Marlborough: His Life and Times


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CHURCHILL, Winston. Marlborough: His Life and Times. London: George G. Harrap, (1949). Two volumes. Octavo, original pictorial gilt-stamped burgundy cloth, original dust jackets.

Later two-volume edition, with hundreds of maps and plans (many folding), plates and document facsimiles, inscribed by Churchill in Volume I, "Inscribed by Winston S. Churchill, 1952." With the owner signature of Rufus Clarke, a close friend of Churchill's daughter Mary and her husband Christopher Soames, who served as the best man at their wedding in.

Churchill wrote this history of his famous ancestor to refute earlier criticisms of Marlborough by Macaulay. "Though it was a commissioned work, Churchill would not have invested nearly a million words and ten years had it not had special significance for him. For he wrote about a man who was not only his ancestor, an invincible general, the first of what became the Spencer-Churchill dukes of Marlborough, and a maker of modern Britain, but also a supreme example of heroism in the two vocations which mainly interested Churchill and in which ultimate triumph seemed to have eluded him— politics and war making" (Wiedhorn, 110). "It may be his greatest book. To understand the Churchill of the Second World War, the majestic blending of his commanding English with historical precedent, one has to read Marlborough. Only in its pages can one glean an understanding of the root of the speeches which inspired Britain to stand when she had little to stand with" (Langworth, 164). First published 1933; this is the the second printing of the first two-volume edition, which was issued two years earlier. Cohen A97.2. Woods A40a. Owner signature of Rufus Clarke. Clarke was a close friend of Churchill's daughter Mary and her husband Christopher Soames, and served as best man at their wedding in 1947. Soames and Clarke had worked together at one point in the British Embassy in Paris. Later, according to Mary, Rufus and his wife would often visit them when they were living at Chartwell Farm, where he often had dinner with Winston Churchill.

Books fine, scarce dust jackets with mild toning and a few faint stains to spines, tape repairs to versos. Desirable inscribed by Churchill.

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