London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1931. First edition. Half leather. This is the first edition, first printing of the first volume appearance of Winston S. Churchill's engaging speculative history essay "If Lee Had Not Won the Battle of Gettysburg". Churchill's intriguing piece first appeared in Scribner's Magazine in December 1930 as part of a series of "What If" articles by eminent authors of the time. In 1931, Longmans published this book-length work on the same theme, including Churchill's piece at pp. 173-196.
We commissioned this magnificent binding in half red Morocco goatskin over marbled paper-covered boards. The hubbed spine features gilt tooling on and framing the raised spine bands, as well as twin dark brown spine labels. The covers feature gilt rule transitions between the Morocco spine and corners and the marbled-paper sides. The contents are bound with matching marbled endpapers, silk head and foot bands, and gilt top edge. The newly commissioned binding is flawless. The contents are crisp and clean with no previous ownership marks. The only appreciable soiling is a small stain to the upper fore edges (that does not intrude on the contents within), as well as an incidental hint of spotting confined to the fore edges.
This British first edition preceded an American counterpart and, oddly, we find it scarcer even than copies of the original magazine publication. Churchill's essay herein displays the commanding grasp of history and the facility for extrapolation that made him so formidable as both a statesman and a writer. Moreover, his interest in America's great struggle was quite serious; Churchill toured Virginia battlefields with the great Civil War historian Douglas Southall Freeman and toured Gettysburg with none other than Dwight Eisenhower. Thirty years later, Churchill would publish a book on the subject, The American Civil War (1961), excerpted from his epic A History of the English-Speaking Peoples.
Reference: Cohen B43.1.a, Woods B18. Item #006122