Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1953. First U.S. edition. Hardcover. This is the quite scarce U.S. first "Definitive" edition, only printing of Churchill's war speeches in both dust jackets and the extremely rare publisher’s slipcase – only the third set we have offered thus and the most complete. This edition was published during Churchill's second and final premiership.
While there were 4,700 copies of the British first edition, this incredibly small U.S. edition was limited to a mere 500 sets. These 500 sets were produced from British edition sheets. Internally, only the title and copyright pages differ from the British edition, but this U.S. first edition was bound quite differently and more elaborately than its British counterpart. Each of the volumes features a black cloth spine decorated and printed in gilt, over red cloth boards. The contents are bound with yellow-stained top edge and head and foot bands. The light blue and black dust jackets are illustrated with a reproduction from Churchill's hand-corrected typescript of the first Secret Session speech. Houghton Mifflin issued the three volumes in an undecorated navy leatherette slipcase.
This full U.S. three-volume set in the original dust jackets and publisher's slipcase features beautiful fine volumes in very good dust jackets and slipcase. The volumes are immaculate inside and out, the bindings square and sharp-cornered, the contents crisp, clean, and tight, the topstain bright, no ownership marks, spotting, or soiling to report. Each volume feels pleasingly stiff and unread. Two of three dust jackets remain unclipped – Volumes II & III – these retaining the original "3 Volumes, $25.00" front flap pricing, with only the Volume I jacket neatly clipped at the upper front flap. The jackets are clean and bright, showing only the most faintly discernible toning of the pale blue spine color. Shallow chip losses to a maximum depth of .5 inch (1.27 cm) are confined to the spine ends and the upper rear face of the Volume I jacket. All three dust jackets are now protected with clear, removable, archival covers. The publisher’s slipcase is in very good condition, clean with minor, superficial shelf scuffs and blemishes and a partial split to the lower right edge.
During his long public life, Winston Churchill played many roles worthy of note - Member of Parliament for more than half a century, soldier and war correspondent, author of scores of books, ardent social reformer, combative cold warrior, Nobel Prize winner, painter. But Churchill's preeminence as a historical figure owes most to his indispensable leadership during the Second World War, when his soaring and defiant oratory sustained his countrymen and inspired the free world. Of Churchill, Edward R. Murrow said: "He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle." When Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953, it was partly “…for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.”
Between 1941 and 1946, Churchill's war speeches were published in seven individual volumes in both British and U.S. editions. In 1952, early during Churchill's second premiership, the British publisher - Cassell - reissued the War Speeches as a new, "Definitive" three-volume British edition. This U.S. edition was issued in 1953. The three-volume edition of Churchill's War Speeches is considered superior to the original seven wartime volumes. New speeches are added, as is a very helpful index. Some of the original speeches considered peripheral are eliminated while others are retitled and chronological dates are replaced with brief transitional or introductory notes. The aesthetic improvement is particularly dramatic for this U.S. edition, in which three substantial, uniform volumes replace the original seven, differentially sized volumes, which were issued by three different publishers, several volumes printed on cheap, wartime paper.
Reference: Cohen A263.2, Woods A136(b), Langworth p.305. Item #007670