-First English “Keystone Library” Edition-


First English “Keystone Library” Edition

By: Winston S. Churchill

Thornton Butterworth Ltd. [London]

Biblio: (Cohen A105.3.b?) (Woods A43b)

8vo (387 pages, illustrated with 25 portrait photographs)

Hardcover (without Dust Jacket) [Blue cloth]

Item Number: 208738


Collector's Guide

Great Contemporaries comprises twenty-one penetrating profiles of political and literary luminaries. An utter delight to read, beautifully written and brutally opinionated (Hitler comes off just a bit better than George Bernard Shaw), the ensuing “Revised” edition (and most future reprints) added four new profiles: Lord Fisher, Charles Stewart Parnell, Lord Baden-Powell and President Franklin D. Roosevelt.


This is a very good copy of the First English “Keystone Library” Edition, a 1940 budget issue of the Revised Edition of 1938. Incredibly, this edition is absent from Cohen’s Churchill bibliography.

The book is somewhat shelfworn, darkened along the spine with faded type. The contents are fine, with the ornate bookplate of Sir Michael Fraser on the pastedown and “Michael Fraser October 1940” inked on the half-title.

SIR MICHAEL FRASER (1915-1996) was a highly regarded Conservative Party functionary, who served as a lieutenant colonel with the Royal Artillery during WWII. As Director of the Conservative Research Department in the 1960s, Fraser turned down job applications from Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, on the grounds that they were “Communist agents.” He was, of course, later proved correct.