London: Cassell and Company Ltd., 1952. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a finely bound, first printing set of the three-volume "definitive" edition of Churchill's war speeches, published during Churchill's second and final premiership. The bindings are magnificent, executed in full dark green morocco goatskin, featuring spines with gilt ruled and tooled bands and red title panels, and the Marlborough arms in gilt on each front cover. The contents are bound with all edges gilt, gold and green silk head and foot bands, green satin ribbon marker, and strikingly handsome marbled endpapers framed by elaborately gilt dentelles. The three volumes are housed in a stout dark green buckram slipcase with the Marlborough arms in gilt on the side. Condition of the bindings is immaculate, with no discernible wear or defects. The contents are clean and unmarked with the sole exception of a discreet previous owner name dated “5/12 ‘64” - eight months before Churchill’s death – on the upper right corner of the Vol. II front free endpaper recto.
During his long public life, Winston Churchill played many roles worthy of note - Member of Parliament for more than half a century, soldier and war correspondent, author of scores of books, ardent social reformer, combative cold warrior, Nobel Prize winner, painter. But Churchill's preeminence as a historical figure owes most to his indispensable leadership during the Second World War, when his soaring and defiant oratory sustained his countrymen and inspired the free world. Of Churchill, Edward R. Murrow said: "He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle." When Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953, it was partly “…for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.”
Between 1941 and 1946, Churchill's war speeches were published in seven individual volumes. Charles Eade played a critical role in their original publication, as well as in the publication of this edition issued during Churchill's second premiership. Eade (1903-1964) was a noted figure in British journalism. In 1938 he became editor of the Sunday Dispatch, a post he held until 1957. Eade was also an early radio sports commentator, and during the Second World War served as public relations advisor to Louis Mountbatten. In 1942 Eade stepped in as compiler of Churchill's wartime speech volumes, replacing Churchill's son, Randolph, who had been called to wartime service. Notably, he offered his services free of charge, stating, "my reward for the task would be the pleasure of doing it" (7 May 1941 letter from Charles Eade to Kathleen Hill). Eade ultimately edited six of the seven wartime volumes - all except the first, Into Battle. For this "definitive" edition of Churchill's war speeches, Eade returned to the role.
In 1952, during Churchill's second premiership, the publisher reissued the War Speeches as a new, three-volume edition. This edition is, in many ways, superior to the original seven wartime editions in both aesthetics and content. Gone is the cheap economy paper of the wartime editions. The publisher's binding is a heavy navy cloth with attractive, uniform dust jackets. The books each measure a substantial 10 x 6.25 inches. New speeches are added, as is a helpful index. Some of the original speeches considered peripheral are eliminated while others are retitled and chronological dates are replaced with brief transitional or introductory notes.
Reference: Cohen A263.1(I-III).a, Woods/ICS A136(a.1), Langworth p.303. Item #006091