New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1927. First U.S. edition, first printing. Hardcover. This rarity is a jacketed U.S. first edition set of the 1916-1918 volumes of Churchill's The World Crisis in the original publisher's slipcase. The events of these 1916-1918 volumes include Churchill's time at the Front following his political exile and his subsequent return to the Cabinet. This set features strikingly fine volumes in near fine dust jackets in a slipcase that is missing the blank top panel.
The bindings and contents of the two volumes are pristine as only unread sets that have spent life jacketed and slipcased can be. The jackets are complete, with no loss or tears. The jacket spines are mildly stained and toned, but nonetheless present quite well on the shelf. Of interest, the verso of the Volume I rear dust jacket flap bears original bookseller pencil notation, including “5 May 1927 | J. W. Robinson Co | $10.00”. The note is dated just two months after publication, mirroring the original publisher’s price on the front flap. Moreover, the bookseller notation matches the sole previous ownership mark we find in the volumes – small bookseller stickers of “J. W. Robinson Co” affixed to each upper rear pastedown, each with the printed price “$10.00 | 2 VOLS” The dust jackets are protected beneath removable, archival quality clear covers. The slipcase is surprisingly clean and presentable, with only modest wear and soiling. The missing blank upper slipcase panel is a collector’s gain, causing us to offer the set at a considerably lower price than a fully intact slipcase would command.
The World Crisis is Winston Churchill's epic history of the First World War, in which he played such a critical, controversial, and varied role, nearly losing both his political career and his corporeal life in the process. Churchill was in a special position to write this history, having served both in the Cabinet and on the Front. First Lord of the Admiralty from 1911 until 1915, after the failure in the Dardanelles and the slaughter at Gallipoli, Churchill was scapegoated and forced to resign. He spent political exile as a lieutenant colonel leading a battalion in the trenches. Before war's end, Churchill was exonerated and rejoined the Government, but the stigma would linger. Churchill may have meant for his history of the First World War to clear his name, but his work far exceeds this purpose.
Both the U.S. and British editions were originally published as six individual volumes between 1923 and 1931. The U.S. is the true first edition, as U.S. Volume I publication preceded the British. Today, jacketed first editions are quite scarce - jacketed U.S. editions even more so. Scarcer still is the original U.S. publisher's slipcase for the 1916-1918 first editions; Charles Scribner's Sons originally issued the two 1916-1918 volumes as a boxed set in a cardboard slipcase. Of the few surviving slipcases we have seen, some have three pasted labels. A large, 8.25 x 5.75 inch label printed dark red on ivory on the right side of the slipcase bears an extensive blurb about Churchill and the work. A smaller label on the upper spine of the slipcase, likewise printed dark red on ivory, measures 4 x 3.25 inches and bears the title, author, and publisher. A bright orange promotional label on the lower portion of the slipcase spine measuring 3.75 x 3 inches bears black ink print advertising Churchill's preceding World Crisis volumes. This slipcase lacks the third, orange, promotional label, possibly indicating an earlier issuance.
Reference: Cohen A69.1(III-1&2).a, Woods/ICS A31(aa), Langworth p.104. Item #004571