A History of the English-Speaking Peoples. Winston S. Churchill.
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples

A History of the English-Speaking Peoples

London: Cassell and Company, Ltd., 1956. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a notably bright and clean British first edition, first printing set of Churchill's sweeping history and last great work. It is increasingly unusual for us to offer sets this clean. This first edition is regarded as one of the most beautiful productions of Churchill's works, with tall red volumes and striking, illustrated dust jackets. Churchill seems to have taken an active and detailed interest in the aesthetics of the publication. He told his doctor: "it is not necessary to break the back of the book to keep it open. I made them take away a quarter of an inch from the outer margins of the two pages and then add the half-inch so gained to the inner margin." He was clearly satisfied with the result, remarking with pardonable exuberance "It opens like an angel's wings." (Gilbert, Volume VIII, p.1184) Unfortunately, as beautiful as the first editions are, they proved somewhat fragile. The dust jackets commonly suffer significant fading, wear, soiling, and spotting, and the books typically bear spotting and fading of the red-stained top edges. This is a better than near fine set in near fine dust jackets. The red cloth bindings are strikingly square, clean, bright, and tight. We note only a tiny corner bump to the lower Volume IV front cover. The contents border on immaculate. We find no spotting, previous ownership marks, or discernible age-toning. The white fore and bottom edges are clean. The red topstain remains dark apart from mild toning near the headbands – the only thing that prevents our grading the books as “fine”. The illustrated dust jackets are complete, unclipped with no loss, tears, or appreciable wear. Moreover, this set has striking shelf presence, with all of the vivid hues hardly dimmed at all on the uncommonly bright jacket spines. A few of the jackets show some trivial soiling to the faces – Volume I to the upper rear face, Volume III to the upper front hinge, Volume IV to the upper front face. All four dust jackets are protected beneath removable, clear, archival covers. Churchill's four-volume epic, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, was published between 1956 and 1958. The work traces a great historical arc from Roman Britain through the end of the Nineteenth Century, ending with the death of Queen Victoria. Perhaps not coincidentally, this is the very year that saw Churchill conclude his first North American lecture tour, take his first seat in Parliament, and begin to make history himself. The work itself was two decades in the making. The Churchillian conceptions that underpinned it were lifelong. The cultural commonality and vitality of English-speaking peoples animated Churchill throughout his life, from his Victorian youth in an ascendant British Empire to his twilight in the midst of the American century. Churchill began A History of the English-Speaking Peoples in the 1930s, completing a draft of "about half a million words" which was set aside when Churchill returned to the Admiralty and to war in September 1939. The work was fittingly interrupted by an unprecedented alliance among the English-speaking peoples during the Second World War - an alliance Churchill personally did much to cultivate, cement, and sustain. The interruption continued as Churchill bent his literary efforts to his six-volume history, The Second World War, and then his remaining political energies to his second and final premiership from 1951-1955. Bibliographic reference: Cohen A267.1(I-IV).a, Woods/ICS A138(aa), Langworth p.315. Item #005753

Price: $950.00

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