THE DAWN OF LIBERATION
(Cohen A214) (Woods A107)
Printed in March 1945 but not published until after V-E Day, the fifth book of war speeches appears almost anticlimactic, but its array of speeches, messages, broadcasts and replies to Parliamentary questions involve the last great events of the war: D-Day and the invasion of France, the Soviet steamroller in the East, the futures of Poland (grim) and Greece (hopeful); the V2 rocket bombs halted finally by the Allied armies rolling into Europe. Chronologically the text covers utterances from 22 February to 31 December 1944. Churchill was traveling even more in 1944 than in previous years, so many speeches are from abroad: Italy, Quebec, Moscow, Paris and Athens.
Everywhere that The Dawn of Liberation falls open offers something of interest. A random flip lands on page 69, with Churchill addressing the Commons on Empire Unity: “We had a pretty dreary time between these two wars. But we have great responsibilities for the part we played—so we have, all of us—and so have the Americans in not making the League of Nations a reality and in not backing its principles with effective armed forces, and in lettering this deadly and vengeful foe arm at his leisure. But underneath, the whole Empire and ourselves in these islands grew stronger and our resources multiplied. Little was said about our growth. Little was visible of our closer union; while the forces which had sent the Anzac Corps to the Dardanelles, and afterward to the Hindenburg Line, and carried the Canadians to Vimy Ridge, were all growing, unseen, unnoticed, immeasurable, far below the surface of public life and political conflict.”
There is also a looking ahead, a surveying of the future, that is not evident in the earlier war speech volumes, Churchill assuming, of course, that he would lead Britain into the postwar years: “We must remember that we shall be hard put to it to gain our living, to repair the devastation that has been wrought, and to bring back that wider and more comfortable life which is so deeply desired. We must strive to preserve the reasonable rights and liberties of the individual. We must respect the rights and opinions of others, while holding firmly to our own faith and convictions.” Good advice for any nation or time.
-Richard M. Langworth
From the Reviews
“[Churchill’s] eloquence can be by turns lofty and severe, humorous and playful, with a touch of Bunyan, a touch of Macauley, a touch that seems American. Some phrases ring like trumpets: ‘hard and obstinate’; ‘fell and ferocious’; ‘the eye of the spirit’; ‘scarred and armed with experience.’ ‘Drive on through the storm,’ he was saying almost a year ago today, ‘now that it reaches its fury, with the same singleness of purpose and inflexibility of resolve as we showed to the world when we were all alone.’
“He has a sort of cackling homeliness at times that is almost touching, so honest and boyish is it: ‘When you have to hold a hot coffee pot it is better not to break the handle off until you are sure you can get another equally convenient and serviceable, or at any rate until there is a dish-cloth handy.’ He says he never thought ‘that the empire needed tying together with bits of string.’ He turns scriptural and says he must pick his way ‘among heated plowshares.’ He says, with apparent ingenuousness, ‘There is nothing like talking things over and seeing where we can get to.’ He has a nice way with his parliamentary opponents: ‘In an unconceivably short space I shall be seated, and the honorable gentleman, if he should catch the chairman’s eye, will then be able to fall upon me with all his pent-up ferocity.’ He discusses the strategy of ‘Corporal’ Hitler and adds, ‘Altogether, I think it is much better to let officers rise up in the proper way.’ He resents having this ‘squalid caucus boss and dictator’ compared with Napoleon.
“This brilliantly successful journalist and lecturer, who at 30 was taking thousands of dollars from American audiences by putting on one of the best one-man shows of the time; this expert parliamentarian, thrusting, parrying, turning the laugh, moving even his opponents to applause; this war correspondent Prime Minister, whose “reviews of the war” are as good as any reporting that has been done during this conflict; this statesman is not really a man of ideas. He is an Elizabethan and an American in being a man of action.”
-R. L. Duffus, New York Times Book Review, August 5, 1945
An important companion to the other war speech volumes, uniformly bound and jacketed.
The reprint must have been small because almost every volume encountered is a first edition. Somewhat more easily found in very good condition than the earlier war speech volumes, but still a prize in full fine condition.
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Cohen A214.1 / ICS A107a
Publisher: Cassell and Company Ltd., London, 1945
Light blue cloth blocked gilt with title, author’s name (with titles C.H., M.P.) and CASSELL on spine. 8vo, 338 pages numbered (i) -x and 1-327 (+1), with frontispiece (The King and Dominion Prime Ministers) and five internal photographs on two coated paper leaves inserted between pages 100-01 and 228-29. Published 26 July 1945 at 12s. 6d. ($2.50).
Impressions and Quantities
Two impressions (incorrectly termed “Editions” in the volumes): 1945 and 1947.
Identifying first editions: title page verso contains the line, “First Published 1945” with no reprints indicated, and the code “F.345” (printed in March). The first impression numbered 14,250 copies.
Publisher’s presentation copies were bound in black pebble grain morocco.
Jackets are printed black and yellow fading into purple-blue on white paper. True first impression jackets advertise Into Battle, The Unrelenting Struggle, The End of the Beginning and Onwards to Victory on the front flap; the BBC (THE VOICE OF BRITAIN) on the back flap, and notes about this volume on the back face
Cohen A214.2 / ICS A107b
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1945
Red cloth blocked gilt and black. Title and author’s name separated by thick rule blocked gilt on black inside thin gilt frame on top board and spine. Also on spine are wavy lines top and bottom and publisher’s name, all gilt. 16mo, 431 pages numbered (i) -(xiv) and (1)-(416) (+2). Published 2 August 1945 at $3.50.
Impressions and Quantities
One impression of 3500 copies.
Jackets are printed black and red on white stock with a silhouetted photograph of Churchill in a uniform striding toward the camera. The jackets contains a book blurb on the front flap, a publisher’s note on the back flap, and praise of the author on the back face.
Although uniform with earlier Little Brown war speeches, this is substantially thinner because paper rationing had by then come to America. “In 1941 this volume would have been larger, or thicker, or heavier, and perhaps all three of these, and might have been set in a larger type face with wider margins to the page,” states the publisher on the rear jacket flap. This edition was reset but the contents were not altered; there is no frontispiece or internal illustrations.
Now fairly hard to find, the American Edition will soon rise to the level of the equally scarce American postwar speech volumes.
Cohen A214.3 / ICS A107c
Publisher: McClelland and Stewart Ltd., Toronto, 1945
An offprint from the Little, Brown American Edition, the Canadian Issue was printed on standard paper and is nearly 50% thicker, though of the same height and width. The differences are the McClelland and Stewart name in place of Little, Brown on the spine and title page, no price on jacket flap, and McCLELLAND | AND STEWART printed white on the jacket spine. The back jacket flap makes no mention of economy standards and instead advertises While There is Time by Stephen Leacock. The red cloth is coarser and lighter than the American Edition. The solitary impression is uncommon but not expensive.
Cohen A214.4 / ICS A107d
Publisher: Cassell and Company Ltd., Melbourne, 1945
Bound in light blue cloth blocked navy on spine with more words than the English Edition: title, and publisher’s name plus “Speeches | by the | Right Hon. WINSTON S. | CHURCHILL, | C.H., M.P.” 8vo, 326 pages numbered (i) -(xii) and 1-314 (+2). Wholly set and printed in Australia by Wilke & Co. of Melbourne. Illustrations are the same as the English Edition but the frontispiece photo is between pages 20-21 and the other photos are between pages 52-53 and 147- 48. Published at A 12s. 6d.
This reset text has different pagination from the English edition but contains the same material; jacket colours are similar but lighter and the flaps advertise the four previous Churchill war speech volumes (front), the BBC (back) and the contents of this volume (back face). The solitary impression carries on its title page verso the line, “First Australian Edition 1945.”
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