London: Secker & Warburg, 1954. 1st UK Edition. Octavo, publisher's green cloth, spine stamped in silver, original illustrated dust jacket.
First edition in English of Le Pont de la Rivière Kwaï, Boulle's semi-autobiographical World War II novel, about Allied prisoners-of-war and Southeast Asian conscripts used as slave labor by the Japanese in the construction of the infamous "Death Railway" between Bangkok and Rangoon. Originally published in 1952, the book won France's Prix Sainte-Beuve, became an international bestseller, and was the basis for the epic 1957 film by David Lean, starring William Holden, Alec Guinness and Sessue Hayakawa. The film won seven Academy Awards, including one for Boulle for Best Screenplay. (Boulle had been given sole screenwriting credit, despite not being able to speak English, because Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson, the actual screenwriters, were on the Hollywood blacklist. They were retroactively – and posthumously – awarded Oscars in 1984). Notably, Boulle is also the author of La Planète des Singes, the basis for the Planet of the Apes franchise. English translator Fielding, an agent with the Special Operations Executive during the war, also served in Asia and wrote several books about his travels and wartime experiences. First printing, without endpapers as issued. Moderate foxing to edges and preliminary pages, as typically found in this title. Unclipped dust jacket with small chips to spine-ends and flap folds, light soiling and edgewear. Very good. Scarce. Item #324