A book that’s a slice of history

One of my schoolmates would always do his best to top any anecdote the rest of the class came up with.
You know the sort. Tell them about bumping into a soap star in the local park and they’ll recount the time they shared a Florida theme park ride with Barack and Michele Obama.
That’s pretty much how I felt after my last blog post, a piece about expensive books which ended with a mention of a volume available on Amazon for £49,000. Within hours, I received an email informing me about a book for sale at £150,000. Yes, that’s right, 15 followed by five zeros.
That’s what it will cost you to lay your hands on a first edition of Crusade in Europe by Dwight Eisenhower, published in 1948.
The sellers, Peter Harrington say it’s the `ultimate Second World War history book’, and one of the most unusual books they have come across.
Anyone with a sense of history would surely find it hard to disagree.
This deluxe limited edition issue of Eisenhower’s war memoirs has been signed by 21 people, each of whom played a significant part in the Second World War.
They include two American presidents (Truman and Eisenhower), two British prime ministers (Churchill and Eden), three U.S. Secretaries of State, a first lady (Mamie Eisenhower), thirteen U.S. generals (one of whom became a president), and British Field Marshal Montgomery.
Accompanying the book, and included with the asking priced is a copy of Eisenhower’s D-Day message to the troops, also signed by Eisenhower.
It doesn’t end there. Also included are 63 letters and telegrams collected by the book’s original owner, John Wesley Pape. Pape wanted to give the book to his son, and spent a decade getting it signed by as many of the leading figures of the war as he could. He kept the correspondence with those signatories, which should make fascinating reading in its own right.
Today’s politicians and senior military figures are shielded from such requests by an army of public relations advisors. It would be pretty much unthinkable that so many people would oblige someone by signing a book in a specific place and returning it by post.
Yet that’s exactly what happened, and despite the fact the book travelled through the post forty time, it is said to be in remarkable condition.
The book and letters are for sale for £150,000 through Peter Harrington.


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