London: Cassell and Company Ltd., 1946. First edition, only printing. Paperback. This book is from the personal collection of Churchill's bibliographer, Ronald I. Cohen. This is the first collected edition of Churchill's war speeches, published only as a paperback in 1946, a collector-worthy copy, scarce in such condition.
During his long public life, Winston Churchill played many roles worthy of historical note - Member of Parliament for more than half a century, distinguished soldier and war correspondent, author of scores of books, ardent social reformer, combative cold warrior, Nobel Prize winner, painter. But Churchill's enduring preeminence 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."
Between 1941 and 1946, Churchill's war speeches were published in seven individual volumes. In 1952 they were collected and republished in three volumes. Both of these editions are well-known. Far less known is this first collected edition published in July 1946, just one year after Churchill’s Conservative Party lost the General Election and Churchill lost his wartime premiership to Clement Attlee. The book measures 8.5 x 5.5 inches (21.6 x 14 cm), bound in pale blue paper wraps with turn-in flaps like a dust jacket, and with contents printed on cheap pulp paper. With only one softcover printing, this fragile edition has proven scarce, particularly in condition as nice as this one.
The wraps binding is square and complete, with sharp corners, both covers firmly attached, and no creases, tears, or losses. The unclipped front flap retains the publisher’s original “5s. net” price. The pale blue color remains bright, with no color differentiation between the front cover and spine. We note minor wear to hinges and extremities, a hint of fractional chipping to the spine ends, a faint penciled notation on the upper right corner of the front cover, and a penciled check mark next to a title on the rear cover (Secret Session Speeches, the seventh and final of Churchill’s war speeches volumes, published the same year as this first collected speeches volume). The pulp paper contents are inevitably age-toned, but otherwise clean, with no previous ownership marks or spotting.
Reference: Cohen A224, Woods/ICS A113, Langworth p.241. Item #004865