I'm not going to attempt to biograph the man nor comment in sage detail upon his works because James Bridle did the world a great service in 2008 by putting up what ought to be a model for author fan sites at jocelynbrooke.com: simple, judiciously edited and absorbing, there is plenty of biographical and bibliographical information there as well as links to some excellent articles on Brooke's writing.
I have found though, in my life of book collecting that it can sometimes be useful to actually see the covers of the books I'm looking for, and to have a sense of each book and so, with no pretensions to completeness nor to great insight, this post is a short, illustrated meander through some of Brooke's first editions. The illustrations are all from copies in my stock.
The Military Orchid Trilogy
A biographical trilogy which was re-issued in one volume in 1981 under the title The Military Orchid in both hardback (Secker & Warburg) and paperback (Penguin). A cracking introduction to the trilogy as a whole can be found on the Jocelyn Brooke website.
Brooke was a respected amateur botanist with a deep expertise in British orchids. He wrote a number of academic papers on botany but his two most accessible books are:
The Wild Orchids of Britain. The Bodley Head, London, 1950. Red buckram. In an edition of 1,140 numbered copies of which forty were specially bound. The book, large though it is, does have a dustjacket but my copy does not. There are forty coloured plates at the read of the book each illustrating a different species, they were originally done by Gavin Bone who was at school with Brooke and, as he says in the forward, the first germ of this book was alive in the 1920s during his school career. The paintings have been given some attention and added to by Gavin Bone's brother and father, Stephen and Muirhead. I haven't yet worked out which was which.
The Flower in Season. The Bodley Head, London, 1952. Blue cloth. Illustrated by Charles W. Stewart. This book is a calendar of British flora: one month per chapter.