Originally published in 1899.
MASSINGHAM, H.J. (Harold John), 1888-1952 & MASSINGHAM, Hugh, 1905-1971 – editors : THE GREAT VICTORIANS.
London : Ivor Nicholson & Watson, . First edition. Essays by various well-chosen hands on forty Victorians – including Edmund Blunden on Matthew Arnold, Rebecca West on Charlotte Bronte, G. K. Chesterton on Charles Dickens, Neville Cardus on W. G. Grace, Laurence Housman on Florence Nightingale, Hugh Walpole on Anthony Trollope, etc.
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“ORWELL, George” – [BLAIR, Eric Arthur, 1903-1950] : ORWELL : THE WAR COMMENTARIES.
London : Gerald Duckworth & Co. / British Broadcasting Corporation, (1985). First edition. The rediscovered texts of George Orwell’s wartime radio broadcasts, transmitted weekly from December 1941 (Pearl Harbor) through to February 1943. Passages originally deleted by the wartime censor have been restored where legible. “The first large-scale unpublished work of Orwell’s to appear since his early death in 1950”. Edited, introduced and extensively annotated by the late W. J. (Bill) West (1942-1999), who discovered the lost original manuscripts.
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OSWALD, John : TEXT BOOK OF HISTORICAL & GEOGRAPHICAL TERMS AND DEFINITIONS, INCLUDING THE PRINCIPAL STATUTES FROM THE SAXON PERIOD TO THE PRESENT TIME, WITH A COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF BRITISH IMPORTS, AND A COMPLETE INDEX.
Manchester : James Galt & Co., 1898. Twenty-seventh edition. An updated and expanded version of this once-popular shilling guide, intended as an aid to examination students – synopses of the statutes chronologically from the Synod of Whitby to the Voluntary Schools Act of 1897; history definitions alphabetically from the Abhorrers to Yeomen; geography from Affluent to Zone; and imports from Agates to Zinc. First published in 1876.
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READ, Jan (John Hinton), 1917-2012 : THE NEW CONQUISTADORS.
London : Evans Brothers, (1980). First edition. The extraordinary tale of the British volunteers and mercenaries who helped gain independence for the countries of South America – “the swashbuckling and fearless Lord Cochrane; William Brown, the amateur admiral; the embattled William Miller of Peru”, etc.
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ROBERTS, George, 1803?-1860 : THE LIFE, PROGRESSES, AND REBELLION OF JAMES, DUKE OF MONMOUTH, &C. TO HIS CAPTURE AND EXECUTION WITH A FULL ACCOUNT OF THE BLOODY ASSIZE, AND COPIOUS BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES.
London : Longman, Brown, Green, & Longmans, 1844. First edition : a later binding up of the first edition sheets, with inserted advertisements dated 1850. An absorbing full-length account of the Monmouth Rebellion, drawing on previously unknown sources and records. The author was a schoolmaster at Lyme Regis (and also at one time the mayor) and is particularly strong on local records and traditions.
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ROLLIN, Charles, 1661-1741 : THE ANCIENT HISTORY OF THE EGYPTIANS, CARTHAGINIANS, ASSYRIANS, BABYLONIANS, MEDES AND PERSIANS, MACEDONIANS AND GREEKS.
London : for James, John and Paul Knapton, 1734-1736. First edition in English. Rollin’s sprawling history of the ancient world – by far the most influential and popular account of its time – reprinted again and again until the late nineteenth century. Although three supplementary volumes were published in 1737-1739, the set was evidently regarded by many readers as complete in ten volumes by 1736 and a good number of sets in the major institutions are similarly restricted to this number. A nineteenth-century pencilled instruction at the front of the present set confirms that only ten volumes were ever sent to the bookbinder “to be lettered and gilt on the backs” – in fact to be labelled. Originally published in Paris from 1730 onwards.
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ROWSE, A.L. (Alfred Leslie), 1903-1997 : THE ENGLISH PAST : EVOCATIONS OF PERSONS AND PLACES.
London : Macmillan & Co., 1951. First edition. “Now that the great days of England are perhaps over – it is extraordinary to think that we have lived through the very greatest of them in our lifetime – it is somehow consoling to pursue and evoke the past, recent as well as remote”. Twelve essays – on All Souls; on Hillesden and Oliver Cromwell; on Milton; on Jonathan Swift; an afternoon at Haworth Parsonage; on Thomas Hardy and Max Gate; on John Buchan; on Nottingham – “what an astonishing town it is”; on D. H. Lawrence, and on Alun Lewis, etc.
ROWSE, A.L. (Alfred Leslie), 1903-1997 : RALEGH AND THE THROCKMORTONS.
London : Macmillan & Co., 1962. First edition. A presentation copy, inscribed to fellow historian Arthur Bryant and his wife – “For Arthur and Anne – admiration – affection – encouragement from A.L.” Rowse’s ground-breaking interpretation of Sir Walter Raleigh or Ralegh – “the most brilliant, various and glittering of all Elizabethans”, relying on the recently discovered Throckmorton diaries.
STEVENSON, Francis Seymour, 1862-1938 : HISTORIC PERSONALITY.
London : Macmillan & Co., 1893. First edition. An interesting and erudite discourse from the British parliamentarian and scholar on the variety of ways of knowing and understanding the great figures of the past – via history, biography, autobiography, diaries, memoirs, letters, table-talk, characterisation, monumental inscriptions, portraiture and, not least, imaginative literature. With passing reference to Aristotle, Boswell, Julius Caesar, Lord Chesterfield, Goethe, Dr Johnson, La Bruyère, Rousseau, Shakespeare, Theophrastus, Voltaire, etc., etc. The present extra-illustrated copy has been enlivened by the insertion of thirty-seven engraved portraits, culled from various sources, of a number of the figures mentioned (although the hand-coloured plate inserted as a frontispiece would appear to be a portrait of Robert Stevenson, the engineer, rather than of the author).
TRELOAR, Sir William Purdie, 1843-1923 : WILKES AND THE CITY.
London : John Murray, 1917. First edition. An engaging and well-researched life of one Lord Mayor of London – the turbulent and magnificent John Wilkes (1725-1797) – by one of his successors in that office. Duels, the “North Briton”, general warrants, habeas corpus, expulsions from the Commons, the Middlesex elections, the mayoralty and all the rest.
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TURBERVILLE, A.S. (Arthur Stanley), 1888-1945 – editor : JOHNSON’S ENGLAND : AN ACCOUNT OF THE LIFE & MANNERS OF HIS AGE.
London : Oxford University Press, 1933. First edition. A distinguished, literate and well-illustrated survey of all aspects of eighteenth-century life, with authoritative essays by G. M. Trevelyan, Dorothy George, G. D. H. Cole, R. W. Chapman and others – the period; the church; the navy; army; exploration and discovery; travel and communications; London; town-life in the provinces; industry and trade; agriculture and rural life; poverty, crime and philanthropy; manners, meals and domestic pastimes; sports and games; costume; taste; painting and engraving; sculpture; architecture and the garden; interiors; drama and theatre; music; education; science; medicine; the law and lawyers; authors and booksellers; newspapers, etc.
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[YONGE, Charlotte Mary, 1823-1901] : A BOOK OF GOLDEN DEEDS OF ALL TIMES AND ALL LANDS : GATHERED AND NARRATED BY THE AUTHOR OF “THE HEIR OF REDCLYFFE”.
London : Macmillan & Co., 1908. A collection of fifty historical tales of heroism and self-denial intended as “a treasury for young people”, or “a mother’s storehouse for reading aloud to her boys” – Alcestis and Antigone, The Pass of Thermopylae, The Shepherd Girl of Nanterre, The Keys of Calais, Sir Thomas More’s Daughter, The Children in the Wood of the Far South, etc. Originally published in 1864.
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YOUNG, G.M. (George Malcolm), 1882-1959 – editor : EARLY VICTORIAN ENGLAND : 1830-1865.
London : Oxford University Press, 1934. First edition. A magisterial and richly illustrated study of the background to mid nineteenth-century England, with chapters on Work and Wages (J. H. Clapham), Homes and Habits, Town Life and London (R. H. Mottram), Life in the New Towns, Country Life and Sport (Bernard Darwin), The Navy, The Army, The Mercantile Marine (Basil Lubbock), The Press, Art, Architecture (A. E. Richardson), Music, Drama (Allardyce Nicoll), Holidays and Travel, Charity, Expansion and Emigration, and the Portrait of an Age.
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