First Edition: An Ice Cream War

Published in 1982 by Hamish Hamilton in the UK, An Ice Cream War by William Boyd is a darkly comic novel set in colonial East Africa during the Great War. It is one of the first novels by Boyd which I read, the others being A Good Man in Africa and Stars and Bars. This first edition hardback is signed by the author and selling [at time of going to print] for £175.

William Boyd

[photo: Eamonn McCabe]

William Boyd

It was shortlisted for the 1982 Booker Prize, won that year by Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally, and won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize.

The story
An Ice Cream War follows the fortunes of several disparate characters, including an expat farmer and a young English aristocrat, as they are swept up in the fighting in German East Africa during the First World War, their lives converging amid battle, betrayal, love, comedy and tragedy. Temple Smith is an American expat who runs a successful sisal plantation in East Africa, near Mount Kilimanjaro. Before war breaks out in August 1914, Smith is on cordial terms with his German half-English neighbour, Erich von Bishop. These separate strands gradually converge as the complacency of the artificial world of the British expat is swept away by war. Themes include greed, nationalism, love, and the futility of war.

The current UK edition
The current UK edition [below], published by Penguin, was re-issued in 2011. The images used on the front and back covers are from war footage from the Press Association archive. William BoydOther editions
My copy of An Ice Cream War [below] is well-thumbed, as are all my Boyd novels. William BoydThere have been many editions of this novel, here are some of the other British and US covers.

Read more about William Boyd’s books at his website.

‘An Ice Cream War’ by William Boyd [UK: Penguin] Buy at Amazon

If you like old books, check out these:-
‘The Sea The Sea’ by Iris Murdoch
‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ by John Fowles
‘Watership Down’ by Richard Adams

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
First Edition: AN ICE CREAM WAR by William Boyd #oldbooks via @SandraDanby

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