INSCRIBED FIRST EDITION SET OF CHURCHILL’S MONUMENTAL HISTORY OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR
CHURCHILL, Winston. The Second World War: The Gathering Storm; Their Finest Hour; The Grand Alliance; The Hinge of Fate; Closing the Ring; Triumph and Tragedy. London: Cassell, (1948-54). Six volumes. Thick octavo, original black cloth, original dust jackets; housed in two custom half morocco clamshell boxes.
First English editions, inscribed and dated by Churchill on the half title of Volume I in 1955, along with a letter from Churchill’s secretary regarding the inscription.
The six volumes of Churchill's masterpiece were published separately between 1948 and 1954. With the Second World War, Churchill "pulled himself back from humiliating [electoral] defeat in 1945, using all his skills as a writer and politician to make his fortune, secure his reputation, and win a second term in Downing Street" (Reynolds, xxiii). "Winston himself affirmed that 'this is not history: this is my case" (Holmes, 285). Churchill was re-elected to the post of Prime Minister in 1951. "The Second World War is a great work of literature, combining narrative, historical imagination and moral precept in a form that bears comparison with that of the original master chronicler, Thucydides. It was wholly appropriate that in 1953 Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature" (Keegan, 175). Although preceded by the American editions, the English editions are generally preferred for their profusion of diagrams, maps, and facsimile documents. Cohen A240.4. Woods A123b. Langworth, 254. Small bookclub inkstamp to rear pastedown of Volume I. Laid-in to Volume I is a note on the Prime Minister's letterhead dated 7 January 1955 from Churchill's secretary indicating that the Prime Minister was glad to sign a book for a Mr. Lilley, apparently at the request of Colonel W. H. Barlow-Wheeler.
Tape repair to versos of some dust jackets. Books fine, original dust jackets near-fine to fine. A very desirable and scarce signed set of one of the landmark works of the 20th century.