Arms and the Covenant. Winston S. Churchill.
Arms and the Covenant
Arms and the Covenant
Arms and the Covenant

Arms and the Covenant

London: George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd., 1938. First Edition, only printing. Hardcover. This book is the precursor to Churchill’s great war speeches, the first edition, only printing – an unusually clean and bright unjacketed copy. Copies lacking the elusive and expensive original dust jacket are typically significantly worn and faded. This copy is a refreshing exception, in near fine condition. The blue cloth binding remains square, tight, and clean, with bright spine gilt, sharp corners, and no appreciable wear. The sole defect of note is mild, even spine toning. There is definitely a color shift between the covers and spine, but nonetheless spine presentation is as good as we see in copies unprotected by the dust jacket. The contents are equally impressive, noteworthy for the absence of both previous ownership marks and any of the spotting endemic to the edition. The contents retain a crisp feel and age-toning is quite mild, apparent only on the otherwise clean fore and bottom edges. The blue-stained top edges retain dark color, just slightly dust-dulled. This copy is about as good as can be expected for an unjacketed example, and even in rather better condition than many jacketed volumes we have encountered.

Arms and the Covenant has been called "…the permanent record of one man’s unceasing struggle in the face of resentment, apathy, and complacency" and "probably the most crucial volume of speeches that he ever published." (Frederick Woods) The book contains text from 41 Churchill speeches spanning 25 October 1928 to 24 March 1938. These criticize British foreign policy and warn prophetically of the coming danger. The world remembers the resolute war leader to whom the British turned, but it is easy to forget the years leading up to the war, which Churchill spent persistent, eloquent, and largely unheeded, often at odds with both his own political party and prevailing public sentiment.

The speeches were compiled by Churchill's son, Randolph, who contributed a preface and is credited with compilation. Randolph would do the same for his father's first volume of war speeches, Into Battle, published in an almost unrecognizable world less than three years later. The “Covenant” in the title of Arms and the Covenant refers to the League of Nations Covenant, the instrument that was to maintain peace in the wake of the First World War. As testimony to the book's importance, a copy of the U.S. edition (less delicately titled While England Slept) lay on "President Roosevelt's bedside table, with key passages, including an analysis of the president's peace initiative, underscored" (William Manchester's The Last Lion, Volume II, p.305). The British first edition saw only a single printing of 5,000 copies published on 24 June 1938.

Reference: Cohen A107.1. Woods/ICS A44(a), Langworth p.191. Item #006394

Price: $500.00

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