The World Crisis: 1911-1914. Winston S. Churchill.
The World Crisis: 1911-1914
The World Crisis: 1911-1914
The World Crisis: 1911-1914

The World Crisis: 1911-1914

London: Thornton Butterworth Limited, 1923. First edition, second printing. Hardcover. This is a British first edition, second printing, of the first volume of Winston Churchill's monumental history of The First World War. 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”. Then, being Churchill, he wrote about it. This first volume (1911-1914) covers the first four years Churchill spent as First Lord of the Admiralty, as well as the beginning of the war.

The first edition, second printing was actually ordered prior to publication, but printed on 13 April, just three days after publication of the first printing. (See Cohen, Vol. I, p.242.) It is virtually identical to the first printing, differing only in the copyright page notation of a second printing, correction of a few errata, and a boxed list of other works by the author added to the prelims. The “second edition” on the title page verso is erroneous. Churchill’s bibliographer Ronald I. Cohen [A69.2(1).d] correctly designates this as first edition, second printing, following the second and third states of the first printing and without sufficient changes in content or appearance to constitute a new edition. Indeed, there would eventually be eight printings of the edition, spanning 1923-1930.

Condition is very good. The blue cloth binding is square, tight, and bright with vivid spine gilt and sharp corners. Modest shelf wear is confined to extremities with a few faint signs of handling on the boards and a small stain on the front cover just above the blind-stamped title panel. The contents are atypically clean for the edition, with no spotting and no previous ownership marks. Modest age-toning is readily apparent only to the page edges. The fore and bottom edges are, like the contents, atypically clean and the top edge shows only shelf dust.

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).

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. 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 A69.2(I).d, Woods/ICS A31(ab), Langworth p.105. Item #006813

Price: $100.00

See all items in Winston Churchill
See all items by