London: Cassell and Company Ltd., 1951. First edition, only printing. Hardcover. This is a particularly clean jacketed British first edition, only printing of the third of Churchill's five postwar speech volumes. In the Balance includes 58 speeches and broadcasts delivered between 26 January 1949 and 14 December 1950.
This British first edition, only printing, is increasingly scarce thus, near fine in a near fine dust jacket. We seldom offer individual volumes of this caliber outside of sets. The blue cloth binding is square, tight, and clean with sharp corners, vivid spine gilt, and no reportable wear. The contents are quite clean, with none of the typical spotting. Even the fore and bottom edges are clean, with only a hint of shelf dust to the tips of the bottom edges. The sole factor preventing our grading this copy as truly “fine” is an inked gift inscription on the front free endpaper recto – the only previous ownership mark. The dust jacket is unclipped, retaining the original front flap price, unusually clean and bright, and complete. We note only trivial wear confined to the spine ends and flap fold corners. The dust jacket is protected in a removable, clear, archival cover.
In the Balance was published on 18 October 1951, just a week before the Conservatives won the General Election, returning Churchill to Downing Street on 26 October 1951 at the age of 77. Befitting a Leader of the Opposition, Churchill's speeches address a wide range of domestic and foreign issues, including devaluation of the British Pound, the General Election of February 1950, the Korean War, and establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. By this time, the political experience that underpinned Churchill's postwar oratory was unrivaled. Member of Parliament for half a century, Churchill was beginning his sixth consecutive decade serving in a British Cabinet.
Perhaps nothing better speaks to Churchill's truly singular experience than his 31 March 1949 speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (at pages 40-51), where he gave a tour de force survey of the period 1900-1945 that is - characteristic of Churchill - both incisive and lyrical: "In 1900 a sense of moving hopefully forward to brighter, broader, easier days predominated. Little did we guess that what has been called the Century of the Common Man would witness as its outstanding feature more common men killing each other with greater facilities than any other five centuries put together in the history of the world... but it is not in the power of material forces in any period... to alter the main elements in human nature or restrict the infinite variety of forms in which the soul and genius of the human race can and will express itself." Fittingly, in 1953, Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, in part “…for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.”
Reference: Cohen A255.1, Woods/ICS A130(a), Langworth p.301. Item #006099