The World Crisis: The Unknown War. Winston S. Churchill.
The World Crisis: The Unknown War
The World Crisis: The Unknown War
The World Crisis: The Unknown War

The World Crisis: The Unknown War

New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1931. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is the first edition, first printing of the sixth and final book of The World Crisis, Churchill's monumental history of the First World War. 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 fifth dealing with the postwar years 1918-1928 (The Aftermath). In proposing this sixth and final book to his publisher, Churchill wrote: "In the previous volumes of the World Crisis I have described only in a few pages the course of events in the Eastern theatre. They have merely been the background of our main drama of the war. But now I think I might write a volume called 'The Eastern Front' [published as "The Unknown War" in the U.S.], which would be separate from but supplementary to our five volume history." Scribner published 3,870 first printing copies in 1931 in a russet cloth binding highly prone to fading and wear absent the protection of the quite scarce original dust jacket. The World Crisis is one of the few Churchill editions for which this, the U.S. edition, is the true first, as initial publication preceded the British. This first edition, first printing of the sixth and final volume is in very good condition. The publisher’s cloth binding is square and tight with light scuffing, minor wear to extremities, and customary spine dulling. The contents are notably clean, age-toned but with no previous ownership marks and no spotting. All of the extensive illustrations, maps, diagrams, etc. are present, including the color folding map at p.388, which is a bit wrinkled but intact. The Scribner’s “A” on the title page verso confirms first printing. 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. Even Secretary of State for War Lord Kitchener, with whom Churchill had been variously at odds for nearly two decades, told Churchill on his final day as First Lord “Well, there is one thing at any rate they cannot take from you. The Fleet was ready." (The World Crisis: 1915, p.391) 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. And, of course, Churchill famously returned to the Admiralty in September 1939. 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. Bibliographic reference: Cohen A69.1(V).a, Woods/ICS A31(aa), Langworth p.103. Item #005080

Price: $160.00

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