London: Macmillan and Company, 1906. First edition, only printing. Hardcover. This is the first edition, only printing of Winston Churchill's biography of his father, Lord Randolph Churchill, a lifelong mated pair bearing Lord Randolph's pasted-in signature. The two-volume work concentrates on Lord Randolph's career in Parliament after 1880. Winston Churchill's father died in January 1895 at age 45 following the spectacular collapse of both his health and political career. His son Winston was 20 years old.
When he first contemplated writing his father's biography Winston Churchill was an itinerant soldier and war correspondent who had yet to write his first book. The son still dwelt very much in his father's shadow, both emotionally and in terms of the political career to which he already aspired. By the time the work was published in 1906, the young Winston Churchill already had half a dozen books to his credit and half a decade in Parliament. By 1906 Churchill had already left his father's political party, prevailed in the same political battle that had terminated his father's career, and was just two years from his first Cabinet post.
Churchill was criticized by some reviewers for overplaying his father's accomplishments. Nonetheless, the work was well received both as a frank portrayal of Randolph's extremes and as a showcase for the son's literary talent. The first edition is aesthetically pleasing, featuring deep red cloth, untrimmed page edges, gilt stamping, and the family coat of arms on the front covers. However, the red cloth binding of this edition proved quite susceptible to fading and wear and the contents to heavy spotting.
This is a reasonably typical set, in good plus overall condition, notable chiefly for better than usual spine color, for being a lifelong matched pair, and for bearing the pasted-in signature of Lord Randolph Churchill. The bindings show overall scuffing and wear to hinges and extremities and are slightly shaken, with cosmetic splits to the front pastedown gutters, but with the mulls beneath still intact. The contents are bright with spotting light for the edition, primarily confined to the untrimmed page edges. The same previous owner name and date is inked on each front pastedown ("Edwin Adams | 20.6.08"). Randolph Churchill's clipped signature is pasted to the Volume I front pastedown. The bindings are protected with removable, archival quality clear mylar covers.
Reference: Cohen A17.1, Woods A8(a), Langworth p.69. Item #003747