My Early Life. Winston S. Churchill.
My Early Life
My Early Life
My Early Life
My Early Life

My Early Life

New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1979. Hudson River Editions issue, second printing. Hardcover. This is the 1979 printing of a handsome and elusive reprint of Churchill's enduringly popular autobiography. The first U.S. edition of My Early Life (originally titled A Roving Commission in the U.S.) was published by Scribner's in 1930. The Scribner’s "Hudson River" series produced quality, low-volume reprints of important titles previously published by Scribner's. Churchill’s bibliographer Ronald Cohen cites 1977 and 1979 printings. This is the 1979 printing of the Hudson River Editions issue. This is a handsome edition, the binding in heavy, dark blue cloth with silver spine print, the contents bound with blue and yellow head and tail bands and light blue endpapers. The dust jackets are printed blue and black on heavy, ivory-hued laid paper stock printed in blue and black.

Condition of both volume and dust jacket is very good plus. The binding is beautifully bright and clean with sharp corners, marred only by wrinkling at the head of the spine. The contents are immaculately clean and bright with no spotting or age-toning. The sole previous ownership mark is an embossed device (personal library) at the lower right corner of the title page. The dust jacket is compete, with no loss or tears, the spine very faintly toned with wrinkling at the head (corresponding to that of the binding), trivial hints of wear to extremities, and very light soiling. The dust jacket is protected beneath a clear, removable, archival cover.

One can hardly ask for more adventurous content than the non-fiction (well, mostly) between the covers of My Early Life. These momentous and formative years for Churchill included his time as an itinerant war correspondent and cavalry officer in theaters ranging from Cuba, to northwest India, to sub-Saharan and southern Africa. Churchill also recounts his capture and escape during the Boer War, which made him a celebrity and helped launch his political career. Herein Churchill says:

"Twenty to twenty-five! These are the years!
Don't be content with things as they are.
'The earth is yours and the fulness thereof'.
Enter upon your inheritance, accept your responsibilities....
Don't take No for an answer. Never submit to failure...
You will make all kinds of mistakes; but as long as you are generous and true,
and also fierce, you cannot hurt the world or even seriously distress her.
She was made to be wooed and won by youth." (MEL, p.74)

By the end of his own twenty-fifth year, Churchill had been one of the world’s highest paid war correspondents, published his first five books, made his first lecture tour of North America, braved and breasted both battlefields and the hustings, and been elected to Parliament, where he would take his first seat only weeks after the end of Queen Victoria’s reign.

My Early Life remains one of the most popular and widely read of all Churchill's books. An original 1930 review likened it to a "beaker of Champagne." That effervescent charm endures; a more recent writer called it "a racy, humorous, self-deprecating classic of autobiography." To be sure, Churchill takes some liberties with facts and perhaps unduly lightens or over-simplifies certain events. Nonetheless, the factual experiences of Churchill’s early life compete with any fiction, and any liberties taken are forgivable, in keeping with the wit, pace, and engaging style that characterize the book.

Reference: Cohen A91.16.b, Woods/ICS A37(hb.1), Langworth p.143. Item #007106

Price: $250.00

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