Item #007370 My Early Life, a variant binding unknown to bibliographers. Winston S. Churchill.
My Early Life, a variant binding unknown to bibliographers
My Early Life, a variant binding unknown to bibliographers
My Early Life, a variant binding unknown to bibliographers
My Early Life, a variant binding unknown to bibliographers
My Early Life, a variant binding unknown to bibliographers

My Early Life, a variant binding unknown to bibliographers

London: Thornton Butterworth Limited, 1930. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is the first edition, first printing, of Churchill’s extremely popular autobiography. This copy offers an additional enticement to collectors, being a variant binding not noted by bibliographers and only the second copy we have encountered bound thus.

Various states of the first edition, first printing are known. First states were bound in both a coarse and a smooth plum colored cloth, have the title stamped on the front cover in either three or five lines, and contain a list of 11 Churchill titles in the boxed list of "Works by the same Author" on the half-title verso. Second state copies are distinguished by the addition of "THE WORLD CRISIS: 1911-1914" to the boxed list of works on the half-title verso, making 12 titles. It was presumed that all second state copies featured bindings with a five-line title on the front cover. In his excellent bibliography of Churchill's works, Ronald Cohen states: "... most, perhaps even all, copies of the second state will be found in binding cases in which the front cover is stamped in 5, rather than 3, lines..." This unrecorded variant is a first printing, second state copy in the coarse cloth binding with three lines on the front cover – the earliest issue binding.

The first edition’s binding proved especially vulnerable to fading, soiling, and wear, and the contents quite susceptible to spotting. Condition of this unrecorded variant is very good overall. The binding remains square and tight with sharp corners, vividly bright boards, and little of the customary wear. The chief detraction is both sunning and some mottling to the spine color. The contents remain respectably bright with modest spotting primarily confined to prelims and page edges. The sole previous ownership mark we find is a small, gilt sticker printed in black on the lower right front free endpaper exhorting the owner “PLEASE TREAT THIS BOOK WITH THE UTMOST CARE AND GENTLENESS TO MAKE IT LAST FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS”.

My Early Life covers the years from Churchill’s birth in 1874 to his first few years in Parliament. One can hardly ask for more adventurous content. 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 A91.1.c* (Unrecorded variant binding), Woods/ICS A37(ab.1), Langworth p.131. Item #007370

Price: $1,200.00

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