Great Contemporaries. Winston S. Churchill.
Great Contemporaries
Great Contemporaries
Great Contemporaries
Great Contemporaries
Great Contemporaries
Great Contemporaries

Great Contemporaries

London: Thornton Butterworth Ltd., 1937. First edition, fourth printing. Hardcover. This is a jacketed British first edition, fourth printing. Great Contemporaries is Churchill's much-praised collection of insightful essays about 21 leading personalities of the day - including the likes of Lawrence, Shaw, and, most famously, Hitler. This fourth printing was issued just a month after the first printing and is nearly identical in appearance. Both the binding and dust jacket exterior are identical, differing only in the content of the dust jacket front flap and the notation of previous printings on the copyright page of the book itself. Condition approaches near fine in a very good dust jacket. The blue cloth binding is square, clean, tight, and immaculately bright as only a jacketed copy can be, with sharp corners and vivid gilt print on the covers and spine. The contents are bright with no spotting, retaining strong blue topstain and unusually clean fore and bottom edges, affected by only a few tiny stains and mild age toning. The sole previous ownership marks are an illustrated previous owner bookplate affixed to the front free endpaper and various 2013 dates discreetly inked at the end of a number of the essays, ostensibly indicating when they were read by a former owner. While an annoying bit of gratuitous graffiti, these marks do not substantially detract from an exceptionally clean and well-preserved volume. The dust jacket remains respectably bright, clean, and nearly complete, unclipped with only trivial loss to the spine ends and corners. The front faces are bright and clean, the spine modestly toned with a .75 x .5 inch (1.9 x 1.3 cm) stain just below the title. The dust jacket is protected beneath a removable, clear, archival cover. The character sketches herein offer remarkable portraits of both their subjects and the author. Churchill's piece about Hitler can be a shock to the modern ear, as it underscores his ability to write a balanced appraisal of his subject while expressing his earnest desire to avoid the war that he would fight with such ferocious resolve only a few years later. There is a reason this book is still in print today. It was written with what has been called "penetrating evaluation, humor, and understanding." Churchill's balanced and nuanced perspectives are a good model for many of today's more polemic writers. And naturally, in the course of sketching the character of his contemporaries Churchill necessarily reveals some of his own character and perspective. Churchill's portrait of T.E. Lawrence, published here just a few years before the Second World War, might well have been written about the author rather than by him: "The impression of the personality of Lawrence remains living and vivid upon the minds of his friends, and the sense of his loss is in no way dimmed among his countrymen. All feel the poorer that he has gone from us. In these days dangers and difficulties gather upon Britain and her Empire, and we are also conscious of a lack of outstanding figures with which to overcome them. Here was a man in whom there existed not only an immense capacity for service, but that touch of genius which everyone recognizes and no one can define." (Great Contemporaries, p.164) While some of the subjects of Churchill's sketches have receded into history, many remain well-known and all remain compellingly drawn. This is as engaging a read today as it was in 1937. Bibliographic Reference: Cohen A105.1.e, Woods/ICS A43(a.4), Langworth p.178. Item #005785

Price: $550.00

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