New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1956. Publisher's presentation issue of the U.S. first edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a full publisher's presentation set of the U.S. first edition of Churchill's sweeping history and last great work. Unusually clean condition coupled with publisher presentation status renders this set compelling.
The work was issued in four volumes between 1956 and 1958. This U.S. first edition is not to be confused with the similar looking Book-of-the-Month-Club (BOMC) edition and is far less often seen than its British counterpart. Quite scarcer still are the small number of U.S. first editions produced featuring the words "PRESENTATION EDITION. NOT FOR SALE" printed on the copyright page of each volume. In all other respects such copies are identical to normal U.S. first editions, including the $6.00 price on the dust jacket flap. This set additionally features the publisher’s printed presentation card “With Compliments of | Dodd, Mead & Company, Inc.” laid in at the title page.
This full, four-volume publisher's presentation set is near fine plus in very good plus dust jackets. All four volumes feature the distinctive presentation edition print on the copyright page. All four volumes also state "First Edition" on the copyright page. All four first edition dust jackets are unclipped, retaining the original “$6.00” front flap prices. The bindings are clean, tight, and square with sharp corners. Trivial shelf wear is confined to extremities. The contents are clean and bright with no spotting and no previous ownership marks. The red topstain remains strong on all four volumes, with just a bit of mild irregularity to the Volume I topstain. Even the untrimmed text block fore edges are clean and bright. The dust jackets are bright, clean, and complete. Incidental wear is substantially confined to extremities. These jackets, so conspicuously prone to spine fading, show only the slightest sunning of the spines; shelf presentation is excellent. Each dust jacket is fitted with a clear, removable, archival cover. The publisher’s presentation card is likewise now housed in a clear, removable, archival sleeve.
Churchill's four volume epic, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, was published between 1956 and 1958. The work traces a great historical arc from Roman Britain through the end of the Nineteenth Century, ending with the death of Queen Victoria. Perhaps not coincidentally, this is the very year that saw Churchill conclude his first North American lecture tour, take his first seat in Parliament, and begin to make history himself. The work itself was two decades in the making. The Churchillian conceptions that underpinned it were lifelong. The cultural commonality and vitality of English-speaking peoples animated Churchill throughout his life, from his Victorian youth in an ascendant British Empire to his twilight in the midst of the American century.
Given the subject matter, among all of Churchill’s many published book-length works, a distinct U.S. first edition of this particular work – quite striking as well as strikingly different in appearance from its British first edition counterpart – seems entirely appropriate.
Churchill began A History of the English-Speaking Peoples in the 1930s, completing a draft of "about half a million words" which was set aside when Churchill returned to the Admiralty and to war in September 1939. The work was fittingly interrupted by an unprecedented alliance among the English-speaking peoples during the Second World War - an alliance Churchill personally did much to cultivate, cement, and sustain. The interruption continued as Churchill bent his literary efforts to his six-volume history, The Second World War, and then his remaining political energies to his second and final premiership from 1951-1955.
Reference: Cohen A267.3, Woods/ICS A138(ab), Langworth p.318. Item #007248