London: The Library of Imperial History, 1974. Hardcover. This is Winston Churchill's first biographic work, the subject of which is his father, Lord Randolph Churchill. This lovely edition was produced in very limited numbers using sheets from the 1974 Collected Works that were never bound by the original publisher. This edition contains the full, unabridged text of the 1906 first edition with the added benefit of the author's new Foreword from the 1952 Odhams edition. The result is the superb contents of the Collected Works - printed on 500-year archival paper with gilt top edge - in a heavy, red buckram binding with the Churchill Arms on the front cover. The contents are bound with red and gold head and tail bands and gray endpapers. The binding is far more practical and durable than the vellum in which most Collected Works volumes were originally bound. This copy is in as new condition, the binding and contents pristine with no wear, defects, or previous ownership marks.
Winston Churchill’s biography of his father focuses on Lord Randolph's career in Parliament after 1880. Lord Randolph died in January 1895 at age 45 following the spectacular collapse of both his health and political career. Winston was 20 years old. When he first contemplated writing his father's biography Winston Churchill was an itinerant soldier and war correspondent who had yet to write his first book. The son still dwelt very much in his father's shadow, both emotionally and in terms of the political career to which he already aspired.
By the time Lord Randolph Churchill was published in 1906, the young Winston Churchill already had half a dozen books to his credit and half a decade in Parliament. By 1906 Churchill had already left his father's political party, prevailed in the same political battle that had terminated his father's career, and was just two years from his first Cabinet post. Nonetheless, that Churchill would be selected as biographer by Lord Randolph's executors was not a foregone conclusion. Churchill first entertained the idea soon after his father's death, but it was not until late in 1902 that he was appointed.
Churchill then spent two and a half years researching and writing. We can assume that it was not only a major literary effort, but an emotional one as well. Of the work, Churchill wrote to Lord Rosebery on 11 September 1902 "It is all most interesting to me - and melancholy too" (R. Churchill, Companion Volume II, Part 1, p.438). Churchill was criticized by some reviewers for overplaying his father's accomplishments. Nonetheless, the work was well received both as a frank portrayal of Randolph's extremes and as a showcase for the son's literary talent.
Reference: Cohen AA1.6. Item #007723