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-Signed First American Edition Presentation Set Inscribed to Field Marshal Alexander-


First American Edition Set

By: Winston S. Churchill

Houghton Mifflin Company [Boston]

Biblio: (Cohen A240.1[I-VI]) (Woods A123aa)

8vo (Maps, diagrams and tables throughout.)

Hardcover (with Dust Jackets) [Red cloth]

Item Number: 203931

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 extraordinary First American edition set, in dust jackets, was presented, volume-by-volume, to Field Marshall Alexander by the author, Winston Churchill. The first five volumes contain Alexander’s bookplate on the front pastedowns. Tipped-into Volume I at the front free endpaper is an autograph note from Churchill, inimitable, and all in Churchill’s hand, on 28, Hyde Park Gate notepaper, that reads:

“My dear Alex, Herewith Vol. I of my war story. You do not come in yet. With my best wishes, Yours ever, W. 16. June 1948.”

Volume II is SIGNED and Inscribed in ink on the front free endpaper: To Alex from Winston 1949.

Volumes III, IV and V contain, tipped-in at the front free endpaper, the original pre-printed presentation slips that Churchill’s staff sent out: With all good wishes from Winston S. Churchill.”Volume VI contains this slip loosely laid-in.

The dust jackets are all correct, with $6.00 flap-prices, as called for. The jackets are all in very good condition, with fractional losses and edge chipping along the spines of all volumes, most pronounced on Volumes I and II. Volume I jacket is quite shelworn and faded across the spine, with losses at the head and tail and along the folds. Volume II jacket has a two-inch by one-inch loss along the upper edge of the front face, and a one-inch loss at the spine tail. The spine of Volume V is quite faded (as per usual). The books are all confirmed First American editions and in virtually mint condition; bright, fresh and unfoxed.

As significant a Presentation set as one may hope to find.

FILED MARSHALL HAROLD ALEXANDER, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis (1891-1969) oversaw the final evacuation of Dunkirk as Commander of the British Expeditionary Force, before becoming Commander-in-Chief in North Africa and commanding the 15th Army Group for the capture of Sicily. He was ultimatley made Supreme Allied Commander Mediterranean. Alexander had been educated, just as Churchill had, first at Harrow and then at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He was indispensable to Churchill and their relationship was close. “He was Churchill’s beau ideal of a soldier,” noted Churchill’s private secretary, Sir John Colville, “and the admiration was mutual.”