New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1939. First U.S. edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a first American edition, first printing of Churchill's last book published before the outbreak of the Second World War, finely bound in full navy goatskin deferential to the original navy cloth. The binding, commissioned in the early 1990s, features silver print on the spine and front cover and contents bound with two ribbon markers and red and yellow head and foot bands. The contents are suited to a fine binding, immaculately clean with no spotting and no previous ownership marks. Even the untrimmed fore and bottom edges remain pristine, showing only mild age-toning. The red stained top edge is likewise clean, retaining even hue.
Step By Step includes 82 newspaper articles focused on foreign affairs written by Churchill between March 1936 and May 1939 at the end of his "wilderness years". Many of them, of course, contain his warnings and predictions about Nazi Germany. Step By Step was published in June 1939. Only a few short months later, on the first day of September 1939, Germany invaded Poland. Churchill had spent the better part of a decade politically isolated, frequently at odds with both his party and prevailing public sentiment. Now he was invited to join the War Cabinet, reprising his First World War role as First Lord of the Admiralty.
Less than a year after Step By Step was published, in May 1940, Churchill became Prime Minister. As a measure of Churchill's prescience and ultimate vindication, when Step by Step was published Labour leader Clement Attlee, a political opponent who would replace Churchill as Prime Minister in late July 1945, wrote to Churchill, "It must be a melancholy satisfaction to you to see how right you were." Others were even more blunt. Sir Desmond Morton, military officer, government official, and appeasement opponent, wrote to Churchill, "Many years on, historians will read this and your speeches in Arms and the Covenant. They will wonder but I doubt they will decide what devil of pride, unbelief, selfishness or sheer madness possessed the English people that they did not rise as one man" and "call on you to lead them."
Reference: Cohen A111.2, Woods/ICS A45(b.1). Langworth p.198. Item #006682