London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1976. First edition. Hardcover. This is the British first edition, first printing of the fifth volume of the Official Biography of Winston S. Churchill, a presentation copy inscribed in the year of publication by Churchill’s namesake grandson and his wife. The inscription, filling the front free endpaper in blue ink, reads: “For Norman & Maureen with every best wish for Christmas & the New Year from Winston & Minnie 1976.”
Winston S. Churchill (1940-2010), son of Randolph S. Churchill, was born exactly five months after his grandfather became wartime prime minister, just before the victorious conclusion to the Battle of Britain. The grandson served as a Conservative Member of Parliament for 27 years. Mary “Minnie” Caroline Spencer Churchill (nee d’Erlanger, b.1940) was his first wife. They were married from 1964 to 1997 and had four children.
This fifth volume of Winston Churchill’s official biography covers the period 1922-1939, spanning the time Churchill purchased his beloved country home Chartwell, ended his Parliamentary career as a Liberal, and returned to the Conservatives, through the latter half of the 1920s which Churchill spent as the powerful Chancellor of the Exchequer, through the wilderness years of the 1930s, which Churchill spent out of power and out of favor, persistently warning about the growing Nazi threat and routinely at odds with both his own Conservative Party leadership and prevailing public sentiment.
Condition is near fine in a near fine dust jacket. The red cloth binding remains square, clean, and tight with bright spine gilt and only trivial shelf wear to extremities. The contents are bright with no spotting or appreciable age toning. The red topstain is mildly sunned to dark pink. The brown dust jacket of this edition is almost always found sunned to a green color on the spine. Here the dust jacket is not only clean and complete, but retains its brown color with no discernible color shift between the covers and spine. The lower front flap of the first edition dust jacket originally featured two prices, an introductory price “until February 28th, 1977” with a higher price above. Both original prices remain intact. The dust jacket is protected with a removable, clear, archival cover.
The Official Biography was begun by Winston’s son, Randolph Churchill (1911-1968), and completed by Sir Martin Gilbert (1936-2015). In 1962, at the age of 25, Martin Gilbert joined Churchill's biography team, then led by Churchill's son Randolph. Of what became his life's work, Gilbert says: "I'd thought I'd last four or five months." Instead, when Randolph died in 1968 with only two of the eight volumes completed, Gilbert took over, committing the substantial portion of his scholarship and life's work to documenting, comprehending, and communicating what Gilbert called the "remarkable and versatile life" of Winston Churchill. The result is an epic piece of scholarship about a singularly epic life. The British first editions of the eight main text volumes were originally published between 1966 and 1988. These substantial main text volumes comprise the narrative story of Churchill’s life.
Reference: Zoller A301e. Item #005982