New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1930. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a beautifully clean and bright U.S. first edition, first printing, in dust jacket. Published in England as My Early Life, this is one of the few Churchill first editions for which the U.S. edition bears a different title than the British. Churchill's extremely popular autobiography covers the years from his birth in 1874 to his first few years in Parliament. One can hardly ask for more adventurous content. These were momentous and formative years for Churchill, including his time as a war correspondent and cavalry officer in theatres as varied as Cuba, northwest India, and sub-Saharan and southern Africa.
This time contained a wide range of experiences in Churchill’s life. Not only was he developing as an author, publishing his first books, and making his first lecture tour of North America, but this was also the time of his capture and daring escape during the Boer War, which made him a celebrity and helped launch his political career. Churchill would take his seat in Parliament only weeks after the end of Queen Victoria's reign.
This remains one of the most popular and widely read of all Churchill's books. And for good reason, as the work certainly ranks among the most charming and accessible of his many books. An original 1930 review likened it to a "beaker of Champagne." That effervescent charm endures; a more recent writer called it "a racy, humorous, self-deprecating classic of autobiography." To be sure, Churchill takes some liberties with facts and perhaps unduly lightens or over-simplifies certain events, but this is eminently forgivable and in keeping with the wit, pace, and engaging style that characterizes the book.
Jacketed copies of the U.S. first edition are scarce; the fragile dust jacket proved highly vulnerable to wear and severe fading of the orange color, particularly on the jacket spine. Even decent unjacketed copies are unusual. The red-orange cloth binding proved highly susceptible to fading and soiling.
Here is a notably fine copy in a very good first printing dust jacket. The coarse red-orange cloth binding is tight, square, and remarkably clean with virtually no wear or soiling, sharp corners, and bright gilt. The spine is beautifully bright with no color shift except at the spine ends corresponding to dust jacket losses. The contents are immaculate. We find absolutely no spotting or previous ownership marks. Even the untrimmed fore edges are clean, as are the top and bottom edges. The Scribner's "A" on the copyright page confirms a first edition, first printing. The dust jacket is unclipped, still bearing the original $3.50 front flap price.
The jacket is also unusually clean for the edition, virtually free of the usual soiling. Nonetheless, the jacket does show wear to extremities, with losses to a maximum depth of .75 inch at the spine head, one inch at the heel, a smaller triangular loss at the upper edge of the rear face, and wrinkling and closed tears to the edges of the front face. The orange spine panel is typically faded, but does retain some original color. Do note that we have photographed the jacket without a dust jacket protector. Now that we have applied a removable, archival quality clear cover, the jacket actually presents noticeably better, since various closed tears and chips now lay safely flat.
Reference: Cohen A91.2.a, Woods/ICS A37(b.2), Langworth p. 134. Item #003833