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-The First Chartwell Edition (”Deluxe Binding”)-


First Chartwell Edition/Deluxe binding issue

Educational Book Co. Ltd. [London]

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

Large 8vo (Pages: 661, 612, 744, 822, 607, 638,profusely illustrated)

Hardcover [Blue leather]

Item Number: 206624

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 virtually mint set of the rarely seen “Deluxe” binding of the “Chartwell Edition,” which was offered by subscription only in early 1955, bound thusly in blue quarter-leather, or in a “Standard binding” of red cloth with leather spine labels.

In a note to this edition, dated 1 October 1954, Winston Churchill wrote: “Now a special edition is being published, illustrated for the first time, in which all those first minor errors have been corrected.”

The set contains 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. There were no dust jackets; the volumes instead arrived in plain glassine wrappers that easily deteriorated and are not present here.

The blue oasis Morocco leather is pristine here, as is the blue cloth. The blue topstains, are virtually unfaded. The contents are fine and appear unopened.

Very rare thus.