New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1927. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a jacketed U.S. first edition set of the 1916-1918 volumes of The World Crisis, Churchill's acclaimed 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”. The events of these 1916-1918 volumes include Churchill's time at the Front following his political exile and his subsequent return to the Cabinet. The U.S. is the true first edition, as U.S. Volume I publication preceded the British. Jacketed first editions are quite scarce - jacketed U.S. editions even more so.
Charles Scribner's Sons originally issued the 1916-1918 volumes as a two-volume set. This set is very good plus in very good dust jackets. The bindings are extremely clean, marked only by slight dulling to the bottom edges of the spines. The contents are clean and tight with no ownership marks. The untrimmed fore edges show the usual age-toning and the top edge shows some soiling and light spotting. Both dust jackets are unclipped, still bearing the "$10.00 Two Volumes" price on the front flaps. The front and rear faces of the Volume I jacket are clean and complete with just light age toning and minor wear at the corners. The Volume I jacket spine is toned with fractional chipping at the spine head and chipping to a maximum .375 inch depth at the tail. The Volume II dust jacket rear face is clean and complete with just a hint of age toning and minor wear at the corners. The front face of the dust jacket is slightly more toned (likely due to transfer browning from the slipcase in which it was originally issued), bears a few tiny dark spots, and has three .125 inch chips along the top edge (likely where the jacket long ago caught on the aforementioned slipcase). The Volume II jacket spine is toned with a .125 inch loss at the head of the spine, fractional loss at the spine tail, and a .125 inch hole along the lower third of the rear hinge. Of note, the spine losses are small enough that the black rules at the head and tail remain intact. Both dust jackets are fitted with removable, archival quality clear covers.
Published between 1923 and 1931, The World Crisis spans the 1911-1918 war years, with two supplemental volumes covering the postwar years 1918-1928 (The Aftermath) and the Eastern theatre (The Eastern Front). Of The World Crisis, 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 was in a special position to write this history, having served both in the Cabinet and on the Front. Churchill served as First Lord of the Admiralty from 1911 until 1915, but after the failure in the Dardanelles, he was scapegoated and forced to resign. He spent his political exile as a lieutenant colonel leading a battalion in the trenches.
Before the 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 would linger. Churchill may have meant for his history of the First World War to clear his name, but his six-volume masterwork far exceeds this purpose.
Reference: Cohen A69.1(III-1&2).a, Woods/ICS A31(aa), Langworth p.103. Item #002567