Amid These Storms
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1932. First U.S. edition, only printing. Hardcover. This is a splendidly clean jacketed U.S. first edition, only printing – by far the cleanest example of the dust jacket we have ever offered.
Published in Britain as Thoughts and Adventures, this is one of the few Churchill first editions for which the U.S. edition bears a different title than the British. The U.S. first edition text was photo-reproduced from the British first edition, but everything else about the edition differs markedly from its British counterpart. The bright red-orange coarse cloth binding of Amid These Storms matches the style of the 1930 U.S. first edition of A Roving Commission, but the dust jacket for Amid These Storms is strikingly unique. It features a full-length photo of Churchill in Flanders in 1916, wearing his French Poilu's helmet. This image appears on both the spine and front face. The orange color on the dust jacket and the red-orange binding proved exceptionally prone to sunning. Further, both the coarse cloth binding and the white fields of the dust jacket proved quite susceptible to soiling. Jacketed copies are scarce and truly bright copies are a rarity; most copies look like they spent time in the trenches with Churchill.
This copy is just strikingly, improbably bright and clean. The dust jacket is just magnificent – a trifecta of complete, clean, and bright. When we acquired it, the jacket was housed in an ugly, ancient dust jacket protector, which did its job. The jacket is entirely complete, unclipped with the only loss being two tiny holes, one a the mid rear joint and one in the lower folds of Churchill’s trench coat on the spine. Both losses virtually disappear beneath the newly-fitted clear, removable, archival cover. Truly mild wear is confined to extremities, the worst being a little wrinkling at the spine head. Moreover, shelf presentation is splendid, the orange panels showing only the slightest color shift. Finally, the white fields of the jacket, so often grubby, are beautifully bright and clean. We note a faint, unobtrusive moisture stain at the upper rear panel, a touch of soiling along the extreme bottom edge of the front panel, and a little glue residue transfer browning at the center edge of the flaps from the old dust jacket protector – truly a small price to pay for the jacket’s overall condition. The book beneath approaches near fine. The binding is square, tight, and beautifully bright and clean, as only jacketed copies can be. The contents are only mildly age-toned, with some transfer browning to the endpapers from the old dust jacket protector. Barely detectable spotting appears almost entirely confined to a handful of blank inner fore edge margins. The untrimmed fore edges actually appear quite clean, a touch of light soiling and dust evident only to the top edges.
Churchill's collection of 23 engaging essays on an incredibly wide variety of subjects has been called "The broadest range of Churchill's thought between hard covers" and reflects the two qualities that so characterize Churchill's life - a remarkable breadth of both mind and life experience. The content ranges from personal and political musings to prescient speculation on the future. The original front flap blurb encapsulates – as far as is possible – the wide range of the chapters within: “These true stories concern such things as the tides that make a politician change his mind; the domination of chance in human lives; the cartoonists who mocked Churchill; the chances and events that occurred while he was in the trenches; phases of the war seen from intimate participation with the high commands; flying experiences in 1912; the Irish; the future; and contemporary change." In a 31 May 1932 letter to his publisher about the book, Churchill characterized his book thus: "...although there is no one single theme, it has some of the best things in it I have ever written."
Reference: Cohen A95.2, Woods/ICS A39(ba), Langworth p.158. Item #007510