London: Odhams Press Limited, 1952. This is a superior, jacketed copy of the 1952 edition of Lord Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill's biography of his father. This is a bibliographically significant edition, with both a new Introduction by the author and new content in the form of the first appearance of the Memorandum of Sir Henry Wolff, which covers events from December 1886 to 4 January 1887 relating to the resignation of Lord Randolph as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
This edition was striking but fragile. The red-orange cloth bindings are thin, prone to sunning, soiling, and gutter breaks. The dust jackets are thin and easily scuffed and torn. This copy is near fine in a very good dust jacket. The binding is square, tight, immaculately clean, and vividly bright. We note only trivial shelf wear to the bottom edges. The contents are particularly bright for the edition, with no spotting and no previous ownership marks. Only the page edges show mild age-toning, with a little shelf dust to the top edges. The dust jacket is bright, both the blue background and yellow print unfaded, with no color shift between the faces and spine. The jacket is also impressive, the original price still on the lower front flap and only fractional hints of loss at the spine head. The jacket shows minor wear to extremities and some inevitable overall scuffing, most notably along the front joint and at the lower center of the front face. The dust jacket is protected beneath a clear, removable, archival cover.
Lord Randolph Churchill was Winston Churchill’s first biographic work, concentrating 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. His son Winston was 20 years old. When he first contemplated writing his father's biography Winston Churchill was a still 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 the work was published in 1906, the young Winston Churchill already had half a dozen books to his credit and half a decade in Parliament. 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.
The British first edition was published in two volumes in 1906. This 1952 edition contains the full text of the first edition. Winston Churchill’s new Introduction, written specifically for this 1952 single-volume edition, echoes some of the themes of his yet-unpublished essay "The Dream". Churchill summarizes some of the immense changes to Britain and its position in the world and speculates on how his father would have regarded them.
Reference: Cohen A17.5, Woods/ICS A8(c), Langworth p.75. Item #007736