London: Cassell and Company Ltd., 1943. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is the British first edition, first printing, of the third volume of Churchill's war speeches, containing speeches throughout 1942. This year was a low point of the war, full of setbacks and disappointments across the globe for the British. Throughout the year Churchill's speeches conveyed sober, resolved, and eloquent defiance - with of course an occasional sparkle of Churchillian wit, even in the dark hours of the war.
The title of this volume comes from Churchill's 10 November 1942 speech at the Lord Mayor's Day Luncheon in London at a time when fortune finally favored the British with victories in North Africa: "The Germans have received back again that measure of fire and steel which they have so often meted out to others. Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
This first edition, first printing is in very good minus condition in a very good minus first printing dust jacket. The blue cloth binding is square, clean, and tight with bright spine gilt and sharp corners. We note light shelf wear to extremities and two small, white scuffs to the rear cover, one near the upper right corner and one to the lower rear hinge. The contents are respectable, with no previous ownership marks and spotting substantially confined to the page edges, endpapers, and first and final leaves. The dust jacket is unclipped, retaining the original publisher’s price on the lower front flap. Significantly, both the red and yellow of the spine remain bright and unfaded, with no appreciable color shift between the jacket’s front face and spine. We note wear and minor chipping to extremities, minor abrasions to the front hinge and lower spine, and moderate soiling to the right rear face. The dust jacket is now 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 A183.1.a, Woods/ICS A94(a), Langworth p.218. Item #005098