London: Smith, Elder, & Co.,, 1900. Item #05014
"His Descriptions of the Various Engagements are Masterpieces of Graphic Writing"
DOYLE, Arthur Conan. The Great Boer War… With Maps. London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1900.
First English edition. Octavo (8 x 5 1/4 inches; 204 x 133 mm.). x, 552, [12, publishers catalog] pp. With five colored folding maps.
Publisher's dark blue ribbed cloth, covers ruled in blind, spine lettered in gilt, black coated endpapers. Spine very slightly faded, large rectangular bookplate on front blank, otherwise a fine copy.
5,000 copies were published on 23rd October 1900 priced 7/6.
The Great Boer War is a non-fiction work on the Boer War by Arthur Conan Doyle, first published in October 1900 by Smith, Elder & Co. By the end of the war in 1902 the book had been published in sixteen editions, constantly revised by Doyle. The Introduction describes the book as a very thorough account, including tables at the end of those killed or wounded up until the 8th September when he left South Africa. This account is compiled with as much accuracy as was attainable at this date, and with as much detail as a single volume will permit. In frequent conversations with Boers, Conan Doyle has endeavored to get their views upon both political and military questions. Often the only documents he had to consult were the convalescent officers and men under his care, therefore some errors may have crept in. The closing scenes of the Boer War have necessarily been treated with less detail than the earlier. The book was completed in September 1900, at a time when the British believed that the war was over. However, the war continued until 1902.
Arthur Conan Doyle made his reputation as a novelist, but far stranger than fiction is the creator of Sherlock Holmes' tale of the Boer War in South Africa. The then forty year-old novelist wanted to see the war first hand as a soldier, but the Victorian army balked at having a popular author wielding a pen in its ranks. The army did accept him as a doctor and Doyle was knighted in 1902 for his work with a field hospital in Bloemfontein. Doyle's vivid account of the battles is in part thanks to the eye-witness accounts he got from his patients. Doyle has thoroughly mastered the details of the campaign, and presents them in a form that can be easily understood. Furthermore, his descriptions of the various engagements are masterpieces of graphic writing.
Green and Gibson B1a.