Sunday 25 May 2014

A Double Sided Dust Jacket Mystery

Here's a recent arrival at Withnail Books: a 1945 novel with a great cover design:

It was evidently a 'plucked from the headlines' affair, as the blurb says: "The Coastal Command kept constant watch over the seas around the coasts on the lookout for enemy submarines and aircraft as well as guarding merchant ships carrying food and munitions needed by Britain. The author skillfully portrays the hazards faced by the pilots and gunners on these missions and of the courage, high spirits and resource with which they countered them!"

What caught my eye though, as I took the dust jacket off to cover it with protective film, was that it had something printed on the other side...

I'd first come across a different double sided dust jacket a few weeks ago, and wondered if it was some kind of weird, one-off printing error. Then I realised it was just a wartime rationing/saving measure: take sheets of jackets that have been printed but then for whatever reason not used, and print on the blank side. I planned to blog about it, but Callum James at the excellent Front Free Endpaper, by pure coincidence, beat me to it.

But this copy of Wings Over the Atlantic intrigues me. Most of the (few) jacketed copies on ABE mention that the wrapper is 'recycled', and one listing mentions the title on the other side: Percy Westerman's The Rival Submarine. This copy evidently isn't the same. In fact, I don't think it's reprinted from a dust jacket at all. When I first looked it at, I thought it might be an illustration of a prehistoric stone on a little hill, but then my colleague Other Adam pointed out that it was someone's back:

I think early history is right though: is that a spear head, perhaps? At the top of the image is what looks like a village of huts, a pier, and a chap in boat...

It can't be a dust jacket though, as it's way too big an image. So what was it? A poster, or print? Does anybody recognise it? For now, it's a mystery.

Saturday 17 May 2014

Anyone for Odds Against Norway?

No, this isn't an early guide to next year's Eurovision. An unearthed cache of World War 2-related books has arrived in the Little Shop, mainly ones which were published not long after (or even during) the event itself. There are some cracking covers here, and a couple of scarce titles. Anyone desperately searching for a copy of Odds Against Norway with a dustjacket won't find another one online at the moment...

Sunday 11 May 2014

Really? A Rather Disturbing Victorian Guilt Trip Advert

One of the most popular posts in the history of this blog was a look at a rather disturbing Victorian children's book, so, for fans of rather disturbing Victoriana, here's an advert I found in a little book of recipes for things like jugged hare and stewed eel. The cover is rather sweet and and decorative...

... but flip open the front cover, and the first thing you see is this:

No messing about from Fennings there. Nice of them to point out that their powder is not heroin, too.

I love the language in these old ads. By the time I'd finished reading this one, I really was ready to try their product...

Is it just me, or does 'Italian Warehousemen' sound like a euphemism for something?

Sunday 4 May 2014

Penrith in the Dandy, 1969 (B.A.P. 02)

Back in the late 1960s, The Dandy was already over 30 years old, but still had Korky the Cat on the front page (Desperate Dan didn't make it onto the cover until 1984, amazingly). Back then, a page each week was given over to a feature called 'My Home Town', where a reader nominated their home, and the Dandy team supplied some relevant illustrations and fascinating facts.

In December 1969, issue 1463, thanks to reader Jacqueline Cherry, age 12, of 22 Inglewood Road (who won a £1 postal order!) it was the turn of Penrith.

Here then, for the first time online, is Penrith in the Dandy...