Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2007 Issue

Ethiopia from Michael Graves-Johnston

Ethiopians circa 1900 as illustrated by Lazzaro Pasini.


For a look at mid-19th century Ethiopia, there is Mansfield Parkyns' Life in Abyssinia. Published in 1853, it recounts Parkyns' three years in the country from 1843-1846, providing descriptions of the people, customs, and land. Item 478. £375 (US $747).

For the land's natural history, item 77 is Observations on the Geology and Zoology of Abyssinia, made during the progress of the British Expedition to that country in 1867-68. Published in 1870, W.T Blanford reports their findings in three parts, the first a personal narrative of the expedition, the second covering geology, the third zoology. £650 (US $1,296).

A look at dress and daily life circa 1900 is offered by Italian artist Lazzaro Pasini in Usi e Costumi dell'Abissinia... Twelve chromolithographic illustrations are provided. Item 627. £675 (US $1,345).

Item 663 provides a look at Selassie and Ethiopia just before it was finally overrun: Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia. With a brief account of the history of Ethiopia, including the origins of the present struggle, and a description of the country and its peoples. By the Princess Asfa Yilma of the Royal House of Ethiopia, descended from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. This 1935 biography of Selassie's early years from a supporter of the Emperor and national independence is signed by the Princess. £150 (US $299).

Dark days for Ethiopia are given a positive spin in "Behold Our New Empire" -- Mussolini. This 1939 book was written by Louise Diel, a German propagandist, who extols the subjugation of Ethiopia by their Fascist ally. Item 179. £30 (US $60).

The invaders would get no rest. Item 48 is numbers 20-29 of Banderachin, an Amharic language publication of British Military Intelligence from 1940-41. This weekly paper was dropped by air over Italian held Ethiopia, informing the people of Allied advances and encouraging resistance to the Italian invaders. £250 (US $498).

Item 555 offers a post-War biography of the Emperor, now reestablished on the throne: The Lion of Judah Hath Prevailed: Being the biography of His Majesty Haile Selassie I, by Christine Sandford, published in 1955. Mrs. Sandford's husband had led patriotic forces of Ethiopians during the war. £30 (US $60).

Graves-Johnston offers collections of works pertaining to less happy times in the 1970s and 1980s. Item 211 includes twelve pieces dealing with the revolution of 1974 which overthrew Selassie. £150 (US $299). Item 209 has ten pieces pertaining to the famines. £120 (US $239). Item 208 includes fifteen works covering the conflict with Eritrea. £150 (US $299).

The website for Michael Graves-Johnston of London is www.Graves-Johnston.com, telephone 020-7274-2069.

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