Taipei: Book World Company, undated. Hardcover. A History of the English-Speaking Peoples is Churchill's sweeping history and last great work. The first draft was completed just before the Second World War, but the work was not completed and published until after Churchill's second and final Premiership, nearly 20 years later. The four volumes of the British first edition were published between 1956 and 1958. In 1964, a Taiwanese pirated one-volume edition was published. Around that time, an undated four-volume pirated edition was also published, photo-reproduced from the Cassell first edition. This four-volume Taiwanese pirated edition was undated, but offprinted from the British first edition. The only indication of publication is type at the bottom of the rear face of each dust jacket reading in three lines: "The above volumes are supplied by / BOOK WORLD COMPANY / 15 Hung Yang Road Taipei".
This pirated edition is smaller in stature than the British first edition and printed on thinner paper. The volumes measure 9 x 6 inches and are bound in brown cloth with silver title and volume number stamped on the spines and front covers. The volumes feature head and foot bands and a brown cloth page marker. The dust jackets are both striking and markedly different than those of the British first edition, printed purplish-gray, red, and black with a rose on each lower spine and a crown set within a concentric geometric pattern on each lower front face.
This set of four is very good in very good dust jackets. All four brown cloth bindings are square, clean, and tight with sharp corners and bright silver print. The contents remain clean with no previous owner marks. Age-toning and light spotting appear confined to the page edges. The dust jackets are clean and unfaded with shallow chip losses confined to the extremities. Shelf presentation is quite respectable. The dust jackets are protected beneath clear, removable, archival covers.
Churchill's four volume epic, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, 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.
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 A267.10, Langworth p.327. Item #007547