I deeply regret posting news of the death of my fellow bookseller and Churchill specialist Mark Weber on Tuesday, 21 June, from complications related to a stroke.
We shared abiding respect for Churchill and arcane knowledge of Churchill’s life as expressed through the medium of his words. Churchill has always held my admiration for his ability to couple a deeply sensible irreverence and disregard for convention with genuine and humane respect, which he extended as readily to competitors as to friends.
Mark would not have called me a friend and it would be disrespectful for me to pretend otherwise. Nonetheless, I spent so much time over the years poring (often enviously) over Mark’s inventory and catalogues that I feel I must have known him better than many better acquaintances. And of course we corresponded as colleagues and fellow specialists.
When you occupy the same commercial ground, you sometimes step on one another’s toes. But you can’t effectively curse someone who shares the same first name as you, and I appreciated what he did. Mark was a resourceful and enterprising bookseller for a long time before me. Mark knew his stock well, and he knew our specialty as well as anyone.
With Mark’s passing I lose one of the few people on Earth with whom I shared this particular bibliophilic obsession with Churchill’s life and words.
I will miss our rivalry. I will miss the conversations we did have about the Churchill canon. Most, I will miss the conversations we will not have.
Cheers, Mark! May there be no shortage of books, bibliophiles, and Churchillian wit and mirth where you have gone.