Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2008 Issue

Signed Items, First Editions and More from Waverly Books

Waverly152

The latest catalogue from Waverly Books, in time for the San Francisco Book Fair.


By Michael Stillman

We have just received List 152 from Waverly Books, published in time for the San Francisco Antiquarian Book Fair February 9 and 10. It covers 156 varied items, from literary firsts to film, music and art related, to numerous other subjects. Since it is hard to describe the collection, we will just give you a few samples.

Item, 82 is an important book for those who collect in the spy/mystery genre. It is the first American edition of John Le Carre's first work, Call For The Dead. This work introduced Le Carre's most famous character, British agent George Smiley. This 1962 book was adapted into the film "The Deadly Affair" in 1966, a year after Le Carre's third book, "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold," made him an enormously popular writer. Priced at $2,750.

Item 16 is an inscribed first edition by a man who will always be known as the second edition, so to speak. Buzz Aldrin was the almost first man to walk on the moon. He piloted the lunar landing module and stepped onto the moon before anyone else in the history of mankind, except Neil Armstrong. Armstrong, the commander, was chosen to take that first great leap for mankind. A few minutes later, Aldrin followed his commander down the steps, and the two sojourned the moon's surface for a couple hours. Aldrin's book (coauthored with Wayne Warga) is Return to Earth, published in 1973. Priced at $250.

If Aldrin's status is akin to a second edition, what about poor Michael Collins? Most readers are probably saying, "Michael who?" While Armstrong and Aldrin were wandering around the moon, gaining the glory, someone had to remain on board the Apollo 11 craft, to be sure it would be there waiting when they returned. That man was Michael Collins. His book, published in 1988, is Liftoff. The Story of America's Adventure in Space. This copy is inscribed. Item 17. $275.

As long as we're studying aeronautics, here is a very different sort: Walk This Way: The Autobiography of Aerosmith. As their name implies, Aerosmith did a lot of high flying, but figuratively instead of literally. The band members dealt with years of drug problems, particularly in the years between their first successful career of the 1970s, and the second which began in the late 1980s. For five years, the band split up and its members dealt with numerous personal issues, but they managed to pull themselves away from the abyss to emerge more successful than ever. Item 123 is a 1997 first edition signed by all of the members of the band. $350.

Item 37 is a letter from one of America's most notable union organizers and a hero of the Latin American community to Buzz Aldrin's coauthor. Cesar Chavez organized the mainly Hispanic farm laborers of California as President of the United Farm Workers, winning for them greatly improved conditions. His most notable triumph came after a long-running national boycott of grapes he promoted forced the growers to sign a new contract with the workers. As to why Chavez was writing Aldrin's coauthor Wayne Warga, Warga was also a journalist who covered events such as Chavez's boycotts. Chavez evidently appreciated Warga's articles and was happy to meet up with him again at a tribute to Carey McWilliams, another journalist who had for many years championed the interests of the least fortunate among us. On January 31, 1979, Chavez wrote Warga, "Pleasure seeing you again after all these years at the Carey McWilliams tribute on January 28. Our Meeting brought back many old and good memories of times long since past." $575.

Waverly Books may be found online at www.waverlybooks.com, telephone 310-393-4593. You may visit them at the San Francisco Antiquarian Book, Print and Paper Fair, February 9 and 10, booth 517.

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