Canada: Thomas Allen Limited, 1948-1953. First Canadian edition (issued from American plates). Hardcover. This is a full, six-volume, jacketed set of Canadian first editions of The Second World War, Winston Churchill's history of the epic 20th Century struggle that was so indelibly stamped by his leadership.
This Canadian issue is far more elusive than its U.S. and British first edition counterparts. In 1998, Richard Langworth observed “complete sets are extremely scarce and hardly ever seen especially in dust jackets. I have never encountered a set and have had to build mine up from odd volumes.” (A Connoisseur’s Guide to the Books of Sir Winston Churchill, p.263-4) The intervening decades have not rendered such sets more common.
Both the U.S. and Canadian editions preceded the British. The first U.S. volume, The Gathering Storm, was published on 21 June 1948. The Canadian issue followed, offprinted from the U.S. edition, with Volume I published the same day as its U.S. counterpart. (The British first edition of the first volume was not published until October 1948.) The Canadian first editions closely follow the appearance of the U.S. first edition, though there are clear distinctions. The Canadian volumes are bound in a darker red cloth, with the Canadian publisher - Thomas Allen - at the foot of the spines and added to each title page. The Canadian issue dust jackets are the same, apart from “THOMAS ALLEN LIMITED" printed at the foot of each jacket spine.
This set features near fine volumes in very good or better dust jackets. The red cloth bindings are square, clean, bright, and tight. We note only a few incidental blemishes and tiny corner bumps. The contents are notably clean and bright. A trivial hint of spotting appears confined to the otherwise clean top edges of a few volumes. The only previous ownership marks we find are the ink stamp of the same Calgary bookshop on the lower front pastedowns of the third and fifth volumes. All six dust jackets are unclipped and substantially complete. Moreover, all but the third volume feature bright, unfaded jacket spines. The red spine panels of the third volume jacket are sunned. There are various scuffs and minor chips to extremities, the worst being shallow loss at the spine ends of The Gathering Storm and superficial abrasion to the lower center spine of Their Finest Hour. Each jacket is fitted with a clear, removable, archival cover.
Seldom, if ever, has history endowed a statesman with both singular ability to make history, and singular ability to write it. As with so much of what Churchill wrote, The Second World War is not "history" in the strictly academic, objectivist sense, but rather Churchill's perspective on history. In his March 1948 introduction to the first volume, Churchill himself made the disclaimer, "I do not describe it as history... it is a contribution to history..." Nonetheless the compelling fact remains, as stated by Churchill himself, "I am perhaps the only man who has passed through both the two supreme cataclysms of recorded history in high Cabinet office... I was for more than five years in this second struggle with Germany the Head of His Majesty's government. I write, therefore, from a different standpoint and with more authority than was possible in my earlier books." Certainly, The Second World War may be regarded as an intensely personal and inherently biased history. Nonetheless, Churchill's work remains iconic, a vital part of the historical record.
Please anticipate that this set may require additional postage depending on destination.
Reference: Cohen A240.2(I-VI), Woods/ICS A123(ac), Langworth p.263. Item #007610