Crime Fiction - Holmes's first adventure, A Study in Scarlet, was published in the 28th Beeton's Christmas Annual in 1887. Copies of this represent one of the most coveted prizes for any book collector. Holmes was a success all over the world. New novels and stories appeared on and off in book and magazine form for 30 years, and helped to inspire very different traditions in Britain and the USA.


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Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine > Books & Manuscripts > Militaria > Military History Book Store > Collecting military books

The Cold War betwen the United States & the USSR

Osama bin Laden

Tom Clancy - Airborne, Submarine, Marine, Fighter Wing, US Cav

Missile Crisis in Cuba - President John F. Kennedy - Bay of Pigs

Colonel Oliver North - Iran-Contra Affair

Colonel Gaddafi - Libya's Leader

Joseph McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover

IRA - The Irish Republican Army and Sinn Fein

Persian Gulf War - General's Debrief

Hermann Goering - World War Two Nazi General

Communist Manifesto - Das Kapital - Lenin's Writings - Quotations of Chairman Mao TseTung

Chairman Mao Tse Tung - Chinese Tsetung

Ho Chi Minh - Chi Ming - leader of the North Vietnamese communists

Napoleon Bonaparte - The Man, His Tactics

Saddam Hussein - Iraq Iraqi Leader who invaded Kuwait, sparking the Gulf War

Scouting for Boys - Boy Scouts of America - Robert Baden-Powell and the siege of Mafeking

Niccolo Machiavelli - The Prince - The Art of War - Machievelli

US Navy Seals - Spec Ops - Special Operations

West Point & US Air Force Academy military book cadet reading list

West Point Academy - US Military Academy - The West Point Way of Leadership



Collecting military and spy books


 The would-be military collector has a wonderful variety of sources, including jumble sales, boot fairs, flea markets, second hand booksellers and charity shops to try. If you're more interested in the prey than the thrill of the chase, you'll need to contact some dealers, the majority of whom run mail-order businesses. Most accept wants lists, and some specialize in finding difficult volumes.

 The great majority of people who collect 20th-century military books are only really interested in first edition hardbacks, preferably with their paper dust wrappers intact. In militaria, though, this isn't always possible.


 Almost always, it is an author's earliest works that are the most expensive to obtain. The first print run of a young, untried writer will be, at most, a few thousand copies. Maybe half are sold to libraries (library copies, invariably marked and worn, are usually disdained by collectors), while, in time, the majority of the remainder will lose their dust wrappers, get defaced, stained, creased or otherwise damaged, or simply be thrown away. Often, less than 100 copies survive this process in anything like fine condition, and, as a result, most serious collectors will drop their standards a little - or even a lot - to get their hands on a copy of a rare title.

 Books should always be stored upright on shelves. Don't pack them in so tightly that it's difficult to replace a book without damaging it, nor so loose that they lie at a slant. Take a book out by pushing in the ones alongside and gripping it by the middle, not top of the spine.

 Damp, heat and light are all enemies of books. Some serious collectors keep them in the deep-freeze! Keep your books well away from radiators and windows - sunlight can fade the spine of a book remarkably quickly. Books also need some circulating air to keep them in good condition, so glass-fronted bookcases are best avoided.

 However, don't buy books just to put them on shelves. They are for reading as well as collecting. Choose a few authors you like and concentrate on collecting all their works. If you're looking for an investment, either buy currently unfashionable authors with a good track record, or new works by good young authors, and wait.

 A special form of military history, the spy thriller, was a creation of the cold war. There are two traditions. The fantasy spy novel, whose heroes function like more glamorous versions of the private eye, is typified by the James Bond novels of Ian Fleming.

 Other writers, such as John le Carre, Len Deighton, and Tom Clancy are more realistic, combining whodunit plot-lines with fascinating details of the rather seedy lives of espionage agents.

 Hard-bitten private eyes and forensic geniuses; courtroom dramas and tense psychological battles; action thrillers and tantalizing logical puzzles; crime fiction has a lot to offer the reader. Making a collection of modern first editions is doubly rewarding, as you add the thrill of hunting down rare volumes to the sheer pleasure ofa good read.