The Second World War, full set of six U.S. first editions. Winston S. Churchill.
The Second World War, full set of six U.S. first editions
The Second World War, full set of six U.S. first editions
The Second World War, full set of six U.S. first editions

The Second World War, full set of six U.S. first editions

Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1948. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a superb full, six-volume, jacketed set of first editions, quite scarce thus. The Second World War is Churchill's history of the epic 20th Century struggle that was so indelibly stamped by his leadership. Seldom, if ever, has history endowed a statesman with both singular ability to make history, and singular ability to write it. As with so much of what Churchill wrote, The Second World War is not "history" in the strictly academic, objectivist sense, but rather Churchill's perspective on history. In his March 1948 introduction to the first volume, Churchill himself made the disclaimer, "I do not describe it as history... it is a contribution to history..." Nonetheless the compelling fact remains, as stated by Churchill himself, "I am perhaps the only man who has passed through both the two supreme cataclysms of recorded history in high Cabinet office... I was for more than five years in this second struggle with Germany the Head of His Majesty's government. I write, therefore, from a different standpoint and with more authority than was possible in my earlier books." Certainly The Second World War may be regarded as an intensely personal and inherently biased history. Nonetheless, Churchill's work remains seminal, iconic, and a vital part of the historical record. The six-volume epic has been called "indispensable reading for anyone who seeks a true understanding of the war that made us what we are today." This U.S. first edition is not only considerably scarcer today than its British counterpart, but is also the true first edition. The first U.S. volume, The Gathering Storm, was published in June 1948, while the British first edition was not published until October 1948. The sixth and final U.S. first edition volume, Triumph and Tragedy, was published during Churchill's second and final Premiership in November 1953. A Book-of-the-Month Club (BOMC) edition was published virtually simultaneously with the U.S. first edition and is quite similar in appearance (often causing confusion for disappointed collectors who think they are buying first editions). Note these are not the common BOMC look-alikes, but correct first trade editions in all respects: the dust jackets are unclipped and bear the correct, first printing $6.00 price. All top edges are stained dark yellow-orange. Title and copyright pages bear correct first printing indications. All volumes bear the distinctive red and yellow head and foot bands. There are no BOMC indentations on the rear covers. First edition sets typically suffer considerable sunning, wear, and soiling, with the dust jacket spines particularly prone to fading. This set is a noteworthy exception, featuring truly fine volumes in extraordinarily bright, near fine dust jackets. The jackets are complete, with only minor wear to extremities, the most notable being at the Volume I & II spine heads. Shelf presentation is exceptional, the jackets improbably bright with perfect unfaded color. Of particular note and interest, five of the jackets – those for Volumes II–VI – each bear an intriguing month-day-year inked date stamp on the lower rear flap. One of the date stamps is the day of publication, while the other four vary from 4 to 14 days prior to publication. All six dust jackets are protected beneath removable, archival quality clear covers. The volumes are likewise exceptional, the bindings square, clean, bright, and tight with unfaded color, and vivid gilt. We note only one small corner bump in the set. The books could be unread. The contents are uniformly clean with no spotting. Previous ownership marks are modest – a small Chicago bookseller sticker to the Volume V lower rear pastedown and identical decorative bookplates affixed to the Volume II and Volume III front pastedowns. Please note that this large set may require additional postage. Bibliographic reference: Cohen A240.1(I-VI).a, Woods/ICS A123(aa), Langworth p.258. Item #004312

Price: $1,250.00

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