Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1933. First U.S. edition. Hardcover. This is a jacketed first U.S. edition, first printing, of the first volume of the War Memoirs of David Lloyd George, covering the years 1914-1915.
The edition was quite handsome, the substantial volume measuring 9.5 x 6.5 inches (24.1 x 16.5 cm), bound in red cloth with blind-rule bordered front covers featuring David Lloyd George’s gilt-stamped facsimile signature and spines capped with double gilt rules. The contents are illustrated, including a frontispiece. Each of the eventual six volumes (published between 1933 and 1937) was issued in a striking dust jacket, printed blue, red, and black on white stock, the spine featuring black title and publisher panels bordered in white and a thick vertical red stripe bordered in white and centered in a blue field.
Condition of this first edition, first printing, of the first volume approaches very good in a very good dust jacket. The red cloth binding is square and tight with minimal shelf wear confined to extremities and unfaded color, but nonetheless showing light overall soiling. The dust jacket is not only unclipped, retaining the original “$4.00” front flap price, but also retains the original perforated order form for the subsequent volumes attached to the rear flap. The jacket shows moderate overall soiling, mild spine toning, and minor wear and chipping to extremities, as well as a small spot of insect damage to the rear panel adjacent to the flap fold. Despite these flaws, the jacket is notably near-complete with quite respectable shelf presentation. The jacket is protected beneath a removable, archival quality clear cover.
David Lloyd George, first Earl of Dwyfor (1863-1945) had an early interest in politics, leveraging a law career and compelling speaking skills to win his first seat in Parliament in 1890. He represented his Caernarfon Boroughs constituency for the remaining 55 years of his life. As Chancellor of the Exchequer (1908-1914) Lloyd George introduced the 1909 progressive and reformist ‘People’s Budget’, which won passage, helped the Liberals win an election, and proved “The main landmark of Lloyd George's social programme” and “an immense constitutional landmark as well.” (ODNB)
During the First World War, Lloyd George excelled as Minister of Munitions, becoming Secretary of State for War following Kitchener’s death. As Winston Churchill would do in the Second World War, Lloyd George succeeded his own party’s weak prime minister during the First World War, replacing H. H. Asquith in 1916. Though he ended the war quite popular, Lloyd George’s postwar efficacy was eroded by a fractious coalition, a series of political miscalculations exacerbated by post-war circumstances, and the rise of the Labour Party. He left the premiership in October 1922 and by 1924 his Liberals were reduced to a weak third party.
By the 1930s, Lloyd George’s “main and exhausting task… was the writing of massive works of reminiscence… the War Memoirs, are a remarkable achievement, which bear comparison with Churchill's… Based on a vast array of private materials, in them Lloyd George refought the old battles of wartime with zest, to confound critics and justify himself. These volumes are central to the long, ongoing debate on the strategy and ethics of the First World War. They were also implicitly arguing the case for a totally different approach towards Germany and international affairs in the 1930s. Their purpose was the present as much as the past.” (ODNB). Item #006217