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

Great Contemporaries

London: Thornton Butterworth Limited, 1937. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is the British first edition, first printing, increasingly elusive thus in the first printing dust jacket. 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 copy is very good plus in a very good dust jacket, housed in a full navy goatskin Solander case. The blue cloth binding remains square, clean, tight, and beautifully bright with sharp corners and bright gilt. The sole detraction is minor surface delamination of the buckram on the upper rear cover, even less noticeable in person than in the images. The contents are bright with a crisp feel and no internal spotting. Differential toning of the endpapers corresponding to the dust jacket flaps confirms that this copy has spent life jacketed. The sole previous ownership mark is an ink-stamped name to the upper front free endpaper recto. The fore and bottom edges are mildly age-toned with just a few, tiny spots. The blue-stained top edge retains uniform, strong color. There were six printings of the first edition between October and December of 1937, but from the second printing on there are differences to the dust jackets, rendering the first printing dust jacket unique. This an impressively complete first printing dust jacket, with an unclipped front flap and only fractional losses at the ends of the hinges and flap folds. The spine is lightly toned and soiled, as are the flap fold edges, and there is modest soiling, the worst being a few stains on the front face around the title and one at the lower center. Nonetheless, this is an impressively complete example of an increasingly elusive 1930s dust jacket. The dust jacket is protected beneath a removable, clear, archival cover. The full navy goatskin clamshell case features rounded and hubbed spine with gilt decorated and gilt-rule framed raised spine bands, gilt spine print, and gilt-ruled borders on the covers. Condition of the case is immaculately fine. 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 provide salutary contrast to 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. Reference: Cohen A105.1.a, Woods/ICS A43(a.1), Langworth p.178. Item #006025

Price: $3,650.00

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