-First American Edition Presentation Set Thrice Signed to Life Magazine Publisher Andrew Heiskell-


First American Edition Set

By: Winston S. Churchill

Houghton Mifflin Company [Boston]

Biblio: (Cohen A240.3[I-VI]) (Woods A123aa)

8vo (Maps, diagrams and tables throughout.)

Hardcover (with Dust Jackets) [Red cloth]

Item Number: 207711

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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 1), THEIR FINEST HOUR (Volume 2), THE GRAND ALLIANCE (Volume 3), THE HINGE OF FATE (Volume 4), CLOSING THE RING (Volume 5) and TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY (Volume VI). The ensuing English editions contained numerous corrections and even a few additional maps. The English edition is therefore considered to be more definitive, though today the American edition may be rarer. The set was simultaneously published by the Book-of-the-Month-Club, printed on the same presses as the first editions, and thus can easily be confused with them.


This First American edition set, in unclipped dust jackets, is signed and dated in ink in Volume II: “Winston S. Churchill 1949,” and in Volumes IV and VI: “To Andrew Heiskell from Winston S. Churchill,” hand-dated “1951” and “1954,” respectively.

Laid-into Volume IV is a typed note on Time and Life notepaper from Walter Graebner, Time magazine’s first foreign correspondent and a go-between for the company with Churchill as he wrote his War Memoirs: “Dear Bob, I am sending you a copy of the ‘Hinge of Fate’ inscribed to you by Mr. Churchill.”

Laid-into Volume I is a pre-printed presentation slip: “With all good wishes from Winston S. Churchill.”

The set is in generally very good condition. The dust jacket faces of all volumes are bright, the rear faces are a bit rubbed. The jackets are fresh, save for Volume I, which is well-worn along the spine, with fractional loss at the tail. The other jacket spines retain vivid spine color, with the exception of Volume V, which has faded significantly. Volume VI is a slightly later printing of the First edition, with a jacket priced at $6.50. The jacket spine exhibits a bit more edge-wear, with fractional losses to the head and tail.

The books are all in very good condition, the bindings and contents clean; the topstains all well-preserved.

ANDREW HEISKELL(1915-2003) went to work at Life magazine in 1938 as a science editor at the age of 23. In 1946, aged 30 he was named the magazine’s publisher. Heiskell continued to rise rapidly through the ranks at Time, Inc., finally becoming Time’s chairman and CEO in 1960. He lived to oversee the closing down of Life in 1972 and, in 1974, the inauguration of People magazine, which was essentially his brainchild.
Life magazine published Churchill’s Second World War Memoirs first in the U.S., in serialization. Heiskell, as publisher, thus received these first edition volumes personalized for him by Winston Churchill. “Let’s always remember,” Heiskell would tell his staff, “that the Churchill Memoirs are the biggest literary and historical project that Life, or for that matter any other publication, has ever undertaken.”