New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1900. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is the U.S. and true first edition of Churchill's third published book and only novel. Of note, this is one of the few Churchill books for which the U.S. edition is the true first edition. In fact, the British first edition was issued from American plates. This copy is in very good plus condition, housed in a full green morocco Solander case. The publisher’s original blue cloth binding is clean, bright, and tight. Notably, this copy is also square, despite the susceptibility of this edition to a forward lean. Shelf presentation is excellent, the gilt vivid and the blue hue undimmed; we perceive no color shift between the covers and spine. The only detraction which keeps us from rating this copy as near fine is a 1 x .625 inch (2.54 x 1.59 cm) superficial scuff and attendant loss of color to the lower rear cover. Wear is otherwise quite modest, substantially confined to extremities.
The contents are notably bright and clean, with no previous ownership marks and no spotting. The page edges are clean apart from mild, uniform age-toning and perhaps the faintest suggestion of a little dust to the top edges. The binding is protected beneath a clear, removable mylar cover. The book is protected within a full dark green goatskin Solander case with rounded spine, gilt framed and decorated spine bands, gilt bordered covers, and dark-green felt-lined interior. Condition of the case is fine, with no reportable wear, soiling, or toning.
A very young Churchill was exuberant about publication at the time. Even though Savrola was his third published book, it was actually the first book he undertook and the second he completed. His “Tale of the Revolution in Laurania” is a melodramatic tale of political intrigue in a fictional Mediterranean state. He would later make deprecating comments about his novel and it is perhaps instructive that he never wrote another. In his 1930 autobiography he wrote, "I have consistently urged my friends to abstain from reading it [Savrola]." However, his mixed feelings about his only novel did not keep Churchill from writing a foreword to a new edition in 1956: "The preface to the first edition in 1900 submitted the book 'with considerable trepidation to the judgment or the clemency of the public.' The intervening fifty-five years have somewhat dulled though certainly not changed my sentiments on this point."
It has been argued that, as a literary effort, Savrola gave “dramatic voice to Churchill’s mature philosophical reflections about his fundamental political and ethical principles at the very moment when he settled on them for the rest of his life.” (Powers, Finest Hour #74) Irrespective of Churchill's feelings about his book or the literary merit thereof, the novel certainly provides an interesting insight into the early political perspective and sentiment of the then very young Churchill.
Reference: Cohen A3.1.a, Woods/ICS A3(a.1), Langworth p.39. Item #006035