London: Cassell and Company Ltd., 1942. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is the British first edition, first printing, first state of the second volume of Churchill's war speeches, containing 72 of Churchill's speeches, broadcasts, and messages to Parliament from November 1940 to the end of 1941, terminating with Churchill’s famous speeches to the U.S. Congress and the Canadian Parliament. Churchill's words during this time resounded during some of the darkest and most uncertain days of the war.
This first edition, first printing is in good plus condition. First state is confirmed by irregular spacing of the pagination at p.281. The blue cloth binding is square and tight, though with some wear to extremities, including a little fraying of the cloth at the bottom of the front hinge and tiny bumps to the lower corners. The contents show no previous ownership marks, but are spotted, heavily to the page edges and endpapers, lighter and intermittent throughout. The dust jacket is that of the 1943 third printing, externally identical to the first printing dust jacket, differing only in the content of the front and rear flaps. The dust jacket is unclipped, retaining the original lower front flap price, though it has losses to a depth of .5 inch (1.3 cm) along the top edge with lesser chips to the bottom edge and overall scuffing. The dust jacket is protected beneath a removable, clear, archival cover.
Few books are as emblematic of Churchill’s literary and leadership gifts as his war speeches volumes. During his long public life, Winston Churchill played many roles worthy of note - Member of Parliament for more than half a century, soldier and war correspondent, author of scores of books, ardent social reformer, combative cold warrior, Nobel Prize winner, painter. But Churchill's preeminence as a historical figure 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." When Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953, it was partly “…for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.”
Between 1941 and 1946, Churchill's war speeches were published in seven individual volumes. The British first editions are visually striking, but were printed on cheap “War Economy Standard” paper, bound in coarse cloth, and wrapped in bright, fragile dust jackets. They proved highly susceptible to spotting, soiling, and fading, so the passage of time has been hard on most surviving first editions.
Reference: Cohen A172.1.a, Woods/ICS A89(a.1), Langworth p.213. Item #005097