London: Doubleday, 1998. First edition. Hardcover. This first edition is inscribed by the Editor the month after publication in black ink in three lines below her printed name on the title page: “For Anet | Mary Soames | Nov: ‘98”. This first edition is an attractive production. The contents feature numerous illustrations within the text, endpapers illustrated with Winston and Clementine's drawings and writing, and are bound with head and foot bands. The illustrated dust jacket is striking, featuring numerous images of Winston and Clementine and excerpts from their letters.
Condition of this inscribed copy is fine in a fine dust jacket. The binding is square, clean, and tight with sharp corners and no appreciable wear apart from a small indentation along the upper front cover hinge. The contents are immaculate, with no spotting, toning, or marks other than the Editor’s inscription. The dust jacket is crisp, bright, clean, and complete, showing virtually no wear and retaining the original publisher’s price on the lower front flap. The dust jacket is protected beneath a removable, clear, archival cover. We acquired this copy directly from the person for and to whom it was inscribed.
This book contains letters exchanged between Winston Churchill and his wife, Clementine, spanning their courtship in 1908 to 1964, just before Winston’s death. The Editor, Baroness Mary Soames, nee Mary Spencer-Churchill (1922-2014), was the youngest and longest-lived of Winston and Clementine's five children. She was raised at Chartwell. During the Second World War, Mary joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, serving in anti-aircraft batteries. Later in the war, Mary accompanied her father on several of his journeys abroad, including his journey to Quebec and the Potsdam summit with Truman and Stalin. She demobilized in 1946 and in February 1947 Winston walked Mary up the aisle when she married Arthur Christopher John Soames. Lady Soames also contributed a Preface to this volume.
The marriage of Winston (1874-1965) and Clementine (1885-1977) Churchill endured almost fifty-seven years, until Winston’s death. Clementine Churchill, nee Clementine Hozier, first met Winston at a ball in 1904, where he made a poor impression. In March 1908 she was placed next to Winston at a dinner party, where he apparently made a better impression; they married on 12 September 1908. Their marriage brought five children: Diana (b. 1909); Randolph (b. 1911); Sarah (b. 1914); Marigold (b. 1918); and Mary (b. 1922). Clementine brought "a shrewd political intelligence. She supplied balance to Churchill at two levels: her more equable nature ensured that she moderated the depth of his depressions, and her good judgment helped to ward off political mistakes." (ODNB) Their marriage appears to have been a truly effective and intimate partnership. "Throughout their married life, even if separated for only a few days, Clementine and Winston wrote spontaneous and informal letters to one another, intimately affectionate in tone, using their pet names Pug and Kat and reinforced with appropriate animal drawings." The publisher says, without hyperbole, that "their letters serve not only as a revealing portrait of their characters and their relationship, but also as a unique political and social history..."
Reference: Cohen A299.1. Item #006804