New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1927. First U.S. edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a superior, 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 in excellent condition, near fine in near fine dust jackets. The maroon, ribbed cloth bindings are simply immaculate as only jacketed copies can be - vividly bright, perfectly square, and showing no discernible wear. The contents remain crisp and bright and feel unread, with no previous ownership marks and no age-toning. The sole minor detraction that prevents our grading the volumes as truly fine is modest spotting to the page edges, mostly confined to the top edges. The dust jackets are entirely complete, with no losses or tears and retaining the original "$10.00 | Two Volumes" front flap prices. The jackets show light soiling, and even toning to the spines. Both dust jackets are protected 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 #003021