THE SECOND WORLD WAR
-Signed First American Edition Presentation Set to James Webb-
First American Edition Set
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: 210770
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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 the finest First American edition set that we have ever seen, in terms of condition; quite literally mint in every respect, each pristine dust jacketed volume preserved intact in individual red half-leather cloth solanders lettered in gilt on the spines.
Volume I is signed and dated in ink on the front free endpaper: “Inscribed by Winston S. Churchill 1952.”
This book was presented to JAMES E. WEBB (1906-1992), who served in President Harry Truman’s administration as Under-Secretary of State to Dean Acheson before becoming Administrator of NASA during the Kennedy and Johnson administration; the agency’s Golden Age. A Webb family blindstamp is impressed in two places on the signature page, not affecting the signature. The new $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope currently making headlines with extraordinary images of distant galaxies, planets and other outer space treasures is named for Mr. Webb. Acquired by direct descent from the Webb family.