New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1933. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a jacketed U.S. first edition of the second volume of Churchill's Marlborough: His Life and Times. The British first edition was issued in four volumes. The U.S. publisher chose to split the first two volumes into two books each, resulting in a six volume set that is otherwise identical in content to the British.
This U.S. first printing of Volume II is in very good condition in a good plus, uniform issue blue and gold dust jacket. The green cloth binding is square, clean, bright, and tight with bright spine gilt. We note only trivial shelf wear to extremities and small bumps to the upper corners. The contents are clean with no previous ownership marks. The Scribner’s “A” on the copyright page confirms first printing. We find no spotting. The otherwise clean fore and bottom edges show modest age-toning, the top edge light dust soiling.
The dust jacket is bright and substantially complete, retaining the original “$2.75” front flap price and showing only fractional chip losses to extremities. Nonetheless, the jacket shows overall scuffing and wear to hinges and extremities, with a few short closed tears (not exceeding 3cm). The dust jacket is protected in a removable, archival quality clear cover.
Winston Churchill's monumental biography of his great ancestor, John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, was initially conceived a full 40 years before publication of the fourth and final volume. Churchill originally considered the idea of the biography in 1898, returning to it in earnest in 1928. Marlborough ultimately took 10 years of research and writing and is the most substantial published work of Churchill's "wilderness years" in the 1930s. This decade saw Churchill pass into his sixties with his own future as uncertain as that of his nation. It is perhaps not incidental that Churchill’s great work of the 1930s was about a great ancestor. Churchill may have wondered more than once if the life history he was writing might ultimately eclipse his own.
Richard Langworth says "To understand the Churchill of the Second World War, the majestic blending of his commanding English with historical precedent, one has to read Marlborough.” Two months after Volume I was published, on 12 December 1933, T.E. Lawrence wrote to Churchill: “I finished it only yesterday. I wish I had not… The skeleton of the book is so good. Its parts balance and the main stream flows… Marlborough has the big scene-painting, the informed pictures of men, the sober comment on political method, the humour, irony and understanding of your normal writing: but beyond that it shows more discipline and strength: and great dignity. It is history, solemn and decorative.
Reference: Cohen A97.4(II).a, Woods/ICS A49(ba), Langworth p.169. Item #003975