The World Crisis 1911-1918, complete in four volumes. Winston S. Churchill.
The World Crisis 1911-1918, complete in four volumes
The World Crisis 1911-1918, complete in four volumes
The World Crisis 1911-1918, complete in four volumes
The World Crisis 1911-1918, complete in four volumes

The World Crisis 1911-1918, complete in four volumes

London: Odhams Press Limited, 1949. Hardcover. This is a lovely, improbably bright jacketed set of the elusive Odhams four-volume edition of Churchill's monumental history of The First World War. A quarter of a century before the Second World War endowed him with lasting fame, Winston Churchill played a uniquely critical, controversial, and varied role in the “War to end all wars”. Then, being Churchill, he wrote about it. The World Crisis was originally published in six volumes between 1923 and 1931, with the first four volumes spanning the war years 1911-1918 and the final two volumes covering the postwar years 1918-1928 (The Aftermath) and the Eastern theatre (The Eastern Front). In 1939, Odhams Press Limited issued a two-volume edition of the first four (1911-1918) volumes, including Churchill's revisions and new material from the 1931 abridgement. A decade later, after the Second World War, in 1949 Odhams reset the (revised and unabridged) text of the 1939 edition into 4 thinner volumes. Both the bindings and dust jackets of this elusive four volume edition proved exceptionally fragile, the pink and pale yellow jackets virtually always sunned, the red bindings frequently faded or mildewed or both. Here is a rarity, a full, four-volume set featuring very good plus or better, extraordinarily bright dust jackets and near fine volumes. The pink and pale yellow jackets are not only clean and complete, but appear entirely unfaded, with no color shift to the notoriously perishable pink dye of the spines. We note only light wear to hinges and extremities and a few closed tears, the longest a 1.5 inch (3.8 cm) tear to the Vol. III upper front face. The dust jackets are now protected beneath removable, clear, archival covers. The red cloth bindings beneath are beautifully bright and clean, with sharp corners, vivid gilt, and only trivial shelf wear to extremities. The contents are crisp and clean with no previous ownership marks. The books feel unread. The sole flaw is spotting, primarily confined to the otherwise clean page edges. Churchill was in a special position to write the history of the First World War, which nearly cost him both his political career and his corporeal life and in which he played such a critical, controversial, and varied role. First Lord of the Admiralty from 1911 until 1915, after the Dardanelles disaster, Churchill was scapegoated and forced to resign. He spent political exile as a lieutenant colonel leading a battalion in the trenches. Before war's end, Churchill was exonerated and rejoined the Government, foreshadowing the political isolation and restoration he would experience nearly two decades later leading up to the Second World War. Despite Churchill's political recovery, the stigma of the Dardanelles lingered. Hence Churchill had more than just literary and financial compulsion to write his history. Churchill titled his history The World Crisis, and publication of the six volumes spanned the better part of a decade. Frederick Woods wrote: "The volumes contain some of Churchill's finest writing, weaving the many threads together with majestic ease, describing the massive battles in terms which fitly combine relish of the literary challenge with an awareness of the sombre tragedy of the events." Churchill may have meant for his history of the First World War to clear his name, but his history, like so much of his writing, has enduring worth and purpose. Bibliographic reference: Cohen A69.15, Woods/ICS A31(j), Langworth p.123. Item #005806

Price: $450.00

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