London: Brassey's, 1998. First edition. Hardcover. This book is an absolute must for Churchill collectors. Written by Churchill expert and International Churchill Society Founder Richard Langworth, it discusses in detail nearly all English language editions of Churchill's works. This particular copy is the finely bound, limited, and numbered issue of the first edition. The binding is rich, deep red morocco with all page edges gilt, head and foot bands, and marbled endpapers. The limitation and inscription, inked in blue in seven lines on the recto of the blank sheet preceding the half-title, reads: “Presentation Edition | #31 of 50 | for Richard Hazlett | with regards from the author | Richard Langworth | Omdurman Centenary | 2 Sep. 98”. Condition is as-new, the leather binding and contents pristine, the only discernible flaws being a few trivial blemishes to the otherwise clean and bright top edge gilt.
The reference to the “Omdurman Centenary” is of course to the Battle of Omdurman, in which a very young Winston Churchill participated in the last “genuine” cavalry charge of the British army during Kitchener’s punitive expedition to reoccupy the Sudan and avenge General Gordon. Churchill would write his second published book – The River War – about the campaign (1899). Richard Hazlett, to whom this book was inscribed, was at the time a Dallas bookseller.
The life and achievements of Richard M. Langworth CBE (b.1941) are entwined with service to Churchill’s memory and legacy. Among his accomplishments, Richard revived the Churchill Society, edited 140 issues of the Churchill Society’s quarterly publication Finest Hour, was a Churchill-specialist bookseller, and authored A Connoisseur’s Guide to the Books of Sir Winston Churchill and five books of Churchill quotations. In 1998, Richard was awarded by Her Majesty the Queen with a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) “for services to Anglo-American understanding and the memory of Sir Winston Churchill.” Richard now serves as a Senior Fellow for the Churchill Project at Hillsdale College.
Richard Langworth did a great service to Churchill collectors with A Connoisseur’s Guide to the Books of Sir Winston Churchill, not only discussing each edition at length, but also seeking and incorporating hundreds of images of some extraordinary books. Not a bibliography, this book is truly what the title purports - a guide. Reading it provides an aesthetic, critical, and historical sense for each of Churchill's book-length works. Moreover, useful information is provided about identifying many of the many editions of each of Churchill's book-length works. While the market values cited are woefully out of date and should be disregarded, the information about editions and the hundreds of photographs remain quite informative. The trade edition was published in brown cloth boards with an illustrated dust jacket. This finely bound, limited, numbered, and inscribed copy is a scarce prize for Churchill collectors.
Reference: Zoller A636. Item #005757