First edition, first printing. Publisher's original black cloth with titles in red to the upper board and spine, in dustwrapper. Illustrated with a black and white frontispiece and eight further full page tissue-guarded airbrush plates by McKnight Kauffer. A very good copy, the binding square and firm with a few minor light marks to the boards and spine and a little rubbing to the extremities. The contents with the bookplate of George S. Leeland to the front pastedown, toning to the endpapers, and a tear to the corner of one tissue guard (which are loose, as usual) are otherwise in very good order and clean throughout. The plates remain fresh and bright. Complete with the original very good dustwrapper which has some minor chipping to the spine ends, some marking to the rear panel, toning to the spine, and a little wear to the extremities. Not price-clipped (12/6 net to the front flap). An unusually good copy.
Frederick Edwin Smith, 1st Earl of Birkenhead, was one of the most outspoken politicians of his age. Later the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, he was a staunch opponent of Irish nationalism and a skilled orator and wit, known for his hard living and drinking. Today he is perhaps best remembered as having been Winston Churchill's greatest personal and political friend until his death at the age of 58 in September 1930. In the present work, Smith presents his speculative vision of the world in 2030, describing the social, political, and technological changes that he imagined would take place over the coming century. He depicts Britain in 2030 as a more rational society, aided by improved education and advances in psychology, where disease had been eradicated and the mechanisation of labour had increased the leisure time of all classes several-fold. He describes a world of new invention, with the replacement of the motor car by the personal aeroplane, the dawn of unmanned tanks in warfare, and the rise of synthetic foods, including lab-grown meat. In the political sphere, he argues that television would make it feasible to revive the direct democracy of the ancient Greek city-states, with the whole population, rather than elected representatives, able to vote on issues. It is also a period of tremendous exploratory endeavour, in which the first preparations for a manned mission to Mars would be under way, and the cutting of a canal from the Mediterranean into North Africa would create a new sea in the Sahara, the shores of which "would rival Florida for fertile charm" and become "a new playground for all Europe". McKnight Kauffer's superb modernist illustrations, showing the influence of futurism, cubism, and vorticism, compliment perfectly Smith's ambitious future-vision. An entertaining utopian work, scarce in the original dustwrapper.
Stock code: 18629