London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1976. First edition. Hardcover. This is the British first edition, first printing of the fifth volume of the Official Biography of Winston S. Churchill. This fifth volume covers the period 1922-1939, spanning events such as Churchill's purchase of his beloved country home Chartwell, the end of his Parliamentary career as a Liberal, and his return to the Conservatives. This volume includes highs such as the latter half of the 1920s which Churchill spent as the powerful Chancellor of the Exchequer, and lows such as the wilderness years of the 1930s, which Churchill spent out of power and out of favor, persistently warning about the growing Nazi threat and routinely at odds with both his own Conservative Party leadership and prevailing public sentiment.
Condition is very good plus in a very good plus dust jacket. The red cloth binding remains square, clean, and tight with sharp corners and bright spine gilt. Trivial shelf wear to the bottom edge and a trace of mottling to the lower rear corner are the only tiny flaws noted. The contents are bright with no previous ownership marks and no spotting. The red stained top edge is lightly sunned to dark pink, but nonetheless retains respectable color. The British first edition dust jacket proved highly susceptible to sunning to a green color. This jacket is clean and complete with no loss, tears, or even appreciable wear to extremities. The jacket spine has sunned to dark green, but uniformly so and remains quite presentable nonetheless. The lower front flap of the first edition dust jacket originally featured two prices, an introductory price “until February 28th, 1977” with a higher price above. Both original prices remain intact. The dust jacket is protected with a removable, clear, archival cover.
The Official Biography was begun by Winston’s son, Randolph Churchill (1911-1968), and completed by Sir Martin Gilbert (1936-2015). In 1962, at the age of 25, Martin Gilbert joined Churchill's biography team, then led by Churchill's son Randolph. Of what became his life's work, Gilbert says: "I'd thought I'd last four or five months." Instead, when Randolph died in 1968 with only two of the eight volumes completed, Gilbert took over, committing the substantial portion of his scholarship and life's work to documenting, comprehending, and communicating what Gilbert called the "remarkable and versatile life" of Winston Churchill. The result is an epic piece of scholarship about a singularly epic life. The British first editions of the eight main text volumes were originally published between 1966 and 1988. These substantial volumes comprise the narrative story of Churchill’s life.
Reference: Zoller A301e. Item #003179