London: Thornton Butterworth Limited, 1932. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This jacketed copy of the first edition, first printing is both scarce thus and bibliographically significant.
Thoughts and Adventures is Churchill's collection of 23 engaging essays on an incredibly wide variety of subjects. It has been called "The broadest range of Churchill's thought between two hard covers" and reflects the two qualities that so characterize Churchill's life - a remarkable breadth of both mind and life experience. The khaki cloth unique to the first printing of this edition is notoriously prone to scuffing, wear, and soiling, and the contents proved highly susceptible to spotting. Absent the protection of the original dust jacket – which is quite scarce - nearly every copy we encounter is significantly scuffed and spine toned.
This copy is compelling, both for condition and for the bibliographic mystery it presents. Condition approaches near fine in a very good dust jacket. The khaki cloth binding is square, tight, and beautifully clean and bright as only a jacketed copy can be. We note only minor shelf wear to extremities and bumped lower corners. Differential toning to the endpapers corresponding to the dust jacket flaps confirms what the binding already testifies – that this copy has spent life jacketed. The contents retain a crisp, unread feel. We find no previous ownership marks and light spotting appears almost entirely confined to the page edges.
The dust jacket is the puzzle. Although this copy has clearly spent life jacketed, the jacket is that previously attributed to the second printing, evidenced by different text on the front flap (adding review excerpts from various newspapers) and the addition of four lines in red on the front cover: “The opinion of the Press | is summarized in the words | of the ‘MORNING POST’ | ‘A TONIC FOR THE TIMES.” Churchill’s bibliographer, Ronald Cohen, speculated (Vol. I, p.384) that first printing dust jackets would have been used until they ran out, ostensibly some time during the second printing. However, clearly the publisher had an incentive to use the updated jackets with press reviews as soon as these became available.
The first, second, and third printings of the first edition were all published in the same month – November 1932. In fact, as a result of strong pre-publication orders, the second printing actually took place before the 10 November publication date. (Cohen, Vol. I, p.380) It is clear that first and second printings at least were virtually concurrent. As evidenced by this copy, the revised dust jackets with the newspaper review excerpts added to the front face and front flap must have become available earlier than previously speculated. Hence this jacket is not a second printing dust jacket, as previously assumed, but rather a second state of the first printing.
The jacket is nearly complete with trivial loss confined to the spine extremities, the lower left of the front face, and the flap fold ends. The spine is only lightly toned and soiled with a one-inch (2.5 cm) closed tear at the upper front hinge. The jacket is protected beneath a clear, removable, archival cover.
An original blurb for Thoughts and Adventures encapsulates – as far as is possible – the wide range of the chapters within: “These true stories concern such things as the tides that make a politician change his mind; the domination of chance in human lives; the cartoonists who mocked Churchill; the chances and events that occurred while he was in the trenches; phases of the war seen from intimate participation with the high commands; flying experiences in 1912; the Irish; the future; and contemporary change." In a 31 May 1932 letter to his publisher about the book, Churchill characterized it thus: "...although there is no one single theme, it has some of the best things in it I have ever written."
Reference: Cohen A95.1.a, Woods/ICS A39(aa.1), Langworth p.156. Item #006181