London: George Newnes Limited, 1935. First Illustrated edition. Hardcover. This is the first illustrated edition of Churchill's history of the First World War, a full, four-volume set of the striking "Home Library" issue in superior condition. This edition was published in 26 magazine format parts in 1933 and 1934. "Magazine format" does not do justice to the publication, which is profusely illustrated on very durable, heavy paper. The publisher subsequently offered two different 3-volume binding options. A final publisher offering in 1935 was this four-volume set produced jointly with The Home Library Book Company. This last binding option is the most elaborate and aesthetically impressive. It features silver, gilt, and blind stamped decoration on deeply textured red boards with beveled edges. The contents are bound with marbled endpapers, gilt top edges, and silk head and foot bands. This binding commands attention on the shelf.
Condition of this set is better than very good plus. The bindings are bright and clean with compelling shelf appearance and only minor blemishes and light shelf wear to extremities. The contents are clean. The sole incidence of spotting is a dozen tiny spots confined to the fore edge of Vol. II. The sole previous ownership mark we find dates to the Second World War – an inked name and the date “1942” on the upper left front free endpaper verso.
Churchill titled his history The World Crisis, which was originally published in six volumes between 1923 and 1931. It was re-titled The Great War for this first illustrated edition. Churchill was in a special position to write the history of the First World War, which nearly cost him both his political and corporeal lives and in which he played such a critical, controversial, and varied role. First Lord of the Admiralty from 1911 until 1915, after the Dardanelles disaster and the slaughter at Gallipoli, Churchill was scapegoated and forced to resign. He spent political exile as a lieutenant colonel of a battalion in the trenches. Before war's end, Churchill was exonerated and rejoined the Government, foreshadowing the political isolation and restoration he would experience nearly 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.
Please note that this large heavy set may require additional postage.
Reference: Cohen A69.9.d, Woods/ICS A31(dc), Langworth p.11. Item #007215