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My Early Life
London: Thornton Butterworth Limited, 1930. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is an unusually clean and bright copy of the first edition, first printing, of Churchill?s extremely popular autobiography. My Early Life covers the years from his birth in 1874 to his first few years in Parliament. One can hardly ask for more adventurous content. These were momentous and formative years for Churchill, including his time as a war correspondent and cavalry officer in theatres as varied as Cuba, northwest India, and sub-Saharan and southern Africa. This time contained a wide range of experiences in Churchill?s life. Not only was he developing as an author, publishing his first books, and making his first lecture tour of North America, but this was also the time of his capture and daring escape during the Boer War, which made him a celebrity and helped launch his political career. Churchill would take his seat in Parliament only weeks after the end of Queen Victoria's reign. My Early Life remains one of the most popular and widely read of all Churchill's books. And for good reason, as the work certainly ranks among the most charming and accessible of his many books. An original 1930 review likened it to a "beaker of Champagne." That effervescent charm endures; a more recent writer called it "a racy, humorous, self-deprecating classic of autobiography." To be sure, Churchill takes some liberties with facts and perhaps unduly lightens or over-simplifies certain events, but this is eminently forgivable and in keeping with the wit, pace, and engaging style that characterizes the book. My Early Life sold very well at the time and has seen a great many editions since, many of them collectible in their own right, but of course a premium attaches to first editions. The challenge for collectors is that the plum colored binding of this edition proved especially susceptible to fading, soiling, and wear; nearly all copies are considerably spine faded. Moreover, the contents are susceptible to heavy spotting and the binding is often cocked. This helps explain why so many first editions of this book have been torn apart and rebound. This copy approaches near fine. The coarse cloth is square and tight with nicely rounded spine, sharp corners, bright gilt, and only trivial wear to extremities. The spine is sunned, as is inevitable, but far less so than we typically see, retaining some of the original plum color and bright gilt, and with clean presentation, marred only by a single, tiny black blemish above the author?s name. The contents are likewise unusually clean and bright. Light spotting is almost entirely confined to the page edges, with just a hint of spotting to the endpapers and prelims. The endpapers show a very faint indication of differential toning corresponding to dust jacket flaps, hinting that this copy may have long been jacketed, which would explain the superior condition of the binding. The sole previous ownership mark we find is a tiny Birmingham bookseller sticker affixed to the lower rear pastedown. The page edges are very lightly spotted and mildly age-toned, but otherwise clean. First edition, first printing is confirmed by the title page verso. Second state of the first printing is confirmed by the inclusion of the 1911-1914 volume of The World Crisis on the half title verso list of works by the author. The binding is protected with a removable, clear mylar protector and housed in a stout grey cloth slipcase with rounded and leather-trimmed caps at the opening. Bibliographic reference: Cohen A91.1.c, Woods/ICS A37(aa), Langworth p.131.
      [Bookseller: Churchill Book Collector]
Last Found On: 2016-10-22           Check availability:      Biblio    


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