London: Thornton Butterworth Limited, 1932. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a prize for collectors. This jacketed copy of the first edition, first printing would be impressive for condition alone – approaching near fine in a near fine, complete dust jacket. Rendering this copy exceptional is that fact that the binding is an unrecorded variant. The previously recorded binding, unique to the first printing, is a khaki cloth characterized by Churchill’s bibliographer, Ronald Cohen, as “Moderate olive brown embossed calico-texture cloth”. Later first printings and all subsequent printings (a total of four printings of the first edition) were recorded by Cohen in a significantly darker “dark greyish green” cloth with an entirely different “dotted-line grain”.
As can be seen in the listing images, this original publisher’s binding is quite different from either – a distinctly lighter, pale green/olive cloth in a tighter weave. We have never seen or heard of another bound thus. The logical speculation is that this cloth was used sparingly and very early in the first printing binding process.
The volume has clearly spent life jacketed. Despite a stain on the front cover – ostensibly from incidental moisture exposure or handling – the binding is bright and clean as only a jacketed copy can be. The color is unequivocally original; we note absolutely no color difference between the spine, covers, and the cloth turn-ins bordering the pastedowns. We note virtually no wear, the binding perfectly square with sharp corners. The contents are atypically clean and bright with a crisp, unread feel. In case there is any doubt, differential toning to the endpapers corresponding to the dust jacket flaps confirms that this copy has spent life jacketed. We find no spotting and no previous ownership marks. The first printing dust jacket is complete, with no loss. Trivial wear is confined to extremities, hinges, and flap folds. Soiling is negligible and shelf presentation is excellent, with only the slightest color shift between the spine and faces. The dust jacket is protected beneath a removable, archival quality clear cover.
Churchill's collection of 23 engaging essays on an incredibly wide variety of subjects was first published in 1932. It has been called "The broadest range of Churchill's thought between two hard covers" and reflects the two qualities that so characterize Churchill's life - a remarkable breadth of both mind and life experience. From the original front flap blurb: "Whether he is dealing with personal reminiscences, or telling us his views on any subject under the sun, Mr. Churchill stamps the page with his own vivid personality." In a 31 May 1932 letter to his publisher about the book, Churchill characterized it thus: "...although there is no one single theme, it has some of the best things in it I have ever written."
Reference: Cohen A95.1.a (unrecorded variant binding), Woods/ICS A39(aa.1), Langworth p.156. Item #005054