“HAD PEACE PERSISTED HE MIGHT NOW BE REMEMBERED AS A PIONEER OF BRITAIN’S WELFARE STATE”: EIGHT-VOLUME BIOGRAPHY OF WINSTON CHURCHILL
CHURCHILL, Randolph S. and GILBERT, Martin. Winston S. Churchill. London: Heinemann, (1966-88). Eight volumes. Thick octavo, modern three-quarter dark red morocco gilt, raised bands, black morocco spine labels, spine panels gilt-stamped with Churchill lion emblems, top edges gilt. $4800.
First editions of the official biography of Winston Churchill, richly illustrated with numerous photographic plates and handsomely bound.
"His early political life was devoted to organizing a system of support for the weak who had been defeated by the harshness of industrial life. Churchill's reputation as a social reformer has now been so overlaid by that of war leader as to be forgotten. His commitment, however, was genuine and his achievements were considerable. Had peace persisted he might now be remembered as a pioneer of Britain's welfare state" (Keegan 187-88). Each volume of this monumental biography was issued separately. The first two volumes, written by Churchill's son Randolph, cover Churchill's youth and early political career. After Randolph's death in 1968, Martin Gilbert, who had worked as his research assistant, was appointed official biographer and completed the work in another six volumes. "The approach adopted by Mr. [Randolph] Churchill was the same as his father used in Lord Randolph Churchill, an approach summarized in the 'Theme' of this new work: 'He shall be his own biographer… a majority of the text has consisted of quotations from Sir Winston's letters, speeches and writings" (Woods, 390). Zoller A301a-h.