THE UNRELENTING STRUGGLE
(Cohen A172) (Woods A89)
The second volume of Churchill’s war speeches sold over 30,000 copies in Britain and over 20,000 in the United States and Canada. For the first time, a separate Australian edition was also published. Churchill’s son Randolph had gone off to war, so the editing and introduction were assigned to Charles Eade, then the editor of the Sunday Dispatch, who went on to also edit successive war speech volumes and the 1952-53 three-volume Definitive Edition. Internal illustrations were adopted for the first time by Cassell, who were nevertheless restricted to pulpy, acidic page stock because of wartime economy standards.
The volume contains seventy-two of Churchill’s speeches, broadcasts, and messages to Parliament from November 1940 through the end of 1941, a period marked by many setbacks as well as some disillusionment with the Prime Minister. The strength and fortitude he always exhibited in the face of bad news may inspire latter-day Page 1 of 13 The Unrelenting Struggle readers with much smaller problems. “I may not agree with all the criticism,” Churchill tells the House of Commons in January 1941: “I may be stirred by it, and I may resent it; I may even retort—but at any rate, Debates on these large issues are of the very greatest value to the life-thrust of the nation, and they are of great assistance to His Majesty’s Government.” What a contrast to the modern notion that we must at all costs avoid debate and “gridlock,” mouthed by politicians who really believe otherwise.
Not all the subjects of this book are depressing: there was the attack on the Italian fleet at Taranto, the early battles in North Africa and the victory of Sidi Barrani, the watershed meeting with Franklin Roosevelt in Newfoundland and the resulting Atlantic Charter, and that great speech to the U.S. Congress the day after Christmas 1941, the penultimate entry. “This long series of portentous events,” says the publisher, “is all recorded here in Mr. Churchill’s own forceful words that even now, when the breathless tide of war has borne us onwards, place them in perspective and give them their due significance.”
-Richard M. Langworth
From the Reviews
“Whether he is rendering periodic accounts of the war to the House of Commons, or exhorting civil defence workers or munitions makers to greater efforts, or speaking for England to a great ally, or a small people in distress, Mr. Churchill has always the secret of using the natural language for the idea. And when the ideas are great, natural language cannot fail of sublimity. These speeches have not the epigrammatic sparkle of Disraeli’s, or the poetic splendour of Bright’s, or the grand philosophic sweep of Burke’s, or the tormented moral passion of Cromwell’s. But they will be read in after ages because they will be recognized as coming nearer to the faithful interpretation of the feelings of those to whom and for whom the orator spoke than the words of any of these illustrious predecessors.”
–Times Literary Supplement, 3 October 1942
Because it contains speeches of even more importance to the ever-widening war, The Unrelenting Struggle is essential reading.
Although this important speech volume is easy to find in ordinary condition, fine jacketed firsts have become scarce and have lately shot way up. They will continue to rise. Foxing is a problem with the cheap wartime paper; unfoxed copies are scarce.
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Cohen A172.1 / ICS A89a
Publisher: Cassell and Company Ltd., London, 1942
Light blue cloth blocked gilt with title, author’s name (with titles C.H., M.P.) and CASSELL on spine. 8vo, 360 pages numbered (i)-x and 1-349 (+1), with frontispiece (J. Russell and Sons photo of the author) and four internal photographs on two coated paper leaves inserted between pages 70-71 and 230-31. Published 24 September 1942 at 12s. 6d. ($3.13).
Impressions and Quantities
Four impressions (incorrectly termed “Editions” in the volumes): June and November 1942, December 1943, August 1946, according to the volumes. Again Woods differs, listing a first impression of 10,900 and four later impressions of 23,500. We have never encountered an impression dated later than August 1946.
Identifying first editions: title page verso contains the line, “First Edition…1942” with no reprints indicated, and the code “F642” (printed in June).
A minority of copies, including some first editions, was bound in smooth, medium blue cloth. A very few in the standard binding were blocked navy instead of gilt. Publisher’s presentation copies were bound in full black pebble grain morocco.
In December 1943, some second impressions were bound in navy half morocco and blue cloth, top edges gilt for corporate presentation. Many bear a gift bookplate from the General Fire Appliance Company Ltd., London.
Jackets are printed light brownish orange fading into black on white paper. First impression jackets advertise Into Battle (“Eighth Edition”) on the front flap (second impression jacket advertises the “Ninth Edition”); the BBC (“LONDON CALLING OVERSEAS”) and notes about this volume on the back face. Since later jackets often find their way onto first editions, buyers of firsts should be certain the jacket is correct.
Cohen A172.2 / ICS A89b
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1942
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. 8vo, 382 pages numbered (i)- (x) and 1-371 (+1). Published 21 October 1942 at $3.50.
Impressions and Quantities
Two impressions: October 1942 (15,000 copies) and February 1944 (1000).
Identifying first editions: title page verso contains the line FIRST EDITION. Also, the second impression is 3/8″ shorter.
Jackets are printed black and red on white stock with the Karsh “growling lion” photograph on the front face. First Edition jackets contain a book blurb running on both flaps and quotes from the book on the back flap.
The nicest binding of a war speech volume by Little Brown, who replaced Putnam as Churchill’s American publisher. War economies would soon affect Little Brown productions, which became smaller and were printed on cheaper stock. Unfortunately the American Edition contains no illustrations.
Not uncommon, and often overpriced by dealers. Still, fine, jacketed, unfoxed firsts have become scarce.
Cohen A172.3, ICS A89c
Publisher: McClelland and Stewart Ltd., Toronto, 1942
An offprint from the Little, Brown American Edition, the Canadian Issue differs only in detail: McClelland and Stewart on the title page, no publisher name on spine, no price on jacket flap, and McCLELLAND | AND STEWART printed black on a red panel on the jacket spine.
Cohen A172.4 / ICS A89d
Publisher: Cassell and Company Ltd., Melbourne, 1942
Bound in rough white cloth blocked blue-black on spine with the wording identical to the English edition. Although wholly set and printed in Australia by Wilke & Co. of Melbourne, it follows the pagination of the English Edition and contains the same frontispiece and four internal photographs. There may, however, be small textual alterations (see an example of this in the Australian End of the Beginning.) Published 1942 at A 13s. 6d.
Variants and Dust Jackets
Two variant bindings are reported: dark blue cloth and black cloth with a moire pattern, blocked gilt. The dust jacket is unique, printed black and red on white paper with the spine lettered black; the jacket face contains the line BOOK SOCIETY RECOMMENDATION at bottom. There was only one impression; each copy contains the line “First Edition – – 1942” on its title page verso. (Do not be misled by later impressions listed on dust jackets of later Australian titles; these jackets were offprinted or copied from British jackets.)
The Australian Edition is an interesting production, and important in that it expanded Churchill’s speech volumes to a fourth major English-Speaking Nation. (The Australians did not publish a separate Into Battle but the front flap of this book’s dust jacket advertises the English Edition at A 12s. 6d.) Because of its uniqueness and desirability, there should be more interest in this edition. Truly fine copies are at a premium; most jackets have offset their titles onto the white boards.
Cohen A172.5 / ICS A89e
Publisher: The Continental Book Company AB, Stockholm, 1942
Bound in half tan cloth and laid paper blocked gilt on spine: CHURCHILL | THE | UNRELENTING | STRUGGLE between two gilt rules; a third rule at spine bottom. (The rules are also reported in brown). Interestingly, the top board bears the coat of arms from the Harrap Editions of Marlborough. Cream laid endpapers. Pagination per the first edition; frontispiece but no internal photographs. The jacket face looks like the English Edition but the jacket is printed on coated stock with several alterations: spine base blank where “CASSELL” usually appears; flaps blank; rear face advertises this book.
This interesting offprint of the first edition was published for distribution in what was left of free Europe; the title page verso carries the message, “This edition must not be introduced in the British Empire or in the U.S.A.” Churchill’s usual Swedish publisher, Skoglund, would produce two volumes of the collected War Speeches after the war, but were inactive during it. This is the only example of a war speech volume published in English in a non-English-speaking country, and is thus of some interest to the collector. Rarely seen, it sells for up to $150/£90, much more in the dust jacket.
Books for Libraries Issue
Cohen A172.6 / ICS A89f
Publisher: Books for Libraries, New York, 1978
A hardbound offprint, issued without dust jacket. Stocked until the early 1990s by the N. W. Ayer Company in Nashua, New Hampshire.
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