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    Montgomery of Alamein Signed Limited Edition Book: Poems from the Desert Verses by Members of the Eighth Army. Foreword by General Sir Bernard Montgomery, K.C.B. D.S.O. (London: George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd., 1944), 46 pages, brown and black leather boards with the Eighth Army insignia in gold and white, octavo (6" x 9"), signed "B.L. Montgomery/General" on verso of the half-title. Painted endpapers. Frontispiece military engraving signed "Stephen Gordon 1944" in pencil. On numbered limitation page: "This Edition is limited to One Hundred and Ten Copies, of which One Hundred Copies are for sale." This copy is identified as "No. 4." Gilt lettering on black spine: "Poems from the Desert." From Montgomery's Foreword: "Twenty-six of the twenty-seven poems which go to the making of this little collection are those which were considered to be the best entries received in a poetry competition organized by Eighth Army's Education Officer. Under the title of 'Piastres for Poets,' the competition was announced in the Christmas 1942 number of the 'Crusader,' Eighth Army's own weekly paper. It was open to all members of the Eighth Army, but only poems actually written in the Western Desert were to be submitted...The twenty-seventh poem has unique history. Written on a scrap of paper, it fluttered into the hands of a soldier sheltering in a slit trench, during the battle of El Agheila..." The poem, nine stanzas of four lines each, author anonymous, begins, "Stay with me, God. The night is dark,/The night is cold: My little spark/Of courage dies. The night is long;/Be with me, God, and make me strong..." General Bernard Law Montgomery took command of the British Eighth Army in the North African campaign on August 13, 1942. The Battle of El Alamein began on October 23, 1942, and ended 12 days later with the first large-scale, decisive allied land victory of the war. Troops under his command were largely responsible for the expulsion of Axis forces from North Africa. Montgomery was then knighted and promoted to full General, and, in 1946, was created 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein. The upper and lower edges of the spine and the top edge of the boards show minor abrasions. A light brown spot is on the glassine sheet separating Gordon's frontispiece engraving from the title page. There was no dust jacket; a small portion of the original glassine wrap is present. One of the rarest editions of all military books in very good condition.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2007
    16th-17th Monday-Tuesday
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