London: Cassell and Company Ltd., 1951. First edition, only printing. Hardcover. This jacketed British first edition of the third of Churchill's postwar speech volumes is a pre-publication publisher’s review copy. This particular review copy belonged to The Scotsman, the national newspaper of Scotland. Cassell and Company Limited’s 6.5 x 4.5 inch (16.5 x 11.4 cm) review slip is affixed to the front pastedown. The title, author, price, and “to be published on” date are all typed on the review slip. A circular “THE SCOTSMAN EDINBURGH” ink stamp was applied to the upper right of the review slip, to the pastedown below the review slip, and to the facing front free endpaper recto. Also inked on the front free endpaper recto is “Review in ‘Scotsman’ 10-25-51” and, further below, the word “WITHDRAWN”. We find no other ownership marks.
Condition of this review copy is very good plus in a good dust jacket. The blue cloth binding is square, clean, bright, and tight with sharp corners, vivid spine gilt, and no appreciable wear. The contents are mildly age-toned, but suffer no spotting. The dust jacket is unclipped, retaining the original publisher’s price on the lower front flap. We note wear to extremities, including shallow chips to the spine ends, corners, and top edge of the front panel, as well as some toning and soiling of the white rear panel. The dust jacket is protected in a removable, archival quality clear cover.
In the Balance includes 58 speeches and broadcasts delivered between 26 January 1949 and 14 December 1950. Having done so much to win the war, Churchill faced frustration of his postwar plans when his wartime government fell to Labour in the General Election of July 1945. In the Balance was published on 18 October 1951, just a week before the Conservatives won the General Election, returning Churchill to Downing Street on 26 October 1951 at the age of 76. Befitting a Leader of the Opposition, Churchill's speeches address a wide range of domestic and foreign issues, including devaluation of the British Pound, the General Election of February 1950, the Korean War, and establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
By this time, the political experience that underpinned Churchill's postwar oratory was unrivaled. Member of Parliament for half a century, Churchill was beginning his sixth consecutive decade serving in a British Cabinet. Perhaps nothing better speaks to Churchill's truly singular experience than his 31 March 1949 speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (at pages 40-51), where he gave a tour de force survey of the period 1900-1945 that is - characteristic of Churchill - both incisive and lyrical: "In 1900 a sense of moving hopefully forward to brighter, broader, easier days predominated. Little did we guess that what has been called the Century of the Common Man would witness as its outstanding feature more common men killing each other with greater facilities than any other five centuries put together in the history of the world... but it is not in the power of material forces in any period... to alter the main elements in human nature or restrict the infinite variety of forms in which the soul and genius of the human race can and will express itself."
Reference: Cohen A255.1, Woods/ICS A130(a), Langworth p.301. Item #003760