“THIS IS NOT HISTORY: THIS IS MY CASE”: CHURCHILL’S BRILLIANT HISTORY OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR, INSCRIBED BY CHURCHILL IN VOLUME I IN THE YEAR OF PUBLICATION TO A PROMINENT SUPPORTER
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. WITH: THOMAS, David A. Churchill: The Member for Wooodford. London and Ilford, Essex: Cassell and Frank Cass, (1948-54, 1995). Together, seven volumes. Second World War: octavo, original black cloth, patterned endpapers, original dust jackets; Churchill: octavo, original blue paper boards, original dust jacket.
First English editions of Churchill’s WWII masterpiece, part history and part memoir, written after he lost reelection as Prime Minister, in the original dust jackets, inscribed by Churchill on the half title of Volume I in the year of publication: “Inscribed for Donald Forbes by Winston S. Churchill, 1948.” With a copy of Churchill: The Member for Woodford, inscribed to Forbes by author David A. Thomas and publisher Frank Cass.
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. Forbes was a prominent Woodford politician and early supporter and fundraiser for Churchill. Thomas’ Churchill: The Member for Woodford is “a detailed history of Churchill and the constituency he represented from 1924 to 1964. The author, a naval historian, takes time out from his usual pursuits to compile the results for every Churchill election, summarizing the campaigns and tracing the history of Winston Churchill’s career as a local member of Parliament” (Zoller A602). This copy is inscribed on the title page: “To Donald and Valda with very best wishes from David A. Thomas,” and “Thank you for all did whilst I was still young! Frank Cass.” Forbes’ influence on and support for Churchill is discussed extensively in Thomas’ book. Three pages/slips of Forbes’ notes are laid in, including one on the back of a deposit slip for Forbes’ bank account.
Interiors fine; some light staining to top edges of text blocks. Light toning to spines of bright dust jackets with light wear to extremities and a one-inch closed tear to spine foot of Volume I with tape repair to verso and a half-inch closed tear to spine head fold of Volume IV. A near-fine inscribed set, with notable provenance.