A History of the English-Speaking Peoples. Winston S. Churchill.
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples

A History of the English-Speaking Peoples

London: Cassell and Company, Ltd., 1956. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a notably clean, jacketed, British first edition set of Churchill's sweeping history and last great work. Churchill's four volume epic, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, was published between 1956 and 1958.  The work traces a great historical arc from Roman Britain through the end of the Nineteenth Century, ending with the death of Queen Victoria. Perhaps not coincidentally, this is the very year that saw Churchill conclude his first North American lecture tour, take his first seat in Parliament, and begin to make history himself. The work itself was two decades in the making.  The Churchillian conceptions that underpinned it were lifelong. The cultural commonality and vitality of English-speaking peoples animated Churchill throughout his life, from his Victorian youth in an ascendant British Empire to his twilight in the midst of the American century. Churchill began A History of the English-Speaking Peoples in the 1930s, completing a draft of "about half a million words" which was set aside when Churchill returned to the Admiralty and to war in September 1939.  The work was fittingly interrupted by an unprecedented alliance among the English-speaking peoples during the Second World War - an alliance Churchill personally did much to cultivate, cement, and sustain.  The interruption continued as Churchill bent his literary efforts to his six-volume history, The Second World War, and then his remaining political energies to his second and final premiership from 1951-1955. This first edition is regarded as one of the most beautiful productions of Churchill's works, with tall red volumes and striking, illustrated dust jackets. Churchill seems to have taken an active and detailed interest in the aesthetics of the publication. He told his doctor: "it is not necessary to break the back of the book to keep it open. I made them take away a quarter of an inch from the outer margins of the two pages and then add the half-inch so gained to the inner margin." He was clearly satisfied with the result, remarking with pardonable exuberance "It opens like an angel's wings." (Gilbert, Volume VIII, p.1184) Unfortunately, as beautiful as the first editions are, they proved somewhat fragile. The dust jackets commonly suffer significant fading, wear, soiling, and spotting, and the books typically bear spotting and fading of the red-stained top edges. This set is atypically clean, very good plus in very good dust jackets, suffering only some dulling and toning but spared the usual soiling, spotting, and wear. The red cloth bindings are square, clean, bright, and tight with sharp corners and vivid spine gilt. The contents are strikingly clean and bright, with no spotting and no previous ownership marks. Even the fore and bottom edges remain quite clean. The red stained top edges show uniform sunning, reducing them to a dull, light pink. The unclipped dust jackets are quite clean, with only trivial wear to a few spine ends and light soiling to the Volume I & III rear panels. What prevents our grading the dust jackets as near-fine or better is some uniform dulling to the otherwise clean and complete jacket spines. Shelf presentation is quite good nonetheless. All four dust jackets are protected beneath removable, archival quality clear covers. Bibliographic reference: Cohen A267.1(I-IV).a, Woods/ICS A138(aa), Langworth p.315. Item #004212

Price: $450.00

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