New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1949. First edition, third printing. Hardcover. This is a collector grade copy of the first abridged and revised edition, third and final printing of Churchill's history of the First World War in the dust jacket unique to this printing. Churchill's history - which he titled "The World Crisis" - was originally published between 1923 and 1931. Of The World Crisis, Churchill bibliographer 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. He served as First Lord of the Admiralty from 1911 until 1915. After the failure in the Dardanelles and the slaughter at Gallipoli Churchill was scapegoated and forced to resign. He spent his political exile as a lieutenant colonel leading a battalion in the trenches. Before war's end, Churchill was exonerated and rejoined the Government, but the stigma would linger. Churchill may have meant for his history of the First World War to clear his name, but his masterwork - originally published in six volumes between 1923 and 1931 - far exceeds this purpose.
This important edition covering the war years 1911-1918 is not just an abridgement. It incorporates revisions by Churchill with new material, including a whole new chapter on the Battle of the Marne, as well as a new introduction. The U.S. edition preceded the British, making it the true first edition. There were three printings of the U.S. first abridged and revised edition - 1931, 1942, and 1949. All three are quite scarce in the original dust jackets. Here is the third printing, with a black dust jacket unique to this printing that prominently features a famous wartime photo of Churchill by Yousuf Karsh on the front face. A large book and quality production, it is 866 pages with fold-out maps and illustrations, bound in an attractive, vertically scored red cloth.
This is a beautiful, near fine plus copy in a near fine dust jacket. The red cloth binding is square, tight, and immaculately clean with nicely rounded spine. The only exterior flaws noted are lightly bumped upper corners. The contents are notably bright with no spotting and no previous ownership marks. All fold-out maps and illustrations are present and pristine. We note only a trace of barely discernible soiling to the otherwise bright page edges. The black dust jacket of this edition proved particularly susceptible to wear and scuffing, perhaps owing to the thin paper of the dust jacket (which was printed black on white paper), and the size and weight of the book.
This dust jacket is near fine with perhaps the best spine presentation we’ve seen; the red spine lettering remains vividly bright with no trace of sunning and there is only minor wear to the spine ends and rear hinge. The dust jacket is unclipped, retaining the original front flap price. The illustrated front face shows only light scuffing with no loss. The sole trivial losses are a .5 inch chip to the upper edge of the rear face and a closed tear with some wrinkling and small chip losses to the rear flap fold. Withal, an exceptionally well-preserved example of a striking and notoriously fragile dust jacket. The dust jacket is protected in a removable, archival clear cover.
Reference: Cohen A69.5.c, Woods/ICS A31(ba), Langworth p.114. Item #003497