Donkey Boy

Hardback, Macdonald, 1952. Not the first edition, despite the date in the book. The publisher reissued it using spare first edition sheets, giving it a different binding (red instead of the original green) and a newly-designed dust wrapper. The year of issue was probably 1970, as the new dust wrapper bears an ISBN and these were introduced in the UK in that year.

Book condition: a very nice copy, with dust wrapper.

Price: £10.00


Volume 2 in the 15-volume A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight series.


The publisher's blurb for the first edition (1952) states: 'This is the story of a London boy from the period of just before the Boer War to the first few years of Edward the Seventh's reign. The boy, whose early life was saved by ass's milk, gets the nickname of Donkey Boy. He is a wild, naughty, romantic little creature, and most of his doings and escapades are seen through the eyes of his parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents, whose stories are woven into his development. He is a child of his age, of his human connexions. The scenes are varied and rich with authentic life of the period: Derby Day at Epsom, early motoring into Kent, big box-kite flying on the hill near the Crystal Palace, Mafeking Day, etc. It is an unusual family, that of the Maddisons, still overshadowed by the dissipations of a grandfather, a country squire whose extravagances in the past are considered to have ruined the family, so that now they are neither one thing nor the other, living in a part of Kent which has been swallowed up by the County of London.


'Phillip Maddison, the "donkey boy", is the cousin of Willie Maddison, of the well-known series of novels – The Beautiful Years, Dandelion Days etc. – which comprise The Flax of Dream; and the publishers believe that this new novel will appeal to all readers of that famous book, for Mr Williamson's insight here is mature and balanced, and his sympathy extended to all human beings unexceptionably.'


(For a further consideration of the book and the background to the writing of it, see Anne Williamson's Donkey Boy.)