Great Contemporaries
Great Contemporaries
Great Contemporaries

Great Contemporaries

London: Thornton Butterworth Ltd., 1937. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a British first edition, first printing of Churchill's much-praised collection of insightful essays about 21 leading personalities of the day - including the likes of Lawrence, Shaw, and, most famously, Hitler. This copy is good plus, a sound, unrestored copy with clean contents - and hence either just fine as it is or nicely suited to a fine rebinding. The original blue cloth binding is square and tight with sharp corners, though with mild spine dulling, and numerous small cosmetic blemishes to both covers. The contents are surprisingly clean. We find no spotting and no previous ownership marks. The blue-stained top edge retains dark, substantially unfaded color and the fore and bottom edges are clean apart from mild age-toning. The character sketches herein offer remarkable portraits of both their subjects and the author. Churchill's piece about Hitler can be a shock to the modern ear, as it underscores his ability to write a balanced appraisal of his subject while expressing his earnest desire to avoid the war that he would fight with such ferocious resolve only a few years later. There is a reason this book is still in print today. It was written with what has been called "penetrating evaluation, humor, and understanding." Churchill's balanced and nuanced perspectives are a good model for many of today's more polemic writers. And naturally, in the course of sketching the character of his contemporaries Churchill necessarily reveals some of his own character and perspective. Churchill's portrait of T.E. Lawrence, published here just a few years before the Second World War, might well have been written about the author rather than by him: "The impression of the personality of Lawrence remains living and vivid upon the minds of his friends, and the sense of his loss is in no way dimmed among his countrymen. All feel the poorer that he has gone from us. In these days dangers and difficulties gather upon Britain and her Empire, and we are also conscious of a lack of outstanding figures with which to overcome them. Here was a man in whom there existed not only an immense capacity for service, but that touch of genius which everyone recognizes and no one can define." (Great Contemporaries, p.164) While some of the subjects of Churchill's sketches have receded into history, many remain well-known and all remain compellingly drawn. This is as engaging a read today as it was in 1937. Bibliographic Reference: Cohen A105.1.a, Woods/ICS A43(a.1), Langworth p.178. Item #005058

Price: $180.00

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