CHURCHILL IN HIBERNATION, WEEK 5
(Happy 37th Birthday, Chartwell Booksellers)
This past Saturday, April 11, Chartwell Booksellers celebrated its 37th Birthday. Festivities were out of the question. Survival is what we are all celebrating now, continuously.
One day after his 64th birthday, on December 1, 1938, Winston Churchill completed the first 136,000 words of his projected four-volume opus, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples. He’d worked tenaciously to reach this point (and earn his much-needed advance money) but the scale of the task confronting him was daunting (he would not, in fact, return to the book untill after the war, completing it in 1957). More troubling, diminishing sales of his recent books was leaving him discouraged.
Just six months earlier, Arms and the Covenant had been published, a collection of Churchill’s dire speeches on foreign affairs and national defense, edited by his son Randolph. Arms and the Covenant demonstrated as nothing before the prophetic clarity of Churchill’s long-stated warnings about Germany. The first printing of 5,000 copies, however, failed to sell out. Clementine Churchill tried to console her husband, assuring him it was the book’s relatively high price that was depressing sales, insisting that those who could afford to buy it (namely Churchill’s fellow Tories) did not wish to read what Arms and the Covenant had to say.
Churchill, nevertheless, turrned his attention to yet another new book, Step by Step, a chilling anthology of his prescient newspaper articles since 1936 for the Evening Standard and Daily Telegraph warning of the Nazi threat.
“The most splendid stuff,” his former-secretary Eddie Marsh wrote to Churchill of the articles after reading Step by Step. “They preserve in an astonishing manner . . . the balance between hope and fear . . . They are all prodigious vindication of your foresight.”
As ever, our continued good wishes for your health and safety as we all navigate the balance between hope and fear.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any reason at all.