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-The First Chartwell Edition ("Standard" Binding)-


First Chartwell Edition ["Standard"Binding]

By: Winston S. Churchill

Educational Book Co., Ltd. [London]

Biblio: (Cohen A240.7.b) (Woods A123d)

Large 8vo (661, 612, 744, 822, 607 & 638 pages; profusely illustrated)

Hardcover [Watermelon Red cloth]

Item Number: 211451

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.


This is a very good example of the “Standard Binding” of the “Chartwell Edition,” offered by subscription only in early 1955, bound in fine-grain red cloth, with specially-commissioned embossed leather bust medallions of Churchill on each front board, and leather spine labels. There were no dust jackets, the volumes instead arrived in plain glassine wrappers that easily deteriorated and are absent here; we have added our own plasticine wrappers for protection.

Winston Churchill wrote in a note to this edition, dated 1 October 1954: “Now a special edition is being published, illustrated for the first time, in which all those first minor errors have been corrected.” The set presents Churchill’s definitive final text in readably large type, along with hundreds of illustrations on coated paper. Each volume contains a color frontispiece and three-color maps.

The cloth here has faded unevenly along the spines, but is unfaded on both faces of all volumes. The burgundy top-stains remain bright. The leather medallions are fresh, the notoriously fragile leather spine labels show some wear but are intact. The contents are fine, clean and unfoxed.