WAR SPEECHES 1940-1945

(Cohen A224) (Woods A113)

This softbound work is the first collected edition of war speeches, derived from the first six war speech volumes (Into Battle through Victory). In Artillery of Words, Frederick Woods wrote: “With these speeches, together with Arms and the Covenant, we have the clearest possible picture of Churchill the gladiator, the fighter, waging war with words as well as with bombs and bullets. No one knew better than he the propaganda value across the world not only of his constant refusal to admit defeat (though he acknowledged passing set-backs in the House of Commons) but also of his never-tiring assertions of eventual victory.”
In 1954, accepting the congratulations of Parliament on his eightieth birthday, Churchill uttered his famous assessment of his role as spokesman for Britain:

“I was very glad that Mr. Attlee described my speeches in the war as expressing the will not only of Parliament but of the whole nation. Their will was resolute and remorseless and, as it proved, unconquerable. It fell to me to express it, and if I found the right words you must remember that I have always earned my living by my pen and by my tongue. It was the nation and the race dwelling all round the globe that had the lion heart. I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar. I also hope that I sometimes suggested the lion the right places to use his claws.”

-Richard M. Langworth

Though a cheap production published on pulpy paper—mainly for export, probably—this is a significant work: the first collected edition of War Speeches, establishing the collected text later expanded in 1952-53 with the definitive three-volume edition. Ignored for years by collectors, it has since become recognized as an important volume and has become very rare both in Britain and abroad.

Not so many years ago copies could be bought for a few dollars (or the equivalent); today prices of near-fine copies (the aging of the paper makes really fine ones very rare) are high-pitched. The book’s poor materials mean that there are many worn or defective copies, so it is possible to own one without nearly such a high investment, but one has to look around.



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First Edition
Cohen A224.1 / WoodsA113

A113 Publisher: Cassell and Company Ltd., London, 1946
Softbound in wrappers printed black and light blue on white stock. 16mo, 284 pages numbered (i) -(x) and 1-271 (+3) plus coated paper frontispiece (J. Russell Sons photo of the author) facing the title page and tipped onto a blank free endpaper. Published July 1946 at 5s. ($1.25).

Impressions and Quantities
One impression of 20,000 copies.

None reported. Several collectors report copies without frontispieces, but examination has always shown that these were removed by a previous owner: the Russell photograph is highly frameable.




Foreign Translations (uniform with this volume)



Published by Cassell: London 1946.


Published by Cassell: London 1945. The first world edition of the Cassell paperback collected War Speeches, thus highly collectible. Adds one speech not in the English edition (21 September 1943) but lacks the last sixteen speeches of the English edition (1944-45). This edition contains a frontispiece photograph of the author.




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Click here for a list of terminology, bibliographic information, and other notes.