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THE WAR SPEECHES
-Signed First English Edition Presentation Set in Dust Jackets-
First English Edition Set (Volume I a Second Printing)
Cassell and Co. [London]
Biblio: (Cohen A142.1.c-A227.1) (Woods A66- A114)
Hardcover (with Dust Jackets) [Blue cloth]
Item Number: 208643
The War Speeches of Winston Churchill were first preserved in seven individual speech compilation volumes, collected and published yearly in the U.K. and in the U.S., beginning in 1941, under the following titles: Into Battle (1938-1940 speeches; published in the U.S. as Blood, Sweat and Tears), The Unrelenting Struggle (1940-1941), The End of the Beginning (1942), Onwards to Victory (1943), The Dawn of Liberation (1944), Victory (1945), and Secret Session Speeches (Various Dates). Unlike the English editions, which were all published by one publisher (Cassell), the American series was initiated by G.P. Putnam with Blood, Sweat and Tears, then carried on by Little, Brown, up till the final volume, Secret Session Speeches, which was published by Simon and Schuster.
This complete set of First English editions is signed in ink on the second front free endpaper of Volume 1, INTO BATTLE:
“Inscribed by Winston S. Churchill18 February 1941. For Mrs. Johnston.In these great days”
Winston Churchill, in January 1941, visited Edinburgh and Glasgow to asses bomb damage from the Blitz, in the company of FDR’s emissary, Harry Hopkins, who’d been sent to assess Churchill and Great Britain’s chances against the Nazis. The two men were escorted by Scotland’s Regional Commissioner for Civil Defense, Labour politician Tom Johnston, founder and editor of the radical magazine Forward. On the evening of January 29, Johnston hosted a dinner for Churchill and Hopkins at Glasgow’s Station Hotel. At dinner’s end, Hopkins rose and famously delivered these words to Churchill:
“I suppose you wish to know what I am going to say to President Roosevelt on my return. Well, I’m going to quote you one verse from the Book of Books in the truth of which Mr. Johnston’s mother and my own Scottish mother were brought up: ‘Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Even to the end.’”
According to those present, Hopkins speech left Churchill in tears. “The words seemed like a rope thrown to a drowning man” Churchill’s physician, Lord Moran, wrote in his diary.
Churchill appointed Tom Johnston Secretary of State for Scotland on February 12, 1941.
INTO BATTLE was published on February 6, 1941. Once Churchill had copies in his possession, he apparently signed this volume, which is, in fact a Second Printing of the First Edition (reprinted in the month of publication). His inscription is distinctive and, in retrospect, deeply resonant. “For Mrs. Johnston” is inscribed far down the page, not at the head. It appears to be more a reference to Hopkins’s eloquence than an actual presentation inscription to, say, Tom Johnston’s wife, Mrs. Margaret Johnston, or to Johnston’s mother, for that matter. The additional final phrase, “In these great days,” is most uncharacteristic for Churchill and unique to this inscription; Churchill seems never to have employed it again. The words certainly capture Churchill’s sea change in mood following Hopkins’ speech in the midst of what were, until then, very dark days indeed.
All volumes are in very good condition, in their correct, original, unclipped dust jackets, which are unusually fresh and bright.
INTO BATTLE dust jacket has a 2-inch-square loss at the spine head and a further square-inch of loss at the upper left corner of the front face. It is otherwise in spectacularly beautiful condition. The contents are fine as well, with very light scattered foxing to the fore-edge only.
THE UNRELENTING STRUGGLE dust jacket is slightly darkened with age and has a fractional loss near the upper right corner of the front face, else fine. The contents are fine, with very light scattered foxing to the fore-edge only.
All remaining volumes are virtually mint, with only hints of shelfwear.