New York: Henry Holt and Company, c. 1944. Book of the Month Club Edition. Hardcover. Octavo size, 480 pp., signed by Ernie Pyle. Near fine / good +. Item #33330808
While any war is a terrible thing, often at such times heroism shines through - such was the case with Ernie Pyle.
Ernest Taylor Pyle (1900-1945) covered WWII often telling stories about "ordinary American soldiers". Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1944, he was killed by enemy fire during the Battle of Okinawa on April 18, 1945.
This volume with an interesting association: mounted onto the front free endpaper is a vintage sheet of paper, from the prescription pad of a doctor from Sonoma, California, Carroll B. Andrews. Ernie Pyle signed this paper in ink in the middle of the sheet; at the bottom, presumably written by Dr. Andrews, is the date "1-11-45" - just three months prior to Pyle's death. Beneath the date is written "Palace Hotel, S.F., Cal." where the two men presumably met. In addition, laid into the middle of the book is a newspaper clipping titled "Ernie Pyle's Last Column"; written just a few days prior to Pyle's death, it is Pyle's tribute to a friend who had died a short time ago.
Dr. Carroll Andrews is well-remembered in Sonoma; in an article published on August 12, 2021 (found on the web site of the Sonoma Index-Tribune) Dr. Andrew's contributions to the community are enumerated. Dr. Andrews came to Sonoma in 1933 when the only hospital was an a "tiny barn of a hospital" - literally having been converted from an actual barn on a local farm. It was largely through his efforts that two subsequent hospitals were built, in addition to founding the Boys & Girls Club and donating the community center.
Both Pyle and Andrews were heroes, each in his own way. It is a wonderful thing that they were able to meet, however, briefly, on that January day in 1945; a meeting likely remembered by Dr. Andrews for the remainder of his life, bourne out by the clipping of Pyle's "Last Column" which has lain inside the book for these many decades.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in full light brown cloth over boards, brown lettering and decorations stamped onto the spine, Ernie Pyle's signature on a small prescription sheet mounted onto the front free endpaper as described above, a wreath of laurel and oak leaves surrounding the title on the title page, note that the volume is likely a Book Club Edition (lacking the "First Printing" statement on the copyright page, with a small four-page pamphlet loosely inserted "Reprinted from the November Book-of-the-Month Club News...."); octavo size (8 9/16" by 5 3/4"), pagination: [i-vi] 1-474. Loosely inserted are (1) the pamphlet mentioned, a single sheet folded once to four pages, reproduction of a drawing of Pyle on the front, lettering in blue and black on the first page, the first three pages with a review of the book by Henry Seidel Canby; and (2) the newspaper clipping mentioned. The dust jacket with a reproduction of a photograph of Pyle on the front beneath which is a depiction of a line of soldiers marching, lettering in black, white, and yellow, author bio by Time Magazine on the back panel, summary of book on both flaps, short review blurbs on the back flap, all four corners clipped by the publisher with the price of $3.00 remaining at the top of the front flap.
___CONDITION: Volume near fine, with clean boards, straight corners with minimal rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, and other than Dr. Andrew's sheet mounted on the FFEP entirely free of prior owner markings; some light bumping to the head and tail of the spine and toning from the newspaper clipping to pp. 138-139. Pamphlet near fine, clean with very minor wear, the newspaper clipping very good, clean, now toned. Dust jacket a bit better than good with all component parts present; the bottom 3.75" where the front panel meets the spine split, some chips at the head and tail of the spine (no loss of text), sunning to the spine, light overall soiling.
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