London: Thornton Butterworth, Ltd., 1927. First edition, fifth printing. Hardcover. This is a jacketed British first edition, fifth printing of the second volume of Winston Churchill's monumental history of The First World War. In this volume Churchill provides his perspective on the disastrous Dardanelles offensive, which devolved to slaughter at Gallipoli and nearly ended Churchill’s career.
The fifth printing of the British first edition occurred in 1927 and the binding is identical to that of the first printing. The only substantive changes to the contents are the addition of Appendix IV ("Lord Fisher's Resignation") and of course the notation of the four preceding printings on the copyright page. On the copyright page, the publisher erroneously designates this as the “Second Impression” of the “Second Edition”; Cohen rightly designates this as the fifth printing of the First British Edition (Cohen A69.2(II).e, Vol. I, p.248). Of note, the dust jacket spine, front panel, and front flap are identical to that of the first printing. The rear panel contains advertisements for the 1911-1914 and 1916-1918 volumes, while the rear flap has a synopsis of Beaverbrook's Politicians and the War. Unique among dust jackets for the later printings of the first edition that we have examined, this fifth printing dust jacket paper features a pronounced vertical line pattern evocative of laid paper.
This copy is very good plus in a very good dust jacket. The blue cloth binding is strikingly bright and clean with light shelf wear confined to extremities and a hint of blistering at the front cover edge adjacent to the spine and along the bottom edge of the rear cover. The contents are crisp and clean. Differential toning to the endpapers corresponds with the dust jacket flaps. We find no previous ownership marks. Light spotting and soiling are confined to the top and fore edges. The dust jacket is substantially complete, with small chip losses confined to the spine ends and corners. The jacket is lightly soiled, the spine mildly toned. The dust jacket is protected within a removable, archival quality clear cover.
A quarter of a century before the Second World War endowed him with lasting fame, Winston Churchill played a uniquely critical, controversial, and varied role in the “War to end all wars”. 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. And, of course, Churchill famously returned to the Admiralty in September 1939. 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.
The World Crisis was originally published in six volumes between 1923 and 1931, with the first four volumes spanning the war years 1911-1918 and the final two volumes covering the postwar years 1918-1928 (The Aftermath) and the Eastern theatre (The Eastern Front).
Reference: Cohen A69.2(II).e, Woods/ICS A31(ab2.5), Langworth p.105. Item #006767