Hillsdale, Michigan: Hillsdale College Press, 2006. Hardcover. This is a full set of eight volumes of the Hillsdale College edition of the Official Biography of Sir Winston S. Churchill, signed in four volumes by the author, Sir Martin Gilbert. Volumes III, IV, V, and VI are signed “Martin Gilbert” just below his printed name on each title page, as was his custom. The volume III title page is additionally dated by Gilbert at the lower right “London | 2008”. All eight volumes in the set are as-new, the final two volumes still in the publisher’s original shrink wrap. The dust jackets of the six volumes not still in the publisher’s shrink wrap have been fitted with removable, clear, archival protectors. It seems plausible that this is the only set of this edition signed thus.
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.
Churchill’s Official biography is a fittingly epic piece of scholarship about a singularly epic life. The eight massive main text volumes were originally published between 1966 and 1988. Together, these main text volumes comprise the narrative story of Churchill’s entire, long, improbably eventful life. They were originally published in Britain by Heinemann and in the United States by Houghton Mifflin.
In addition to the eight main text volumes of Churchill’s Official Biography, 23 accompanying document volumes were published between 1967 and 2019. However, only the first 16 of these 23 were completed (the 16th published in 2000) before declining health and other obligations curtailed Gilbert’s efforts. Before Gilbert died, beginning in 2006, Hillsdale College undertook the task of re-publishing the main text volumes in the handsome hardcover edition offered here. Hillsdale also undertook republication of the 16 completed document volumes and committed to completing the final seven document volumes. The 23rd and final document volume was published by Hillsdale in 2019. Thus the Hillsdale editions offer collectors the only uniform, complete edition of Churchill’s Official Biography.
Gilbert’s age and infirmity are clearly evident in the shakiness of his signature in the last of the volumes in this set signed by him – Volume VI – which was published by Hillsdale College in 2011. Hillsdale College editions signed by Gilbert are quite scarce. Full eight-volume Hillsdale sets signed by Gilbert in the first four volumes he authored are unknown to us – with the exception of this set.
This large, heavy set (weighing more than 30 pounds and consuming nearly two feet of shelf space) will be shipped at cost. Reference: Zoller A301a-h. Item #006075