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THE GATHERING STORM (Volume I of “The Second World War”)

-First French Edition Signed by Winston Churchill-


First French Edition

By: Winston S. Churchill

Librairie Plon [Paris]

Biblio: (Cohen A240a)(Woods 123)


Softcover [Dust-jacketed printed wraps]

Item Number: 8736

Collector's Guide

The Second World War, also known as Winston Churchill’s War Memoirs, won Churchill  the Nobel Prize for literature in 1953. Published in six volumes that appeared over six years, the books each came out first in the U.S. under the following titles: THE GATHERING STORM (Volume I/1948), THEIR FINEST HOUR (Volume II/1949), THE GRAND ALLIANCE (Volume III/1950), THE HINGE OF FATE (Volume IV/1950), CLOSING THE RING (Volume V/1951) and TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY (Volume VI/1953).

The ensuing English editions, issued within months of the American, contained numerous corrections and even a few additional maps. The English edition is therefore considered more definitive, though today the American edition may be rarer. The set was simultaneously published by the Book-of-the-Month-Club in America, printed on the same presses as the first editions, and thus can easily be confused with them. An excellent one-volume abridgment was published in 1959; largely the work of Churchill’s research assistant, Denis Kelly, though Churchill did contribute an interesting epilogue covering the years 1945-1957.


The first volume of Churchill’s MEMOIRS OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR in the very fragile First French edition, signed and dated in ink on the front free endpaper: “Winston S. Churchill, 1955.”

This was the first of twelve small softcover volumes that comprised the complete French issue. It contains Churchill’s amended Foreword exonerating the French “poilu” for their wartime failures. The pictorial dust jacket is lightly chipped and worn, reinforced internally, but entirely intact. The contents are fine, with pages a bit age-browned.

A spectacular rarity preserved in a handsome burgundy cloth-faced solander with a gilt-lettered leather spine.

A spectacular rarity preserved in a handsome burgundy cloth clamshell solander with a gilt-lettered leather spine.