London: George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd, 1938. First Edition, only printing. Hardcover. This book is the precursor to Churchill’s great war speeches, the first edition, only printing. This particular copy is increasingly scarce thus, near fine in a very good first issue dust jacket. The navy cloth binding is square, clean, tight, and uncommonly bright, with sharp corners, vivid spine gilt, and no sunning. We note only trivial wrinkling to the spine ends and incidental shelf wear to the bottom edges. The contents are likewise uncommonly clean for the edition, with no spotting and no previous ownership marks and retaining a crisp feel, as if unread. The blue topstain is unfaded and the fore and bottom edges clean. Mild differential toning to the half-title and to the first and final leaves corresponds to the dust jacket flaps, confirming what the marvelously bright binding already testifies – that this copy has spent life jacketed. The pale blue first state dust jacket is unclipped with trivial losses confined to the spine ends and corners, light soiling to the faces and moderate soiling to the spine. The jacket is now protected beneath a removable, clear archival quality cover.
Arms and the Covenant has been called "…the permanent record of one man’s unceasing struggle in the face of resentment, apathy, and complacency" and "probably the most crucial volume of speeches that he ever published." (Frederick Woods) The book contains text from 41 Churchill speeches spanning 25 October 1928 to 24 March 1938. These criticize British foreign policy and warn prophetically of the coming danger. The world remembers the resolute war leader to whom the British turned, but it is easy to forget the years leading up to the war, which Churchill spent persistent, eloquent, and largely unheeded.
The speeches were compiled by Churchill's son, Randolph, who contributed a preface and is credited with compilation. Randolph would do the same for his father's first volume of war speeches, Into Battle, published in an almost unrecognizable world less than three years later. The “Covenant” in the title of Arms and the Covenant refers to the League of Nations Covenant, the instrument that was to maintain peace in the wake of the First World War. As testimony to the book's importance, a copy of the U.S. edition lay on "President Roosevelt's bedside table, with key passages, including an analysis of the president's peace initiative, underscored" (William Manchester's The Last Lion, Volume II, p.305). The British first edition saw only a single printing of 5,000 copies published on 24 June 1938 and of these, perhaps as few as 3,381 were issued in the distinctive pale blue dust jacket.
Reference: Cohen A107.1. Woods/ICS A44(a), Langworth p.191. Item #005866