MY EARLY LIFE
American Title: A ROVING COMMISSION
(Cohen A91) (Woods A37)
Modern historians have soundly established that Winston Churchill took certain liberties with episodes in this autobiography, which covers the time from his birth in 1874 to his first few years in Parliament. Jim Golland (Not Winston, Just William?, Harrow: 1988) showed that young Winston was scarcely the school dunce he suggests he was and some researchers believe he was not nearly so ignored and abandoned by his parents as he implies. His nephew, Peregrine Churchill, aided by Lady Randolph Churchill’s archives, concluded that Winston’s mother spent a surprising amount of time with him and his brother Jack before they left for school—and that Winston “was a very naughty boy; his parents were very concerned about him.” On the other hand, biographers have also shown that Churchill’s entry into the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and, in due course, the cavalry, were rather less than personal achievements. Additionally, a letter has recently surfaced stating that his famous escape from the Boer Prison camp in Pretoria was the act of a “bounder”—although Churchill himself, through libel suits, and his official biographer, have long since proved that he acted honorably.
None of this affects the wonderful treat provided by this most approachable and readable of Churchill’s books. Harold Nicolson had it right in his 1930 review when he likened My Early Life to “a beaker of Champagne.” If the reader was drawn to Churchill by The Second World War, his autobiography will come as a revelation. The war memoirs chronicle a very public struggle against national extinction, while the autobiography charts a young man’s private struggle to be heard. Yet the same style and pace remain, the same sense of adventure, the same piquant humor, the same ability to let the reader to peer over the author’s shoulder as events unfold.
Of course, Winston was born with “certain advantages,” as William Manchester points out in his introduction to a recent edition of My Early Life: “…One must realize that his youth was virtually incomprehensible to most people then alive. He had been born into the English aristocracy at a time when British noblemen were considered (and certainly considered themselves) little less than godlike. His grandfather was Viceroy [or Lord Lieutenant] of Ireland….These dominant forces—the class into which he had been born—were masters of the greatest empire the globe has ever known, comprising one-fourth of the earth’s surface and a quarter of the world’s population, thrice the size of the Roman Empire at full flush. They also controlled Great Britain herself, to an extent that would be inconceivable in any civilized nation today. One percent of the country’s population—some 33,000 people—owned two-thirds of its wealth, and that wealth, before two world wars devoured it, was breathtaking.”
Nevertheless, once family influence had placed him where he wanted to be, Churchill had little handed to him. He certainly could not have embarked on those thrilling war junkets to Cuba, India, the Sudan, and South Africa without the influence of his mother and other great personages, but once there he was on his own, and he acquitted himself well. In his autobiography he records these experiences in words which will live as long as any twentieth century author is read.
My Early Life begins with Churchill’s first memories, of the “Little Lodge” in Dublin where his father lived as secretary to his grandfather, the Duke of Marlborough. (The family had gone to Ireland in a kind of imposed exile after a serious quarrel broke out between Lord Randolph and the Prince of Wales, whose disapproval had ostracized Randolph and Jennie from London Society.) Winston’s description of his nurse, Mrs. Everest, is heartwarming and undoubtedly accurate; impressions of his schools may be familiar to many who were sent away for their education. The story of his years at the Royal Military Academy; his adventures as a war reporter in Cuba, India and South Africa; and above all the famous charge of the 21st Lancers at Omdurman are elegantly written and will hold the reader’s attention to the end. Here and in his later account of entering politics and Parliament, we can see Churchill’s emerging political philosophy, studded with remarkably advanced views on British society and the Empire.
The text was not entirely fresh when the book was published in 1930; Churchill had been producing autobiographic writings since 1898. But the book melded his experiences together, added much, and has had a huge printing over the years. It has been reprinted in fourteen major English editions, fifteen foreign languages, and countless impressions—more than any of his other books except The Second World War. There is a copy for every reader, be it a cheap paperback or a rare first edition.
It is notable that My Early Life was one of the two Churchill works excerpted by the Nobel Library—Sir Winston’s 1953 Nobel Prize in Literature was won not for his war memoirs but for the totality of his work. This book presents Churchill at his dazzling best as chronicler and memoirist, written at a time when he was freshly entered into the political wilderness, when most people, including himself, considered his political career over.
-Richard M. Langworth
From the Reviews
“[My Early Life] is his finest literary achievement…better than anything which has gone before. Its variation and development in the matter of style are the greatest of its charms. One fancies one hears the small boy, the youth at Sandhurst, the young soldier, the slightly older politician each telling his story in his own way. Of course no gentleman cadet, still less a small boy, could write like that; that Mr. Churchill should contrive to bewitch his readers into the momentary impression that they can is proof that he has at his command the art of the autobiographer.”
–The Times Literary Supplement, 1930
“However fascinated we may be with what Churchill did, the impression cannot be avoided that he was a singularly pushing and cock-sure young man. But his story is told with such frankness and charm that its appeal, especially to those with any spirit of adventure, cannot be resisted.”
-F. D. Dulles in The Bookman, 1930
It is interesting that the author’s preface was signed “Winston Spencer Churchill,” the first time in many years that the author had spelled out “Spencer,” perhaps recalling his schoolboy years when he chafed that “Spencer-Churchill” (as he was known at Harrow) placed him too far down in the alphabetic order.
The dust jacket is so rare that reproductions have been printed (see below), and the seller of a fine copy in a complete jacket can virtually name their price. Most jackets that do exist have pieces torn or missing. Even fine unjacketed copies are rare as the plum cloth didn’t wear well and is very susceptible to fading. The second through fifth impressions are “first edition lookalikes” and can be acquired at modest prices. Jackets for later impressions are equally rare.
§ § §
Cohen A91.1 / Woods A37(a)
Publisher: Thornton Butterworth Ltd., London, 1930
Plum cloth. The top board bears the gilt title, subtitle and author’s name with the publisher’s device and two thick rules at top and bottom debossed blind. The spine bears the same material as on the cover (but no logo) and THORNTON BUTTERWORTH gilt at the bottom. 8vo, 392 pages numbered (1)- 392, with frontispiece, maps, plans, one folding map and 16 tipped-in illustrations. The verso of the half-title contains a boxed list of the author’s other works. Endpapers are white. Published 20 October 1930 at 21 shillings ($5.25).
Quantities and Impressions
Six impressions occurred, not all of them recorded by Woods. Their dates, with Woods’ quantities where stated are: October 1930 (two impressions of 5,750 and 2,500 respectively), November 1930 (1,500), December 1930 (1,500), September 1931 (1,000; Woods misdated this impression as “August 1932.”) This fifth impression adds four more titles to the book list on the half title verso.
After a run of “Keystone Editions” in the later 1930s (see below), Thornton Butterworth produced what they called a “New Impression” in December 1940. This was in fact the sixth impression of the trade edition. It was bound in violet cloth, with no lettering on the cover, and priced at 7 shillings sixpence ($1.87).
Identifying first impressions: these carry only the original publishing date on the title page verso, thus: “First published. 1930”.
States: There are two distinct states, which are easily identified. The first state (ICS A37aa) lists eleven Churchill titles on the verso of the half title, which is integral with the rest of the pages. The second state (ICS A37ab) adds THE WORLD CRISIS 1911-1914, which had been inadvertently omitted, by means of a cancel (pasted-in substitute page) of the half-title.
Bindings: Volumes are also bound in two distinctly different cloths: smooth and roughly textured. The top board is also found either with five lines of type (MY | EARLY LIFE | A ROVING COMMISSION | WINSTON S. | CHURCHILL) or with three lines (MY EARLY LIFE | A ROVING COMMISSION | WINSTON S. CHURCHILL). First states are reported in smooth cloth with five lines and rough cloth with three or five lines. Second states are reported in smooth or rough cloth but only with five lines.
Times Book Club Variant: A book club edition of the first impression was offered by the Times Book Club, bound in a smooth, dark red cloth virtually identical to that of the first edition Lord Randolph Churchill, blocked on spine only: MY EARLY | LIFE, WINSTON S. CHURCHILL and, at the base, BUTTERWORTH. Reported copies are second states. Most carry the black and gold Times Book Club label on the rear pastedown.
The first impression dust jacket, which is very rare, is printed black on solid plum paper, carries a contents blurb on the front flap, a list of 13 “autobiographies & biographies” on the back flap, and adverts for four World Crisis volumes (1911-1914, 1915, 1916-1918 and The Aftermath) on the back face. A reproduction dust jacket was produced (by me) which looks the same but can easily be distinguished, since it is printed black and plum on heavy white paper: the underside is thus white, not plum. These jackets are usually, but not always, marked “reproduction” on the underside of the spine area. Unscrupulous booksellers have passed this off as a “variant dust jacket”—it’s a variant, all right, but it was produced half a century later!
The fifth impression jacket is printed navy blue on white paper and its back face lists just three World Crisis volumes. The sixth impression jacket (1940) is entirely new, carrying a light red photo of Churchill on the face with the short title MY EARLY LIFE, byline WINSTON CHURCHILL and price (“7s. 6d. Net”) the titles in white. It is printed black on white on the spine and back face. The back face advertises Step By Step, Great Contemporaries, all volumes of The World Crisis including the one-volume edition, and India.
Canadian jacket variant: First Editions exist (in first and later impressions) with special Dust jackets for the Canadian market, the jacket spine imprinted THOMAS NELSON | AND SONS, LTD. over the Thornton Butterworth name. The price $4.50 appears on the spine and front face. The back face is mostly blank except for a statement that the work is published in the USA by Scribners as A Roving Commission.
When the many variations of the First Edition were revealed in Finest Hour in the 1980s there was a great rush among collectors to acquire the ones they didn’t have. Partly for that reason the supply of nice copies has narrowed to a trickle. However, no value premium should attach to any particular variant. Woods’ description of the First Edition fails to mention the second state, the binding variations, the Times Book Club variant or the Canadian dust jacket, and is wrong in dating the fifth impression.
First American Edition
Cohen A91.2 / Woods A37(b)
Publisher: Charles Scribners Sons, New York, 1930
Bright red cloth (changed to brick red for third impression, grey for fourth). The top board bears the gilt title A ROVING | COMMISSION and WINSTON S. | CHURCHILL gilt in a grid of blind vertical and horizontal rules. The spine bears the title, author’s name and SCRIBNERS blocked gilt, with a grid of blind rules on its top half. 16mo, 392 pages numbered (i)-(xiv) and (1)-(377), (1), with frontispiece, maps, plans, one folding map and 16 tipped-in illustrations. Published 23 October 1930 at $3.50.
At least four impressions were published, two in 1930, one in 1931, one in 1932. The First Edition of 1930 can be identified by the block letter “A” below the publisher’s name on the verso of the title page. All impressions carry the publication date on the title page (the second impression, title page dated 1930, lacks the letter “A”).
The first impression dust jacket (also used on the second impression) is printed red and navy on white paper and can be identified by its back face, which carries quotes from the book (preface and page 60). The jacket was altered for the third impression, where its back face contains excerpts from reviews of the work. A reproduction first impression jacket, produced by this writer, is marked on the back face: REPRODUCTION DUST JACKET | CHURCHILLBOOKS, BURRAGE ROAD, CONTOOCOOK, NH 03229 USA.
A Roving Commission was remembered by Churchill as the title to Chapter I in his Ian Hamilton’s March thirty years before; even this was not original, having been the title of a Victorian military novel by G. A. Henty, which Winston undoubtedly read as a boy.
The American Edition stole a march on the English by correcting a bad error, which has persisted in every English issue of My Early Life to date! The Duke of Cambridge (commander in chief of the army, 1856-1895), was approached by Lord Randolph to get Winston into the 60th Rifles (which Winston dodged, preferring the more dashing 4th Hussars). Though mentioned twice in the First Editions (British pp 50/75, American pp 36/61), he is incorrectly referenced in their indices as the “Duke of Connaught.” Scribners editors quickly caught this, replacing Connaught with Cambridge in their 1930 second impression. (Cambridge remains properly referenced in all American editions published since.)
But the index error was never corrected in English editions, and in 1944 the Reprint Society compounded it, altering the text to read “Connaught” to comply with the index! That double-error persisted in English Editions until Leo Cooper made it worse in his 1989 edition of My Early Life, altering “Cambridge” to read “Connaught” on page 75 (but missing the other Cambridge on page 50), and Cooper’s American counterpart, W. W. Norton, picked up the same gaffes.
Happily the muddle doesn’t exist in the latest American Touchstone Edition (off-printed sans index from a Scribners Edition). The Americans thus had the Duke of Cambridge right throughout all but two of all their issues, while the British have bolloxed Lord Cambridge in every impression ever published. The only English Edition that is faultless is in the “Collected Works” (see appendix), which was off-printed from the First Edition but left out the index with its erroneous entry.
Fine copies of the First Edition are almost never seen, and are even scarcer in the original dust jacket. Like the English Edition they are prone to fade, and when exposed to light quickly bleach to almost white. They also seem to attract dirt. A genuinely fine copy in a whole, untorn dust jacket is very valuable. Without dust jackets, fine copies are almost unheard of. Later impressions are not often seen, but low amounts will often buy quite a decent one. Occasionally one shows up with dust jacket; if it happens to be the second impression, its jacket should be saved to transfer to a first impression, which is entirely ethical since the jackets were identical.
Keystone Library Issue
Cohen A91.3 / ICS A37ac
Publisher: Thornton Butterworth Ltd., London, 1934
Bound in smooth plum cloth exactly like the First Edition. The dust jacket is printed black and medium blue on scored pale green paper and is quickly identified with its blue Keystone Library logos. The logo also appears printed blue on the title page. Page (3) lists other Keystone titles, page (4) lists 16 Churchill titles. 2,000 copies published 20 February 1934 at 7s. 6d. ($1.87) but quickly reduced to 5s. ($1.25).
There were two later impressions, each in different bindings: January 1937 (like the above with gilt titles on top board but less glossy plum cloth; and January 1940 (purple cloth, on top board blank).
Variations occur on the back faces. First impression, first state lists “additions for Spring 1934,” listing seven titles including this one. Second state lists “Recent Additions, Spring 1935”: six new and more older titles. Second impression advertises Thoughts and Adventures and The Unknown War. Third impression advertises the revised and extended edition Great Contemporaries. All jackets except the first state carry the 5s. price.
The Keystone Library was a low-priced series of previous Thornton Butterworth titles. Aside from a title page cancel (bearing the Keystone Library logo) and a new style of dust jacket, this is a direct reprint from the English first edition plates, including the frontispiece and tipped-in map and illustrations. A good buy now as then.
Second American Edition
Cohen A91.5 / Woods A37(c)
Introduction by Dorothy Thompson
Publisher: Charles Scribners Sons, New York, 1939
Navy blue cloth. The top board bears the gilt title A ROVING | COMMISSION and WINSTON S. CHURCHILL blocked silver. The spine carries the same words plus SCRIBNERS. 16mo, 396 pages numbered (i)-(xviii) and (1)- (377), (1), with frontispiece, maps, plans, one folding map and 16 tipped-in illustrations. Published 1939 at $2.50; later impressions raised to $3.50.
There are three impressions, each distinctly different. The first (1939 on title page, code “AA” on title page verso) is the only one bound in rough navy cloth and with the title and author’s name on the cover. The second (1940 on title page, code “BB” on verso) is bound in smooth navy cloth with the top board blank. The third (1941 on title page, no code on verso) is bound identically to the second. Both later impressions bulk slightly thicker than the first.
The dust jacket, which didn’t vary, is printed navy blue and orange on white, lists six other “famous books by Winston S. Churchill” on the back flap and advertises Helen P. Kirkpatrick’s Under the British Umbrella on the back face. The same jacket is occasionally found wrapped around the Third American edition, apparently by the publishers who were getting rid of extra copies; it doesn’t fit well, since the Third is a thinner book. Such jackets should be removed and carefully preserved for use on Second Editions, which are much scarcer and more desirable.
This edition contains significant new material. In an expanded preface, Churchill offers “some further account of my American forbears,” not all of it quite accurate, as later genealogists have shown; these lines were continued in later American editions. The preface is now signed “Winston S. Churchill” and the “Chartwell Manor, 1930” is omitted. Also added (to this edition only) is an introduction by newspaperwoman Dorothy Thompson, who calls Churchill “one of the finest living writers of English prose” and “a stormy petrel of politics. For the past decade he has been the most pugnacious, eloquent, and scathing critic of British policy. He happens to have been right, and that is the reason he is again in the Cabinet at last….It would be impossible to imagine England without him.” Winston must have loved it.
An amusing note about the “AA” and “BB” letters on the title page verso of the first two impressions is recorded by the noted bibliophile David A. Randall, in his Dukedom Large Enough (New York: Random House 1960). Asked about the “AA” Randall checked with Scribner’s and was informed it was “normal procedure. After all, it was a new edition with a new Introduction, hence the new material had to be copyrighted, hence the double A. This was nice, reassuring, logical and right out of headquarters, and I so reported. Some months later I met a girl at a party somewhere who was working for Scribner’s, at the press. She was Bryn Mawr, I recall, and I simply happened to mention this anomaly. ‘Oh, I remember,’ she replied. ‘I was asked about that. I put in those double A’s. The page looked prettier that way.”
Prized for its unique introduction, the Second American is a very scarce book, especially in decent condition. Because this is not a First Edition, the impression has little to do with value: condition is everything. This book is worthy of any Churchill library for its unique material, which was expunged from the succeeding edition, and appears nowhere else.
Cohen A91.6 / ICS A37d
Publisher: Macmillan & Co. Ltd., London, 1941
Bound in navy cloth, spine only blocked gilt with title, author’s name and MACMILLAN. Maps, plans, one folding map and 16 tipped-in illustrations. Published 1941 at 10 shillings sixpence ($2.62). Four impressions: 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944.
When Thornton Butterworth went into liquidation, this title and others were obtained by Macmillan. The first impression spine title reads MY EARLY | LIFE and its title page verso states “Transferred to Macmillan & Co. Ltd. . 1941” with no subsequent reprint information (although it does list all the previous Thornton Butterworth printings). First impressions are printed on thicker paper than later impressions, which also carry the spine title in three lines. Later impressions are thinner and bound in smooth dark navy cloth. The 1944 impression deletes the subtitle A Roving Commission from the spine.
Dust jackets are printed red and black on heavy white scored paper and first impression jackets advertise My Early Life, Great Contemporaries, Step By Step and The World Crisis (one volume edition.) on the back face. This is a garden variety Early Life, nicely bound, an inexpensive hardbound alternative to the valuable first editions.
Third American Edition
Cohen A91.7 / ICS A37e
Publisher: Charles Scribners Sons, New York, 1941
Grey cloth, spine only blocked gilt with A ROVING | COMMISSION | WINSTON S. | CHURCHILL and SCRIBNERS, 382 pages numbered (I)-(xii) and 1-370. Illustrated with maps, plans, one folding map and 12 photos on six tippedin sheets. Price in 1951: $3.50.
This cheapened edition had numerous impressions, including but not necessarily limited to 1941, 1942, 1944, 1945, 1949 and 1951. The frontispiece was relegated to one of a reduced number of illustrations. The index and Dorothy Thompson introduction disappeared, although Churchill’s notes on his American forebears were retained in the preface.
Dust jackets vary but all are designed around the photo if Churchill in the uniform of the South African Light Horse. The 1941-45 jackets are printed red and black on white paper; the 1951 is printed dark blue and brown on light blue. A handful of first impressions carry the orange and blue Second Edition jacket advertising Dorothy Thompson’s introduction, which of course is not there; these appear to have been wrapped around the books when new, possibly to ease a shortage.
Reprint Society Edition
Cohen A91.8 / ICS A37f
Publisher: The Reprint Society, London, 1944
Cream, loose woven cloth with black leather spine label containing title, author’s name and decorative border gilt. 5 x 7 1/2″, 392 pages numbered (1)- 392, frontispiece and nine illustrations tipped in on slightly heavier, uncoated paper. Top page edges stained dark blue. Dust jacket printed orange and navy blue on white paper. (This edition compounds the Cambridge-Connaught error mentioned under Cohen A87.2: the fictitious Duke of Connaught appears here in both the index and the text.)
A book club edition in the “World Books” series, whose Broadsheet for May 1944 indicates that this is “The June Book.”
A nicely produced book despite wartime limitations, retaining most of the original photos and the tipped-in folding map. Fairly common, it has no value except in fine jacketed condition.
Note: In the Broadsheet, mentioned above, this is referred to as a “World Books Edition.” Although distinct Reprint Society and World Books editions of Great Contemporaries exist, we have not encountered a specific World Books edition of My Early Life.
First Swedish (English-Language School) Edition
Cohen A91.4 / Not in ICS
Publisher: Albert Bonnier, Stockholm, 1936
8vo, 188 pages in card wrappers printed brown on cream. The front photograph is of Churchill’s welcome at Durban after his escape from the Boer prison camp in 1900. This is an abridged version in English intended for use in schools teaching English Language courses. Introductions are in Swedish and English, the latter thanking Churchill for permission to reprint. Twenty pages of rear notes explain difficult words or phrases, and a folding map at the end shows South Africa and Churchill’s journey. This volume is extremely rare and interesting.
Cohen A91.9 / ICS A37g
Publisher: Odhams & Co. Ltd., London, 1947
8vo. 384 pages numbered (i)-x and 1-374. At least eight impressions: 1947, 1948 (April, August), 1949, 1957, 1958, 1965, 1966. A 1954 impression is also possible. Completely reset, the volume now included a frontispiece and eight illustrations between pages viii and ix, and the former folding map was now printed over a double page spread. There are distinct forms of this Edition.
Odhams was a mail order bookseller, which helps explain the lack of prices on Dust jackets. Deluxe bindings of first four impressions were shipped in grey cardboard boxes with Step by Step, Great Contemporaries and Thoughts and Adventures at 32s. ($6.40) postpaid to mail order clients.
Through 1958, copies appeared in the two bindings: standard (bright red cloth blocked gilt and black on top board and spine, page edges unstained) and deluxe (red leatherette with author signature blocked gilt on top board and black leather title/author label on spine combined with multiple devices, rules and the Odhams name, also gilt, page edges stained red.) Boxes containing the “deluxe” binding are marked CHURCHILL SET D/L. The first impression is identified on the verso of its title page by no date beyond 1947 and the code “S.947Q.” Dust jackets were printed black, yellow and dark yellow on white paper.
In March 1965 Odhams reissued My Early Life in the same format but printed on thicker paper with new bright red leatherette boards: a circular drawing of Churchill printed maroon on cover, the spine blocked gilt with two black sections to resemble leather labels. This edition was sold individually at 18 shillings ($2.52) in a dust jacket printed red and black on mottled cream paper. It was also sometimes combined with Painting as a Pastime and Thomson’s Churchill: His Life and Times without jackets in a red slipcase—though more often, Heath’s Churchill Anthology was slipcased with the other titles.
The 1958 impression exists in plain medium red cloth with no black panels, top board blank, the spine imprinted with the title, author’s name and ODHAMS at the base. It is not a library rebind as the titling is in Odhams’ standard font, spacer artwork and leading.
All the Odhams editions are of incidental value, although the First Impression of 1947 is quite rare. The 1965 is the most handsomely presented version, and may often be found in fine jacketed condition.
First Canadian Edition
Cohen A91.10 / ICS A37fb
Publisher: The Reprint Society of Canada, Ltd., Montreal, 1948
Cream leatherette with black leather or leatherette spine label similar to Reprint Society edition and internally offprinted from it. Dust jacket printed bright yellow or tan on white paper. Although a mere book club issue, this is the first individual Canadian Edition and therefore of some interest.
Second School Edition
Cohen A91.11 / ICS A37i
Introduction by Andrew Scotland
Publisher: Odhams Pres Ltd., London, 1958
Blue cloth blocked gilt on top board (title, author name and SCHOOL EDITION) and on spine (author and title reading vertically upwards, ODHAMS reading horizontally. 280 pages numbered (i)-x and 11-280. Maps and plans within the text. A small (5 x 7 1/2″) hardback issued as a school textbook, this edition contains a reset text including a one-page introduction for Andrew Scotland who interprets the work for young people. Very popular at a time when British schools were still proud of Britain’s history, it saw at least thirteen impressions. The first impression, dated October 1958 and coded “T.1058.Q” on the title page verso, is very rare, but the edition has little value. Impressions noted: 10/58, 2/59, 11/59, 3/60, 10/60, 3/61, 10/61, 4/62, 10/62, 2/63, 7/63, 12/63 and 7/64.
First Paperback Edition
Cohen A91.12 / ICS A37j
Publisher: Collins Fontana Books, London & Glasgow, 1959
Paperback, 384 pages numbered (1)-382 (+2) plus two unnumbered pages containing four photos on coated stock. First published at a shilling (14¢), this edition saw 18 impressions through 1980; the impression can be determined from information on the title page verso, and the first impression is rare. Although Fontana announces on page (6) that the text “is that of the first edition,” it has been reset for paperback format. The first several impressions had un-illustrated covers, printed black, pale green, pale blue and red on white paper; over the years covers became more elaborate.
Fourth American Edition
Cohen A91.13 & .14 / ICS A37h
Publisher: Charles Scribners Sons, New York, 1958
Physically identical with the Third American Edition, except for the absence of illustrations, this version is significant in adopting the main title My Early Life for the first time in the United States.
Originally published in blue cloth blocked gilt on spine, it saw at least ten impressions: 1958, 1960, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1977, 1980, [?] and 1988. The last four impressions were in the “Hudson River” series of lowvolume reprints of important past Scribners titles (Cohen A87.14). The 1988 impression is marked for the merged company of Scribners Macmillan. Hudson River volumes, blue cloth blocked silver on spines, carry dust jacketed printed black and blue on cream laid paper.
Originally 5 1/4 x 8,” 384 pages numbered (i)-(xii) and 1-372, first published September 1960 at $1.45. (This first impression is coded “A-9.60 [C.]” on the verso of the title page). After at least three impressions in the 1960s and 1970s; the September 1972 issue carries a full-cover photo of Churchill in the uniform of the South Africa Light Horse. This paperback was reissued in 1987 at $10.95. The first impression is identified by a row of numbers from 10 down to 1 on the verso of the title page; it carries a maroon, blue and black cover with a photo of Churchill as MP for Oldham.
Manor Books Edition
Cohen A87.15 / ICS A37k
Publisher: Manor Books Inc., New York, 1972
Paperback, 384 pages numbered (i)-(xii) and (1)-372, plus 16 pages of photos and cover photo from the Columbia Pictures film, “Young Winston,” starring Simon Ward. Photographically reproduced from a Scribner edition, sold at $1.50. One impression known.
Cohen A91.18 / ICS A37L
Publisher: Leo Cooper, London, 1989
Black cloth, blocked gilt on spine, off-printed from the “Collected Works” 1974 edition. 390 pages numbered (1)-(390) plus 16 pages of photos on coated stock. Published at £14.95. This edition is significant in having an excellent five page foreword by Tom Hartman, and a note on the International Churchill Society, which collaborated in the reprint, following Churchill’s text. The dust jacket is printed black and red on white paper with the titles dropped out white.
New Paperback Issue
Cohen A91.19 / ICS A37m
Publisher: Mandarin Paperbacks, London, 1989
Photographically reproduced (reduced) from the Cooper Edition with the illustrations omitted, this oversize (5 x 7 34″) paperback was published at £5.99. The cover design, by Alison Wright, is based on a portrait of Churchill aged 5.
Cohen A91.21 / ICS A37n
Introduction by William Manchester
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, New York, 1996
Paperback, 396 pages numbered (i)-(xiv) and 1-372, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2.” The cover design takes three photos of Churchill in his youth against a large format of the MP for Oldham as background, with a facsimile of WSC’s signature printed light blue on dark blue at left. Notable for its evocative new introduction by Manchester (pages vii-xx), it is un-indexed and un-illustrated. Published at $14, still in print at this writing.
Danish: DE UNGE AAR
Published by Steen Hasselbalchs Forlag: Copenhagen 1931; over 40,000 copies in at least seven impressions: 1931, 1945, 1948, 1949 (smaller, thinner), each unbound or half brown leather; 1956 (yellow card wraps or full brown leather in slipcase); and1963 (paperback). Also published by Schönbergske: Copenhagen 1973 (paperback).
Dutch: MIJN JONGE JAREN / EEN WARE ZWERFTOCHT
Published by Allert De Lange: Amsterdam 1947. Later published by Uitgeverij Het Spectrum: Utrecht 1948, 1950; all paperbacks.
Published by Otava: Helsinki 1954 (bound in red cloth or unbound).
French: MES AVENTURES DE JEUNESSE
First published in pale green illustrated wrappers by Payot: Paris, 1931. Later French translations include MES JEUNES ANNÉES, Paris: Club français du livre 1960, 1965; MÉMOIRES D’UN JEUNE HOMME, Paris: Édition Spéciale 1972 and MES JEUNES ANNÉES (in French Braille).
German: WELTABENTEUR IM DIENST
Published by P. List: Leipzig 1931 (brown cloth), Munich 1946 (smaller, cheap half cloth binding), Rowohlt: Munich 1951 (no. 36 in a paperback series; at least two impressions, 100,000 copies). A later paperback (stated fourth edition) entitled MEINE FRUHEN JAHRE was published by P. List: Munich 1965.
Hebrew: SHACHARIT CHAYAI
Published by the Omanuith Co. Ltd.: Tel-Aviv, 1944.
Icelandic: BERNSKUBREK OG ÆSKUPREK
Published by Snælandsútgáfan: Reykjavik 1944. Bound in dark red or brown cloth; also in white card wrappers; all had dark blue dust jackets. Italian: MEMOIRIE (1874-1903) Published by Garzanti: Milan 1946, stated second edition 1947. Retitled GLI ANNI DELLA MIA GIOVINEZZA and published by Garzanti: Milan 1961 (a new translation with altered text).
Japanese: information needed
Korean: NAE JOLMUN NAL EUI CHUUK
Published by Pum jo Sa: Seoul 1987; published in the Jong sun Sekye Munhak (World Literature Series) by Chong rim: Seoul 1991.
Published by Gyldendal Norsk: Oslo 1935 (in cloth or wrappers); 1945 (same appearance, retitled MINE UNGE ÅR); 1956 (retitled UNGDOM, reset, smaller format, cream cloth boards). A paperback was published in 1973.
Portuguese: MINHA MOCIDADE
Published by Editora Nord-Sul: Rio de Janeiro 1941; three impressions, one in the late 1980s or early 1990s. Later published as MEMORIAS DA MINHA JUVENTUDE and A MINHA JUVENTUDE by Editorial Seculo: Lisbon 1947 and Carlos y Reis: Lisbon 1974.
Slovene: MOJA MLADA LETA
Published by Cankarjeva Zaloz: 1976 Page 22 of 26 MY EARLY LIFE
Spanish: Mí PRIMERA JUVENTUDE / UN MISSION ERRANTE
Published by Editorial Clarid: Buenos Aires 1941.
Swedish: MIN UNGDOM
Published by Norstedt: Stockholm 1931. Reprinted 1934, 1948 (Albatross Series: smaller, cheaper), 1953 (three printings), 1954, 1955 (published by Vingforlaget, part of Norstedt), 1963 (Vingforlaget), 1972 (Pam Books, reset paperback). A Swedish School Edition was published by A. Bonniers: Stockholm 1936, reprinted 1946. The volumes record at least 31,000 Swedish copies.
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