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Biography/ autobiography

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  • Byron of the Wager – Peter Shankland

    Byron of the Wager – Peter Shankland

    The detailed story of the loss of the Wager in the Strait of Magellan during Lord Anson’s circumnavigation of the 1740’s with a primary aim of sticking it up the Spanish fleet.

    Published by Coward, New York a first edition 1975. Octavo, 288 pages with illustrated endpapers, maps and illustrations. A little rubbing to jacket (now Brodart protected as all Voyager books), still a very good copy.

    Through the eyes of the Hon John Byron Lieutenant who wrote a primary account of the events, before during and after. Fourth Lord Byron was the famous poets Grandfather and went on to be respective Admiral of the fleet.

    One of the greatest wreck stories, part of a the monumental Anson voyage (despite its losses) and an individual who would go on to be a maritime legend.

    The wager better than any novel … tension, intrigue, excitement


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  • Edward Wilson of the Antarctic  – Naturalist and Friend – George Seaver

    Edward Wilson of the Antarctic – Naturalist and Friend – George Seaver

    Published by John Murray, London in 1963. Soft cover issue. Excellent condition. Octavo, 228 pages. Illustrated and with maps.

    Edward Wilson (known as “Uncle Bill”) was one of the four men who reached the South Pole in January 1912 together with Captain Scott and later perished in their tent after failing to return to their base.

    This is a magnificent book; we rarely have paperback, but this one is such good condition we couldn’t resist. Folding map courtesy Apsley Cherry- Garrard and his “Worst Journey”

    Great book about a Great Man


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  • Threnos for T.E. Lawrence – Henry Williamson (Author of Tarka the Otter)

    Threnos for T.E. Lawrence – Henry Williamson (Author of Tarka the Otter)

    Threnos … a lament over a victim of a tragedy … no better definition than here … Henry Williamson regarding T.E. Lawrence of Arabia.

    Includes other writings by Henry Williamson together with “A Criticism of Henry Williamson’s – Tarka the Otter – by T.E. Lawrence”

    Published by the Henry Williamson Society, an only edition 1994. Octavo, 134 pages, yellow card covers, fine condition. Frontispiece from a photograph of Williamson, taken in 1930.

    The relationship between Lawrence and Williamson was an unusual one. Born out of publisher Putnam asking Lawrence to review a draft of Traka. He did and sent his written criticism to Putnam who onforwarded it to Williamson. Two year into printing Williamson took up some of T.E.L.’s comments and recognised his involvement in later editions.

    When Lawrence crashed his motorcycle and died from the injuries he had just posted a letter to Williamson making arrangements to visit, strangely making their relationship all that stronger. Williamson understood the complex man that Lawrence was and this was reflected in Lawrence’s friendship with him.

    A rare Lawrence Item that reveals a very personal side of the Williamson Lawrence relationship … and Tarka


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  • Lord Rochester’s Monkey (Being the Life of John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester) – Graham Greene – First U.S. Edition  1974

    Lord Rochester’s Monkey (Being the Life of John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester) – Graham Greene – First U.S. Edition 1974

    Graham Green had written this lengthy biography in the early 1930’s. Rochester’s work and life were considered rather racy for the period and there was difficulty getting it published.

    Moving the clock forward to 1974 and it is finally published backed up by some very good relevant illustrations.

    Published by Viking, New York. Large octavo (25cm by 19cm) 231 pages with numerous illustrations many in colour. Very good condition.

    Wilmot, the second Earl Rochester (the first having hidden Charles up the Oak tree) was well favoured by the restored King Charles II. He had an incredible brain, although at Oxford spent the entire time drunk. He entered the King’s Court at an early age after a surprisingly distinguished naval career. His writing of odes and poetry was of the highest standard although cutting; a wit to the extreme. A wit not held back on the King himself who saw Rochester off to the Tower to reflect. Supposed to be the author of the erotic play Sodom, based on the debauch Court of Charles. None of his work was published in his lifetime … he died at an early age from medical complications associated with his wild life.

    Lord Rochester his life was not Monkey Business

    Note, at the time of listing we have a number of Rochester related items including Gilbert Burnet’s biography published in 1680 and the Secret Memoirs of the Duke and Duchess of Orleans published London 1708 … the Duchess of Orleans being Charles II sister with whom, let’s say, Rochester was familiar.


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  • The Life of Captain James Cook – J.C. Beaglehole

    The Life of Captain James Cook – J.C. Beaglehole

    Published by Adam & Charles Black, London 1974 a first of this issue having been previously published by the Hakluyt Society.

    Large “royal” octavo, 760 pages with 4 sketch maps, 1 foldout map, 4 coloured plates and 67 black and white illustrations. Slight sunning of dust jacket spine and hint of foxing as often the case. A very good copy. A heavy book that will require an Overseas postage supplement.

    Many would agree the best authority on James Cook. John Beaglehole wrote the definitive analysis of James Cook’s three monumental voyages published by the Hakluyt Society. Likewise, this book, on the man himself, is a superb digestible (albeit 700+ pages) account and a must for Cook admirers with a thirst for knowledge.

    Best “Cook Book” by far …


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  • Joan Blaeu and his Grand Atlas – C Koeman -1970

    Joan Blaeu and his Grand Atlas – C Koeman -1970

    The publisher the esteemed Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Ltd, Amsterdam had produced an outstanding facsimile of Le Grand Atlas of 1663. This work by distinguished Professor of Cartography at Utrecht, Dr Ir. C. Koeman serves as an excellent introduction the background and making of this never bettered work.

    Octavo, 144 pages plus index. First printing 1970. Nicely illustrated. This is the hardback edition, which seems much more difficult to come by. No jacket as published with a faux vellum covering to the boards illustrated in git and blue. Very good condition.

    Starting with a biography of Joan Blaeu, the printing house and cartographical institute. The origin of the Atlas and its growth … the Atlas Maior; the content of the Grand Atlas and the consequences of the fire of 1672.

    The book to gain an understanding of the Blaeu Grand Atlas


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