New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1927. First U.S. edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a jacketed U.S. first edition set of the 1916-1918 volumes of Winston Churchill’s monumental history of the First World War, The World Crisis, in the original publisher's slipcase. The events of these 1916-1918 volumes include Churchill's time at the Front following his political exile and his subsequent return to the Cabinet. This set features strikingly fine volumes in near fine dust jackets in a worn and tape-reinforced but nonetheless substantially complete slipcase.
The volumes are truly fine. The bindings and contents of both volumes are pristine as only unread sets that have spent life jacketed and slipcased can be. The maroon cloth bindings are vividly hued, immaculate, and show no reportable wear. The volumes feel unread, the contents crisp and clean with no spotting, soiling, or previous ownership marks. The jackets approach near fine, complete, with no loss and retaining the “$10.00 Two Volumes” pricing on each upper front flap. The jacket spines are evenly toned but nonetheless clean, the Vol. I rear face and Vol. II front face each uniformly toned where they were long in contact with the cardboard slipcase. The dust jackets are now fitted with clear, removable, archival covers. The slipcase is complete, but battered, inexpertly reinforced with heavy clear tape at the upper and lower seams and with considerable overall wear and soiling.
Both the U.S. and British editions were originally published as six individual volumes between 1923 and 1931. The U.S. is the true first edition, as U.S. Volume I publication preceded the British. Today, jacketed first editions are quite scarce - jacketed U.S. editions even more so. Scarcer still is the original U.S. publisher's slipcase for the 1916-1918 first editions; Charles Scribner's Sons originally issued the two 1916-1918 volumes as a boxed set in a cardboard slipcase. Of the few surviving slipcases we have seen, some have three pasted labels. A large, 8.25 x 5.75 inches (21 x 14.6 cm) label printed dark red on ivory on the right side of the slipcase features an extensive blurb about Churchill and the work. A smaller label on the upper spine of the slipcase, likewise printed dark red on ivory, measures 4 x 3.25 inches (10.2 x 8.3 cm) and features the title, author, and publisher. A bright orange promotional label on the lower portion of the slipcase spine measuring 3.75 x 3 inches (9.5 x 7.6 cm) features black print advertising Churchill's preceding World Crisis volumes. This slipcase features all three labels, including the orange, promotional label.
In October 1911, aged 36, Winston Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. He entered the post with the brief to change war strategy and ensure the readiness of the world’s most powerful navy. He did both. Even Secretary of State for War Lord Kitchener, with whom Churchill had been variously at odds for nearly two decades, told Churchill on his final day as First Lord “Well, there is one thing at any rate they cannot take from you. The Fleet was ready." (The World Crisis: 1915, p.391) Nonetheless, when Churchill advocated successfully for a naval campaign in the Dardanelles that ultimately proved disastrous, a convergence of factors sealed his political fate. Churchill was scapegoated and forced to resign, leaving the Admiralty in May 1915.
By November, Churchill resigned even his nominal Cabinet posts to spend the rest of his political exile as a lieutenant colonel leading a battalion in the trenches at the Front. Before war's end, Churchill was exonerated by the Dardanelles Commission and rejoined the Government, foreshadowing the political isolation and restoration he would experience two decades later leading up to the Second World War. Despite Churchill's political recovery, the stigma of the Dardanelles lingered. Hence Churchill had more than just literary and financial compulsion to write his history.
Reference: Cohen A69.1(III-1&2).a, Woods/ICS A31(aa), Langworth p.104. Item #006751