London: Macmillan and Company, 1907. Hardcover. This is the 1907 first one-volume unabridged edition of Winston Churchill’s biography of his father. The British first edition was published in two volumes in 1906. In 1907, the publisher issued this one-volume edition, containing the full text of the two-volume work as originally published in 1906, but printed on thinner paper. The binding closely resembles the first edition of just a year earlier.
Condition is very good. The red cloth binding is square and tight with light overall scuffing, shelf wear to extremities, and light, uniform spine toning. The contents are bright and clean. Trivial spotting appears confined to the prelims. The sole previous ownership mark is the word “LIBRARY” stamped on the front pastedown, a further line of print above this no longer legible. The first signature, spanning the half title through the Preface, is a loosening, still held but only just by the binding cords. The gilt top edge is a bit dulled and dusty, the fore and bottom edges bright apart from the light spotting.
Winston Churchill’s biography of his father focuses on Lord Randolph's career in Parliament after 1880. Lord Randolph died in January 1895 at age 45 following the spectacular collapse of both his health and political career. Winston was 20 years old. When he first contemplated writing his father's biography Winston Churchill was an itinerant soldier and war correspondent who had yet to write his first book. The son still dwelt very much in his father's shadow, both emotionally and in terms of the political career to which he already aspired.
By the time Lord Randolph Churchill was published in 1906, the young Winston Churchill already had half a dozen books to his credit and half a decade in Parliament. By 1906 Churchill had already left his father's political party, prevailed in the same political battle that had terminated his father's career, and was just two years from his first Cabinet post. Nonetheless, that Churchill would be selected as biographer by Lord Randolph's executors was not a foregone conclusion. Churchill first entertained the idea soon after his father's death, but it was not until late in 1902 that he was appointed.
Churchill then spent two and a half years researching and writing. We can assume that it was not only a major literary effort, but an emotional one as well. Of the work, Churchill wrote to Lord Rosebery on 11 September 1902 "It is all most interesting to me - and melancholy too" (R. Churchill, Companion Volume II, Part 1, p.438). Churchill was criticized by some reviewers for overplaying his father's accomplishments. Nonetheless, the work was well received both as a frank portrayal of Randolph's extremes and as a showcase for the son's literary talent.
Reference: Cohen A17.4, Woods/ICS A8(b), Langworth p.74. Item #006867