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About this project

TLDR: We are publishing three new novellas from Pulitzer Prize winning writer, David Mamet, in a letterpress-printed and hand-bound edition. Be a part of literary history by supporting the publication of this great work, by this great writer!

In the 1450's, Johannes Gutenberg collected subscribers to publish his Bible, the first edition ever made on a printing press. Some six hundred years later, we are seeking to take Gutenberg's model—printing and binding an edition by hand, and publishing it with the support of everyday subscribers—to print something new.

We have turned to Kickstarter before to help us publish Shakespeare's Sonnets, in an edition with an original introduction by Harvard President Neil Rudenstine, and Sherlock Holmes Hexalogy, the first ever edition to bring together Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's six favorite stories in one volume. And now, we turn to you, to help us publish something new. 

We have teamed up with Pulitzer Prize winning writer David Mamet to publish three original novellas, in a single, beautiful edition called 'THREE WAR STORIES'. Mamet has made these novellas available as 'print on demand' and ebooks, but he has chosen Thornwillow Press for the first edition. To make this happen, we need your help.

We are proud to present 'Three War Stories' by David Mamet—in four magnificent versions.
We are proud to present 'Three War Stories' by David Mamet—in four magnificent versions.

 

Each binding offers something unique - check out the 'THREE BINDINGS' tier to get a copy of each!
Each binding offers something unique - check out the 'THREE BINDINGS' tier to get a copy of each!

 

The paper-wrapper and cloth versions feature a new invention - our letterpress camouflage papers. As far as we've been able to tell, they're a unique feature in the history of fine bookmaking.
The paper-wrapper and cloth versions feature a new invention - our letterpress camouflage papers. As far as we've been able to tell, they're a unique feature in the history of fine bookmaking.

This is an opportunity to be a part of literary history. This isn't a reprint of a classic work, but the first edition of an original work by a classic author. It's an exciting endeavor, and Mamet has written to meet the challenge. Famous for his dialogue, he now brings his mastery of the art to the dialogue of war. His three powerful stories of war are:

  • The Redwing, the story of a naval captain, who becomes a prisoner of war and endures the unimaginable. 
  • Notes on Plain Warfare, a story of preparedness, which teaches us to "save the last bullet for ourselves". 
  • The Handle and The Hold, the story of two former World War II pilots, who, during the Israeli War of Independence, steal a plane.

As a monument to the backers who make this original publication possible, we will be including a Subscriber's List with every copy. This makes your contribution to this literary endeavor clear and enduring, linking your name to the edition as it makes its way into the permanent collections of the world's great libraries. 

This can't happen without you—please consider backing! And even if you can't back the project, please follow our work on Facebook, for beautiful editions and stories from the literary world!

A world-class author . . .

David Mamet is one of the most important writers of our time. His breakout drama Glengarry Glen Ross was celebrated by audiences and at the Tonys alike. He is known by film-lovers as the writer behind The Verdict, The Untouchables, Hannibal, and The Winslow Boy among many others. He has written lines performed by Al Pacino, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner, Sir Anthony Hopkins, and Paul Newman; he has won or been nominated for every major award in the business; and now, he takes his work from the stage and the screen, to the beauty of a handmade edition.

. . . meets a world-class illustrator.

Jackson Robinson is an illustrator of unmatched talent. He is among the most celebrated modern playing card designers, and is a star of the Kickstarter playing card world. He contributed original illustrations, which are interspersed throughout the stories.

What is a 'fine press' book?

Today the written word has become a commodity. Few people have encountered a 'fine edition' book—a book that's truly something to behold! While most books are mass-produced in factories where machines spit out cheaply-made volumes meant to be discarded after a few reads, a 'fine press' book is made by master craftsmen with the finest materials, and with heart.

We start with the layout. While most publishers' first concern is minimizing page count (to reduce printing costs), ours is readability and elegant design. Our books are laid out by our team of master typographers, using specially crafted fonts and centuries-old design techniques based on the golden ratio. We aspire to create an unrivaled reading experience, to enhance the relationship between the reader and the written word. In this digital age when you can turn a book on and off with a switch, we believe that typography and layout matters.

The layout—we design the pages for perfect readability. In laying out this volume, we followed geometrical principles based on the golden ratio, which date back to the earliest days of printing.
The layout—we design the pages for perfect readability. In laying out this volume, we followed geometrical principles based on the golden ratio, which date back to the earliest days of printing.

Then comes the printing. Each page is printed letterpress, a technique dating back to Gutenberg and the first printing presses. The words are literally pressed into the paper on our historic Heidelberg. Reading a letterpress book is an experience like no other: you feel the text as you run your finger across the page. We use only the finest archival ink and heavy stock. While trade paperbacks yellow and wither away, our books will last far longer than we will. For this reason, Thornwillow books are included among many of the world's great archival collections, including the Smithsonian, the Vatican, and the White House, to name only a few.

Master-printer Sergio Salazar running our Heidelberg flatbed cylinder press.
Master-printer Sergio Salazar running our Heidelberg flatbed cylinder press.

And then we bind each volume by hand. The pages are sewn together, and then bound in leather, letterpress paper wrappers, and paste papers, depending on the version. A great deal of time goes into the binding of each book, the quality of which you can feel when you hold one in your hand. If you've never experienced a hand-bound book before, this is an excellent place to start.

Each binding is made by hand. Here the signatures are being sewn and glued together.
Each binding is made by hand. Here the signatures are being sewn and glued together.

Using only the finest materials, and historic techniques. Throughout the entire process, we use only the finest materials, from archival inks and heavy paper stock. The presses and techniques we use are historic. In making books in this way, we continue a great tradition which has been passed down for centuries, and which is at the heart of culture.

A historic Chandler & Price printing press.
A historic Chandler & Price printing press.

An investment that makes an impact.

When you pledge for a Thornwillow volume, you are making an investment. Not only do the books themselves appreciate in value—as recent auctions have shown (see here, here, or here)—but their value to the arts is immeasurable. You are investing in the perpetuation of the arts and crafts of the written word. You are investing in people who are dedicating their lives to making beautiful things that matter. You are investing in the city of Newburgh, NY that is sorely in need of economic revitalization. You are entering into a partnership with the community of ideas.

On numbering.

Each volume is hand-numbered. At the end of the project, we ask our backers to request which number they'd like. While we cannot grant every request, a majority do get the numbers they requested. The number of the book you receive can have great sentimental value (we often have backers requesting #30, say, because it is a gift for their 30th anniversary), and great value for collectors. A very low-numbered copy can fetch nearly twice as much as a high-numbered copy in auctions down the line. To be completely above board: we assign numbers in the order that backers pledge. That means, if you pledge early, you're much more likely to get the number you want than if you pledge late.  

We are offering 'Three War Stories' in four unique bindings: in paper-wrappers, in cloth, in half-leather, and in fourteen unique full-leather copies.

Paper-Wrapper - Starting at $60. Edition size limited to one hundred more than backed.

Our paper-wrapper version is bound in a letterpress cover.
Our paper-wrapper version is bound in a letterpress cover.

Half-Cloth - Starting at $120. Edition size limited to one hundred more than backed.

Prototype. Our half-cloth version is bound in a hardcover black cloth cover with letterpress papers.
Prototype. Our half-cloth version is bound in a hardcover black cloth cover with letterpress papers.

Half-Leather - Starting at $450. Edition size limited to only a hundred copies. Mamet will be signing each half-leather copy.

Prototype. Our half-leather version is bound in brown Morocco leather with handmade pastepaper. It comes in a linen-lined cloth slipcase.
Prototype. Our half-leather version is bound in brown Morocco leather with handmade pastepaper. It comes in a linen-lined cloth slipcase.

Full-Leather - Starting at $1,500. There are fourteen full-leather books in total. See the reward tiers on the right for details. Mamet will be signing each full-leather copy.

Prototypes: design subject to improvements. Our full-leather versions come bound in Morocco leather, each gold tooled or laid with a unique motif from the stories. All come in linen-lined cloth clamshell boxes.
Prototypes: design subject to improvements. Our full-leather versions come bound in Morocco leather, each gold tooled or laid with a unique motif from the stories. All come in linen-lined cloth clamshell boxes.

Past editions—'Shakespeare's Sonnets' and 'Sherlock Holmes Hexalogy' 

We are very proud to have published two fine editions on Kickstarter before, with the help of hundreds of literary devotees. These editions have been distributed to collectors in a dozen countries, to many of the great archival libraries in the world, and now, as a last shot before they're fully subscribed, we're offering them alongside 'Three War Stories'. 

There won't be many more opportunities to get a copies of these past editions!
There won't be many more opportunities to get a copies of these past editions!

To reserve your copy, pledge for the 'Three War Stories & Sonnets / Sherlock' and 'COMPLETE COLLECTOR' tiers. Time is running out!

More about Thornwillow. 

In 1985 Thornwillow was founded by Luke Pontifell, then sixteen, who spent his summer vacations printing and hand binding books. What started as a labor of love has grown into one of the leading purveyors of specialty books and custom stationary in the United States, consolidating centuries of craft and technique under one roof in Newburgh , New York.

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A short film about Thornwillow by our friends at Surrender Pictures.

For more than thirty years Thornwillow has been committed to enhancing the relationship between the reader and the written word. Our paper, printing, binding, and books are meant to be a lasting and powerful method of communicating and preserving ideas in the modern world. Ultimately, what we do is a very simple thing. It's black ink on white paper, and from that very simple combination, one can open up visions of the universe.

Luke Pontifell, publisher of Thornwillow, in his natural habitat—at the factory, working on a new edition.
Luke Pontifell, publisher of Thornwillow, in his natural habitat—at the factory, working on a new edition.

 

Risks and challenges

We have been thrilled to work with the Kickstarter community over the past year to complete ten projects. Each of these has brought its own joys and challenges. Unforeseen challenges may always arise. If so, we will communicate them quickly and fully with our backers.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

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    Paper-Wrapper Binding

    You will receive 'Three War Stories', bound in a paper-wrapper, signed and numbered.

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    Cloth Binding

    You will receive 'Three War Stories', bound in cloth and letterpress cover papers, signed and numbered. Your name will be included on the subscribers list.

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    Cloth Binding & Paper-Wrapper Binding

    You will receive two copies of 'Three War Stories', one bound in cloth and the other bound in a paper-wrapper, both signed and numbered. Your name will be included on the subscribers list.

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    Cloth : Three War Stories & Sonnets

    You will receive 'Three War Stories' and 'The Shakespeare Sonnets' both bound in cloth, signed and numbered. Your name will be included on the subscribers list.

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    • The Shakespeare Sonnets : Cloth Binding
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    Cloth : Three War Stories & Sherlock

    You will receive 'Three War Stories' and 'Sherlock Holmes Hexalogy' both bound in cloth, signed and numbered. Your name will be included on the subscribers list.

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    • Three War Stories : Cloth Binding
    • Sherlock Holmes Hexalogy : Cloth Binding
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    Cloth : COMPLETE COLLECTOR

    Become a complete collector of our recent crowdfunded editions by getting all three! You will receive 'Three War Stories', 'Sherlock Holmes Hexalogy', and 'The Shakespeare Sonnets' all bound in cloth, signed and numbered. Your name will be included on the subscribers list.

    Includes:
    • Three War Stories : Cloth Binding
    • Sherlock Holmes Hexalogy : Cloth Binding
    • The Shakespeare Sonnets : Cloth Binding
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    Half-Leather Binding (Early Bird)

    You will receive 'Three War Stories', bound in Moroccan leather and handmade pastepapers, signed and numbered out of 100. Your name will be included prominently on the subscribers list.

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    • Three War Stories : Half-Leather Binding
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    Half-Leather Binding

    You will receive 'Three War Stories', bound in Moroccan leather and handmade pastepapers, signed and numbered out of 100. Your name will be included prominently on the subscribers list.

    Includes:
    • Three War Stories : Half-Leather Binding
    • Your name included on the subscriber's list.
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    Three War Stories : THREE BINDINGS

    You will receive three copies of 'Three War Stories', bound in half-leather, bound in cloth, and bound in a paper-wrapper. Your name will be included prominently on the subscribers list.

    Includes:
    • Three War Stories : Half-Leather Binding
    • Three War Stories : Cloth Binding
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    Half-Leather : Mamet & Sonnets

    You will receive 'Three War Stories' and 'The Shakespeare Sonnets' both bound in half-leather, signed and numbered. Your name will be prominently included on the subscribers list.

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    • Three War Stories : Half-Leather Binding
    • The Shakespeare Sonnets : Half-Leather Binding
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    Half-Leather : Mamet & Sherlock

    You will receive 'Three War Stories' and 'Sherlock Holmes Hexalogy' both bound in half-leather, signed and numbered. Your name will be prominently included on the subscribers list.

    Includes:
    • Three War Stories : Half-Leather Binding
    • Sherlock Holmes Hexalogy : Half-Leather Binding
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    Half-Leather : COMPLETE COLLECTOR

    Become a complete collector of our recent crowdfunded editions by getting all three! You will receive 'Three War Stories', 'Sherlock Holmes Hexalogy', and 'The Shakespeare Sonnets' all bound in half-leather, signed and numbered. Your name will be included prominently on the subscribers list.

    Includes:
    • Three War Stories : Half-Leather Binding
    • Sherlock Holmes Hexalogy : Half-Leather Binding
    • The Shakespeare Sonnets : Half-Leather Binding
    • Your name included on the subscriber's list.
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    Full-Leather : Dark Green

    This singularly magnificent volume is bound in dark green Morocco full-leather, with soft grey felt paper, and is gold-tooled with an illustration of an Israeli badge from the book. Only three will be made. It includes a complimentary reading copy, bound in a paper-wrapper. Your name will be featured most prominently in our subscribers list.

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    Full-Leather : Brown

    This singularly magnificent volume is bound in Edwardian brown Morocco full-leather, with jute vellum paper, and is gold-tooled with an illustration of a pistol from the book. Only three will be made. It includes a complimentary reading copy, bound in a paper-wrapper. Your name will be featured most prominently in our subscribers list.

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    Full-Leather : Terracotta and Arrowhead

    This singularly magnificent volume is bound in terracotta Morocco full-leather, with jute vellum paper, and is set with a genuine Native American arrowhead. Only three will be made. It includes a complimentary reading copy, bound in a paper-wrapper. Your name will be featured most prominently in our subscribers list.

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    Full-Leather : Dark Blue

    This singularly magnificent volume is bound in dark blue Morocco full-leather, with soft blue wove paper, and is gold-tooled with an illustration of a bomber from the book. Only three will be made. It includes a complimentary reading copy, bound in a paper-wrapper. Your name will be featured most prominently in our subscribers list.

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    Full-Leather : Yellow and B-17 Wings

    This singularly magnificent volume is bound in yellow Morocco full-leather, with soft grey felt paper, and is set with genuine B-17 bomber's wings. Only ONE will be made. It includes a complimentary reading copy, bound in a paper-wrapper. Your name will be featured most prominently in our subscribers list.

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    Full-Leather : Blue and Israeli Coin

    This singularly magnificent volume is bound in vivid blue Morocco full-leather, with soft blue wove paper, and is set with an Israeli coin from the War of Independence. Only ONE will be made. It includes a complimentary reading copy, bound in a paper-wrapper. Your name will be featured most prominently in our subscribers list.

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