Item #004660 The World Crisis: 1916-1918, Part I. Winston S. Churchill.
The World Crisis: 1916-1918, Part I
The World Crisis: 1916-1918, Part I
The World Crisis: 1916-1918, Part I
The World Crisis: 1916-1918, Part I

The World Crisis: 1916-1918, Part I

London: Thornton Butterworth Limited, 1927. First edition. Hardcover. This is the British first edition, first printing, of the third volume of Winston Churchill's monumental history of The First World War, elusive thus in the original dust jacket. A quarter of a century before the Second World War endowed him with lasting fame, Winston Churchill played a uniquely critical, controversial, and varied role in the “War to end all wars”. Then, being Churchill, he wrote about it. The World Crisis was originally published in six volumes between 1923 and 1931, with the first four volumes spanning the war years 1911-1918 and the final two volumes covering the postwar years 1918-1928 (The Aftermath) and the Eastern theatre (The Eastern Front). The third and fourth volumes, covering the years 1916-1918, were issued as “Part I” and “Part II” respectively. The events of the 1916-1918 volumes, of which this is the first, include Churchill's time at the Front, his return to the Cabinet, and Armistice Day, marking the formal end of hostilities.

The British edition of The World Crisis is aesthetically commanding, its large volumes with shoulder notes summarizing the subject of each page. Unfortunately, the smooth navy cloth of the British first editions proved quite susceptible to wear and blistering, and the contents prone to spotting and toning. Jacketed copies of any World Crisis first editions are elusive. The 1916-1918 volumes present a special problem, as the paper used for the jackets proved particularly brittle, leading the surviving jackets to commonly split and fragment.

This first edition, first printing is very good plus in a better than fair dust jacket. The blue cloth binding is square and tight with sharp corners and vivid spine gilt. We note just a little incidental scuffing. The contents remain respectably bright with a crisp, unread feel. Differential toning to the endpapers corresponding to the dust jacket flaps confirms that this copy has spent life jacketed. Previous ownership marks appear confined to an inked name on the upper front pastedown and a small Birmingham bookseller sticker affixed to the lower rear pastedown. Spotting appears primarily confined to the prelims and page edges. The dust jacket suffers an irregular loss at the spine head to a maximum depth of 2.25 inches (5.7 cm), obscuring a significant part of the title, as well as fractional chipping elsewhere to the extremities. The joints and flap folds are splitting, but show minimal gapping or splitting, making the splits virtually disappear beneath the removable, clear, archival dust jacket protector.

In October 1911, aged 36, Winston Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. He entered the post with the brief to change war strategy and ensure the readiness of the world’s most powerful navy. He did both. Nonetheless, when Churchill advocated successfully for a naval campaign in the Dardanelles that ultimately proved disastrous, a convergence of factors sealed his political fate. Churchill was scapegoated and forced to resign, leaving the Admiralty in May 1915. Years later, Churchill’s wife, Clementine, recalled to Churchill’s official biographer “I thought he would never get over the Dardanelles; I thought he would die of grief.” (Gilbert, Vol. III, p.473)

By November, Churchill resigned even his nominal Cabinet posts to spend the rest of his political exile as a lieutenant colonel leading a battalion in the trenches at the Front. Before war's end, Churchill was exonerated by the Dardanelles Commission and rejoined the Government, foreshadowing the political isolation and restoration he would experience two decades later leading up to the Second World War. Despite Churchill's political recovery, the stigma of the Dardanelles lingered. Hence Churchill had more than just literary and financial compulsion to write his history.

Reference: Cohen A69.2(III-1).a, Woods/ICS A31(aa), Langworth p.103. Item #004660

Price: $460.00

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