London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1909. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is an unusually clean and bright first edition, first printing of Churchill's third book of speeches (following Mr. Brodrick's Army and For Free Trade).
Liberalism and the Social Problem dates from Churchill's period as an ardent reformer and a dynamic young political force in the Liberal Party. The British first edition is bound in a deep red cloth stamped in gilt on the spine and featuring Churchill's gilt-stamped facsimile signature on the front cover. The binding is attractive, but proved fragile, the smooth, thin cloth susceptible to wear and the spine quite susceptible to toning and dulling.
Condition is very good plus. The dark red cloth binding is square, bright, and tight with strikingly bright gilt on both the front cover and spine. Shelf presentation is excellent, with only the mildest, uniform toning and light soiling. A wrinkle in the word "Liberalism" appears to be an artifact of the original binding process. Shelf wear is trivial - a slightly bruised lower front corner and a trivial hint of wear at the spine ends. The contents are strikingly bright with a crisp feel. We find no previous owner names. Spotting is primarily confined to the pastedowns and page edges, with only occasional, small intrusions into the blank inner margins.
In 1904, Churchill quit the Conservative Party and joined the Liberals, beginning a dynamic chapter in his political career that saw him champion progressive causes and be branded a traitor to his class. In 1909, when Liberalism and the Social Problem was published, Churchill, in his mid-30s, had just been promoted to a Cabinet position. His 21 speeches in this volume address a broad range of social issues still topical today, with the young Churchill trying to chart a progressive course between reactionary conservatism and radical socialism. This was a balance the Liberal Party ultimately failed to sustain; Churchill would remain a member of the Liberal Party until their ruinous electoral defeat in the 1922 General Election. Churchill rejoined the Conservatives in 1924.
Reference: Cohen A29.1.a, Woods/ICS A15(a), Langworth p.92. Item #007704