London: George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd., 1934. 1st Edition. Hardcover. Here is a jacketed British first edition, first printing of Volume II. Churchill's monumental biography of his great ancestor, John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, was initially conceived a full 40 years before publication of the fourth and final volume. Churchill originally considered the idea of the biography in 1898, returning to it in earnest in 1928. Marlborough ultimately took 10 years of research and writing and is the most substantial published work of Churchill's "wilderness years" in the 1930s. The final volume was published on the eve of the Second World War in 1938. Richard Langworth says "To understand the Churchill of the Second World War, the majestic blending of his commanding English with historical precedent, one has to read Marlborough."
The first edition of Marlborough was originally issued in four volumes between 1933 and 1938. It was very well received - both critically and aesthetically. The first edition is physically impressive, bound in plum cloth with beveled edges, the Marlborough coat of arms in gilt on the front cover, a gilt text block top edge, and a profusion of illustrations, maps, and plans. Unfortunately, the plum cloth binding in volumes I, II, and III proved incredibly susceptible to sun fading (a different, more fade-resistant dye was used in Volume IV). Without the dust jackets, Volumes I-III are nearly always faded and jacketed first editions are now scarce.
Here is a good plus copy of the first British edition, first printing of Volume II in a fair, but correct first printing, dust jacket. During the four years covered by Volume II (1702-1705), Marlborough led England as Captain-General. The volume is a substantial 651 pages with 31 illustrations, 76 maps and plans, and 3 document facsimiles. The volume offered here appears unread. The binding is square and tight with nicely rounded spine, sharp corners, and almost no wear. Notably, the binding retains rich plum color, mildly sunned only at the top .5 inch of the spine and top .125 inch of the covers. Nonetheless, there are also a few, small spots of discoloration at the upper fore edge of the front cover. The contents are crisp, bright, and tight, but do show moderate spotting at the endpapers, prelims, final few index pages, and page edges. The gilt top edge remains bright. A single inked gift inscription on the ffep is dated "Xmas 1934" - the year of publication. The dust jacket is the correct - and increasingly elusive - first printing. This is confirmed by an unclipped front flap that retains the original price with no mention of "2nd Impression". The top inch of the dust jacket spine is missing and there is fractional loss to the lower spine, corners, and front flap fold. The jacket spine is mildly toned and moisture stained to the lower three inches. The dust jacket is protected in a removable, archival quality clear cover.
Reference: Cohen A97.2(II).a, Woods/ICS A40(aa), Langworth p.166. Item #002118