London: Cassell and Company Ltd., 1942. First edition, first printing. Paperback. This ugly duckling is quite a rarity - a publisher's pre-publication "ROUGH PROOF" of the second volume of Churchill's war speeches. This is the first such copy we have handled. Published in June 1942, The Unrelenting Struggle contains 72 of Churchill's speeches, broadcasts, and messages to Parliament from November 1940 to the end of 1941. Churchill's words during this time resounded during some of the darkest and most uncertain days of the war.
The binding is gray wraps. The title, author, and compiler are printed on the front cover, as are the words “ROUGH PROOF” in capitals at the upper left. The spine is unprinted, with a simple, typed paper label affixed that reads “THE UNRELENTING STRUGGLE.” We have not compared the contents to the final published version, but do note the Proof’s lack of the “Book Production War Economy Standard” insignia and statement at the head of the copyright page.
Condition is fair, the gray wraps still attached, but with splits at the hinge extremities, wear to all extremities, and overall soiling and signs of handling. The contents are complete, lacking either annotation or previous ownership marks. Light spotting appears primarily confined to the page edges, with a reddish stain at the lower edge intruding slightly into the blank lower margins of pages 23-155.
During his long public life, Winston Churchill played many roles worthy of note - Member of Parliament for more than half a century, soldier and war correspondent, author of scores of books, ardent social reformer, combative cold warrior, painter, Nobel Prize winner. But Churchill's preeminence as a historical figure owes most to his indispensable leadership during the Second World War, when his soaring and defiant oratory sustained his countrymen and inspired the free world. Of Churchill, Edward R. Murrow said: "He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle." When Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953, it was partly “…for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.”
Between 1941 and 1946, Churchill's war speeches were published in seven individual volumes. Proof copies are not unknown for Churchill’s works both preceding and following the Second World War. However, proof copies of his war speeches volumes are elusive to the point of genuine rarity. It seems quite reasonable to speculate that the exigencies of Churchill’s wartime premiership curtailed his customary practice of vexing his publishers with seemingly endless corrections and clarifications. This might help account for the scarcity of proof copies.
Reference (for the first edition that followed this proof copy): Cohen A172.1, Woods/ICS A89, Langworth p.213. Item #004498