London: Cassell and Company, Ltd., 1948. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a six-volume jacketed set of British first editions of The Second World War, Churchill's history of the epic 20th Century struggle that was so indelibly stamped by his leadership. Jacketed British first edition sets in marginal condition are not uncommon. However, the coarse cloth bindings of this edition proved susceptible to soiling and mildew, the contents (printed on post-war "Economy Standards" paper) proved highly prone to spotting, the red-stained top edges are most often severely faded, and the dust jackets proved exceptionally vulnerable to pronounced spine toning.
This set suffers few of the typical deficiencies, comprised of near fine first edition, first printing volumes in very good or better dust jackets. The black cloth bindings are uniformly square, clean, and tight with bright spine gilt, and only incidental shelf wear to extremities. We note only one small corner bump in the set. The contents are noteworthy for the total absence of either spotting or previous ownership marks. We note only incidental soiling and toning to the fore and bottom edges. The red topstain is only mildly sunned and uniformly so, leaving a fairly consistent dark pink color across all six volumes. The dust jackets are entirely complete, with no reportable loss and all six front flaps retaining the original publisher’s price. Apart from a few minor instances of soiling and trivial wear to extremities, the only defect is the spine toning endemic to the edition. This toning varies in severity, most noticeable in the earlier volumes, least in the last. Nonetheless, all six red subtitles on the jacket spines remain clearly legible. The dust jackets are protected beneath removable, clear, archival covers.
Seldom, if ever, has history endowed a statesman with both singular ability to make history, and singular ability to write it. As with so much of what Churchill wrote, The Second World War is not "history" in the strictly academic, objectivist sense, but rather Churchill's perspective on history. In his March 1948 introduction to the first volume, Churchill himself made the disclaimer, "I do not describe it as history... it is a contribution to history..." Nonetheless the compelling fact remains, as stated by Churchill himself, "I am perhaps the only man who has passed through both the two supreme cataclysms of recorded history in high Cabinet office... I was for more than five years in this second struggle with Germany the Head of His Majesty's government. I write, therefore, from a different standpoint and with more authority than was possible in my earlier books." Certainly The Second World War may be regarded as an intensely personal and inherently biased history. Nonetheless, Churchill's work remains essential, iconic, and a vital part of the historical record. Richard Langworth calls the six-volume epic "indispensable reading for anyone who seeks a true understanding of the war that made us what we are today." Please note that this set may require additional postage depending on destination.
Reference: Cohen A240.4(I-VI).a, Woods/ICS A123(ba), Langworth p.264. Item #006281