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-Signed Second English Edition Set in Dust Jackets-


Second English Edition Set

By: Winston S. Churchill

Cassell and Co. [London]

Biblio: (Cohen A240.4[I.d, II.b, III.a, IV.b, V.a, VI.b]) (Woods A123ba)

16mo (Maps, diagrams and tables throughout)

Hardcover (with Dust Jackets) [Black cloth]

Item Number: 209549

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 unique Second English Edition set has been signed in ink on the half-title of Volume I: “Inscribed by Winston S. Churchill 1957.”

Winston Churchill was famously disappointed to discover that the English First Edition of Volume I had been printed by Cassell in a 10-point Bembo typeface, rather than the larger 12-point that Churchill had originally approved. This reduction enabled Cassell to print an additional 15,000 copies but it led to snide remarks from “many of my friends,” according to Churchill, “that they would be happy to read” Volume I “as soon as they could find a magnifying glass.” The Second Edition, as a result, published the following year, 1949, was entirely reset in the larger 12-point type. “For this new issue,” Churchill wrote in his Note to the New Edition, the publishers have found it possible to reset the entire book in a larger type, a change which it is hoped will be found agreeable to all readers.”

The Volume I dust jacket is labeled on the spine:
“2ND. EDITION (RESET).” A further distinguishing feature of this set is that Volumes II, IV and VI are also Second Editions, in dust jackets with spine labels that uniformly state: “2ND. EDITION.” Volumes III and V did not have second editions published until the 1960s, and so never had similarly labeled jackets. Thus, these are First Editions in their correct jackets.

All of the jackets are variably faded, but in very good condition. Volumes I and IV jackets are neatly price-clipped.

The books are in excellent condition, crisply bound, with bright cloth and marginally faded topstains. The contents are fine, with very light, scattered foxing limited largely to the fore-edges.

Really quite rare thus, if not one-of-a-kind.