The Second World War, full set of six British first editions. Winston S. Churchill.
The Second World War, full set of six British first editions
The Second World War, full set of six British first editions
The Second World War, full set of six British first editions
The Second World War, full set of six British first editions
The Second World War, full set of six British first editions
The Second World War, full set of six British first editions
The Second World War, full set of six British first editions

The Second World War, full set of six British first editions

London: Cassell and Company, Ltd., 1948. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a full, jacketed set of British first editions of The Second World War, Churchill's history of the epic 20th Century struggle that was so indelibly stamped by his leadership. This is a quite respectable set, very good in very good dust jackets, rendered particularly interesting by inclusion of a date-stamped 1954 letter from W. H. Smith & Son of London regarding the original purchase, as well as a 1954 newspaper clipping regarding Churchill’s installation as a Knight of the Garter. Jacketed British first edition sets in marginal condition are not uncommon. However, the coarse cloth bindings of this edition proved susceptible to soiling and mildew, the contents (printed on post-war "Economy Standards" paper) proved highly prone to spotting, the red-stained top edges are most often severely faded, and the dust jackets proved exceptionally vulnerable to pronounced spine toning. This set suffers only a few, moderate deficiencies. The black cloth bindings are uniformly square, clean, and tight, with only minor bruising or bumping at some corners. The contents are notably clean for the edition. We find no previous ownership marks and, significantly, no spotting. Even the fore and bottom edges are atypically bright, with just a touch of incidental soiling. The red topstain is differentially toned across the six volumes, sunned to light pink in the first four volumes and remaining dark only in the final two volumes. The dust jackets are entirely complete – unclipped, retaining the original front flap prices and loss or tears. Nonetheless, the jackets do show a modest amount of the spine toning endemic to the edition, with the red subtitles still legible, but only just. All six dust jackets are protected beneath removable, archival quality clear covers. Laid into the final volume (published 26 April 1954) we found a treat – an envelope bearing a letter from the London Bookseller W. H Smith & Son, Ltd. date stamped “24 APR 1954”. The letter, signed by the Branch Manager, congratulates the purchaser for “The six brilliant volumes of Winston Churchill’s history THE SECOND WORLD WAR will for years be the proudest possession of many home libraries” and offers a fine binding service for the set. Also laid in is an original 15 June 1954 newspaper article about Churchill’s installation as a Knight of the Garter. Seldom, if ever, has history endowed a statesman with both singular ability to make history, and singular ability to write it. As with so much of what Churchill wrote, The Second World War is not "history" in the strictly academic, objectivist sense, but rather Churchill's perspective on history. In his March 1948 introduction to the first volume, Churchill himself made the disclaimer, "I do not describe it as history... it is a contribution to history..." Nonetheless the compelling fact remains, as stated by Churchill himself, "I am perhaps the only man who has passed through both the two supreme cataclysms of recorded history in high Cabinet office... I was for more than five years in this second struggle with Germany the Head of His Majesty's government. I write, therefore, from a different standpoint and with more authority than was possible in my earlier books." Certainly The Second World War may be regarded as an intensely personal and inherently biased history. Nonetheless, Churchill's work remains essential, iconic, and a vital part of the historical record. Richard Langworth calls the six-volume epic "indispensable reading for anyone who seeks a true understanding of the war that made us what we are today." Please note that this set may require additional postage depending on destination. Bibliographic reference: Cohen A240.4(I-VI).a, Woods/ICS A123(ba), Langworth p.264. Item #005491

Price: $550.00

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