Item #007225 Liberalism and the Social Problem. Winston S. Churchill.
Liberalism and the Social Problem
Liberalism and the Social Problem
Liberalism and the Social Problem
Liberalism and the Social Problem
Liberalism and the Social Problem
Liberalism and the Social Problem
Liberalism and the Social Problem
Liberalism and the Social Problem
Liberalism and the Social Problem

Liberalism and the Social Problem

New York: Hodder & Stoughton and George H. Doran Co., 1910. First U.S. edition, only printing. Hardcover. There were only 465 copies of this first U.S. first edition of Churchill's third book of speeches (following Mr. Brodrick's Army and For Free Trade), making it among the smallest issues of any Churchill first edition. This copy is noteworthy in two respects. First, it is scarce by definition, but doubly so in such strikingly good condition. Second, this was the review copy of “a major figure in American periodical journalism for nearly half a century.”

This U.S. First edition was actually printed and bound in England and supplied to the New York publisher, George Doran. The smooth, burgundy cloth binding with its thin boards (possibly to keep weight down for overseas shipment) did not wear well, so superior copies are elusive.

This copy is very good plus. The binding is square, tight, clean, and unfaded with bright spine gilt and sharp corners. We note minor shelf wear to the spine ends and corners, a faint vertical spine crease, and a few trivial blemishes to the front cover. The contents are impressively bright, with no spotting or appreciable age-toning. The untrimmed fore and bottom edges appear almost immaculate, the top edges show only minor shelf dust.

Pencil notation on the front free endpaper recto is dated “1/17/10” – likely the date the book was received – above further notation (also in pencil, though likely in a different hand) “Review copy - | Albert Shaw’s copy | with pencil notes | He was editor of | Review of Reviews”. Margin notations are found within, at both pages of the Preface, as well as all 11 pages of the Introduction, and 38 pages of text (through p.152). Signatures from p.173 are uncut, indicating that the balance of the text was unread. A margin note on p.xv of the Introduction is signed “A.S.”

The book is housed in a full red Morocco goatskin Solander case featuring a rounded, hubbed spine, the spine bands gilt rule framed and gilt decorated, the covers with gilt rule borders, the interior lined with red velvet. Condition of the case is as-new, with no reportable wear, soiling, blemishes, or fading.

It is entirely appropriate that Albert Shaw (1857-1947) would have received Liberalism and the Social Problem for review. “As editor and publisher of the Review of Reviews, Albert Shaw was a major figure in American periodical journalism for nearly half a century.” (ANB) Early in his career, Shaw was affiliated with the Grinnell Herald the Minneapolis Tribune before becoming the founding editor and publisher of the American Review of Reviews, based on the namesake British journal. Under his direction, the Review of Reviews “became a well-respected and widely circulated… digest of progressive thought and political analysis.”

In 1904, Churchill quit the Conservative Party and joined the Liberals, beginning a dynamic chapter in his political career that saw him champion progressive causes and be branded a traitor to his class. When Liberalism and the Social Problem was published, Churchill, in his mid-30s, had just been promoted to a Cabinet position. His 21 speeches in this volume address a broad range of social issues still topical today, with the young Churchill trying to chart a progressive course between reactionary conservatism and radical socialism. This was a balance the Liberal Party ultimately failed to sustain; Churchill would remain a member of the Liberal Party until their ruinous electoral defeat in Britain’s 1922 General Election.

The Liberal Party electoral implosion is echoed in Shaw’s p.xv margin notation “What has become of Liberalism in 1935?”. Shaw evidently owned this copy for many years and referred to it more than once. By 1935, the world, and Churchill’s political fortunes and alignments, had radically changed. Churchill had rejoined the Conservatives in 1924. Ten years after Shaw wrote that margin note, Churchill, the once-progressive young lion of the Liberal Party, would be Britain’s wartime Prime Minister.

Reference: Reference: Cohen A29.2, Woods/ICS A15(ab), Langworth p.93. Item #007225

Price: $2,000.00

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