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Middle East

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  • Seven Pillars of Wisdom – T.E. Lawrence of Arabia – First Trade Edition 1935

    Published by Jonathan Cape London 1935 – Seven Pillars of Wisdom a Triumph – “The Sword also means Clean-ness + Death”.

    First trade edition second impression same month as the July first impression. The Trade Edition preceded by the incomplete “Oxford” edition of 1922 (8 copies only were printed) and the very rare privately printed “Subscribers Edition” of 1927 (170 copies).

    Thick quarto, 672 pages. Frontispiece portrait of a bust of Lawrence, 4 folding maps as called for, 2 facsimiles and a total of 54 illustrations – 46 of which are dramatic portraits of men who appear in the book. Previous owners bookplate on paste down, a very good copy.

    Lawrence “took pains to bring objects and artists together”. A classic book written by Lawrence after a very successful war leading the Arabs against the Turks, considered one of the most important books on war especially political and guerrilla warfare. Churchill called it “One of the greatest books ever written in the English language”

    Lawrence of Arabia’s great book


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  • Minorities – T. E. Lawrence [of Arabia] his favourite poems – First Edition 1971

    Published by Jonathan Cape, London in 1971. Octavo, 272 pages, photographic frontispiece, biographical introduction by J.M. Wilson, preface by C Day Lewis. Light edge wear, previous ownership name at front, a very good copy.

    Lawrence encouraged by his travels kept a notebook of “good poems by small poets and small poems by good poets”. Another insight into the special mind that was Lawrence. The book contains reproductions of some of his own manuscript copies in which he sometimes could not resist improvement or correction of grammar.

    Not particularly minor really – Lawrence of Arabia’s personal anthology in print.



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  • Revolt in The Desert -T.E. Lawrence – 1927 Pre dates general issue of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom

    Revolt in The Desert -T.E. Lawrence – 1927 Pre dates general issue of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom

    Published in London by Jonathan Cape a fifth impression of the first edition published in May 1927, first impression March that year. Bound in original sienna-brown cloth with gilt lettering. Royal 8vo, pp. 446. Good condition without dust jacket. Pages very clean good likewise map at rear, front hinge tender, otherwise a solid book. Heavy so not suitable for Overseas mailing at this price.

    Revolt in the Desert is an abridgement of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. It was the only version available to the general public until the 1935 edition of The Seven Pillars was issued for general circulation. The book was an instant success. This is fifth printing of the first trade edition after the limited edition published in May 1927 (the first four impressions all being issued in March 1927). The whole illustrated by 16 plates and a good folding map.

    Out of interest – the costs for production of the 1926 private edition of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom had ballooned to such an extent that Lawrence was contemplating selling either his library or some of his property to clear the debt. Eventually he settled on this abridgement, undertaken in 1926 by Lawrence with the help of fellow servicemen, an earlier attempt by Edward Garnett having been set aside. The profits from this publication made the fortunes of the Cape publishing house.

    Lawrence of Arabia – Revolt in The Desert


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  • Smelling the Breezes – A Journey Through the High Lebanon – R and M Izzard

    Smelling the Breezes – A Journey Through the High Lebanon – R and M Izzard

    Published by the Travel Book Club, a Foyles invention in conjunction with Hodder, London in 1959. A first edition.

    Octavo, 253 pages with a few illustrations from photographs. A very good clean copy.

    The authors, the Izzards were an adventurous lot, tramping 300 miles through the high country behind and down from the Lebanon. A really interesting account of an area rarely tackled with such attention to detail and respect for the people, environment, history etc.

    The Lebanon and up at the back in the High Country.


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  • A Levantine Log-book – J. A. Hart – First Edition 1906 [Fine Example]

    A Levantine Log-book – J. A. Hart – First Edition 1906 [Fine Example]

    First edition of this interesting travel account published by Longmans Green, New York in 1906.

    Gifted by J M Gray on March 13, 1906 in fine writing on paste down … almost exactly one month before the great San Francisco earthquake.

    Octavo, 404 pages with 50 plates from photographs. Nice embossed decoration to front covers. Top edge gilt. A fine copy … really super good.

    Jerome Alfred Hart (1854-1937) was from California and was a noted traveller and author who also acted as Editor of the San Francisco Argonaut.

    Here he travels in the Levante to Turkey, Palestine [of the day] and Egypt as well as fitting in Malta and Naples where he visits Pompeii. A sound narrative with some good detail and well chosen illustrations.

    Hart writes about the Levante as it was …


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  • Vickers Mk1 303 M.G. [Machine Gun] Slide Rule Manufactured by W.H.H. for the Australian Forces – WWII

    Vickers Mk1 303 M.G. [Machine Gun] Slide Rule Manufactured by W.H.H. for the Australian Forces – WWII

    A fine example of the Vickers slide rule for the 303 (7.7mm) Machine Gun … perhaps the best machine gun of the 20thC.

    The Vickers 303 MG was based on the earlier MAXIM Gun after Vickers purchased the manufacturer in 1898. The Vickers 303 was used from WWI up until 1968 … it played its biggest part in WWII. It was capable of 10,000 rounds per hour and incredibly robust and reliable. Well like by Australian and New Zealand gunners. Required a team of five or six to operate … it was rather heavy, with a heavy tripod, water cooler and condenser and one can only imagine the weight of ammunition at the rate of firing. It was often used for “indirect firing” at up to 4 kms i.e., when the target could not necessarily be seen, and the trajectory must be calculated – hence the development of the sophisticated slide rule.

    This Australian variant of the Mark I is an adaptation of the Mark III that was manufactured in metal following a request from the 2/2nd (Australian) Machine Gun Battalion as the found the then wooden Mark III unsuitable for jungle warfare. The Vickers historical website references and Australian War Diary …

    “RULES, SLIDE: Probably one of the most useful items of equipment held by Machine Gunners is the Slide Rule. The present issue Rule, slide MG Mk III – 303 VMG for Mark VII amn is quite unserviceable, being made of cane and glued at the joins. The cane swells in the moist climate, the slides will not run freely, the glue gives way at the joins – and the whole thing falls to pieces. Should any of these things fail to happen, the white ants make sure that the Rule is u/s. So that throughout all the recent ops we have been denied the use of this most useful instrument. The Mk IV slide rule, designed for use with Mk V IIIz amn, is of metal construction throughout, and is most efficient. Were it possible to have a similar Rule, suitable for use with Mk VII amn, it would be of great assistance.

    15cm by 8cm by 1cm with two independent reversible sides for calculating range, drop, dispersion etc. Moves freely, excellent condition.

    The 2/2nd (Australian) Machine Gun Battalion was formed in 1940 and went to the Middle east and then fought at the Battle of Alamein. By 1943 they were required back in Australia to oppose the Japanese – they fought at Milne Bay and then later in Borneo. The equatorial conditions encountered gave rise to the above report and the re-development of this Slide Rule.

    See example in the VMGCRA collection … similarly manufactured by W.H.H. the struggle to find any further references to this maker.

    Unusual military slide rule … of some complexity and Australian relevance regarding its construction and manufacture


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