Yesterday, on the advice of my good friends David Smith and Helen Murphy, I picked up a small, yet perfectly preserved paperback Guidebook of Egypt from Reids of Liverpool Bookstore, entitled "The Latest Pocket Guidebook to Luxor & Environments, Including also Tutankhamun", for the princely sum of £8 [Apologies for the quality of the images, I didn't use a flash].
It was written by N. F. Mansfield-Meade, an English resident of Luxor, who describes the volume as "Historically Accurate, Beautifully Illustrated, Lucid & Interesting". This is the 1945 (5th) Edition, but the 1st Edition was written in 1926; four years after Howard Carter's discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun.
The book itself of course is a treat: there is a pull-out map of Karnak Temple, and images of sites dating to the 1920's which are archival records in themselves; the quiet image of the Giza Pyramids and Sphinx a stark contrast to the modern-day visitor experience of the Giza Plateau.
However, it is not just the book which interested me. This guidebook was evidently used by a certain British Serviceman in Egypt post-1945: a black-and-white photograph of a saluting patrol was tucked in the back, together with a leaflet for the YMCA Club and Hostel, Ismailia, "Open to all Services and Services Families". I'm not entirely sure who this book belonged to (though I will be pursuing this further), but nevertheless I'm delighted to be the new owner of this little piece of history.