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My Early Life.
London: Thornton Butterworth Limited,, 1930. A Roving Commission. Octavo. Original dark pink cloth, titles to spine and front board gilt, publisher's device and broad single rules to covers in blind, bottom edge untrimmed. Housed in a custom red crushed half morocco solander box. Photographic frontispiece and 15 plates of which 12 from photographs, folding map, 8 maps and 2 plans to the text. Spine faded, and with a short closed nick to the headcap, very small portion of wear to head of front joint, corners very lightly bumped and rubbed, a few small pale marks to front cover, light toning. A very good copy. First edition, first impression, first state (without the cancel half-title). With Churchill's signed inscription to the front free endpaper: "Inscribed for Oliver Baldwin by his colleague at Westminster, Winston Churchill, August 1936". A superb association copy of Churchill's first volume of sustained biography. Oliver Baldwin (1899-1958) rebelled against the politics of his father, Stanley, and was elected Labour MP for Dudley in 1929, having unsuccessfully contested the same seat in 1924. He had previously seen active service in France before being appointed an infantry instructor in newly independent Armenia and serving in the Turkish-Armenian War, during which he was arrested first by Bolshevik revolutionaries and later by Turkish authorities who suspected him of being a Russian spy. When Stanley Baldwin became prime minister of the National Government in 1935 Churchill was invited to serve on the air defence committee, but really was hoping for a cabinet role. That winter he travelled to Morocco, where he received the news that his son, Randolph, was to contest the Ross and Cromarty by-election in February as Unionist candidate against Malcolm MacDonald, son of Ramsay and, until his narrow defeat in the general election in November, one of only eight remaining Labour MPs who supported the National Government. Churchill was appalled, fearing the consequences for his advancement under Baldwin, and wrote to Clementine that "Rothermere is sending Oliver Baldwin to write up Randolph, which he is apparently ready to do, and to write down Malcolm, which of course is what all other Socialists revel in. So we shall have Ramsay's son, Baldwin's son and my son ? all mauling each other in this remote constituency" (Gilbert, Churchill, vol. 5, p. 697). Churchill appears to have used his influence with Rothermere, who soon arranged for Oliver to write an article "examining the relations of fathers and sons in politics and pointing out that sons must take their own line and their fathers cannot be held responsible" (idem, p. 698). MacDonald comfortably won the election, with Randolph Churchill a distant third, and the following month Winston learned he was not to offered the newly created post of minister for the co-ordination of defence. Further differences between Churchill and the government were beginning to emerge, however, and in response to Baldwin's continuing emphasis on appeasement and defence, especially following the remilitarisation of the Rhineland, he "began to call for Britain to take the lead in the pursuit of collective security through the League of Nations, a policy that opened up the possibility of co-operation with the Soviet Union. And although he continued to base himself mainly on the Conservative Party, he began to reach out?with the assistance of a cross-party organization, the Focus?for Liberal and Labour support" (ODNB). In August, the month of the inscription, Churchill was much disturbed by the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. He wrote two articles for the Evening Standard, the first arguing for collective neutrality among the European powers, the second predicting that "the growing ascendancy of Nazism" would be accelerated, regardless of the result (Gilbert, Churchill, vol. 5, p. 783). He took little part in public controversy, though protested privately to Anthony Eden about the proposed Anglo-Egyptian Treaty. His main undertaking was to complete the third volume of Marlborough. He left for France on the 24th, spending a few days painting at the château of Consuelo Balsan near Dreux before travelling to Paris, where he had a sobering lunchtime discussion with French politician Georges Mandel, together with his literary assistant William Deakin, who had come to collect the Marlborough proofs. He returned to England in October to pursue his campaign for "arms and the covenant". Oliver Baldwin later returned to parliament as Labour MP for Dudley in 1945, was elevated to the peerage on the death of his father in 1947, and the following year was appointed governor of the Leeward Islands, though was recalled in 1950, probably owing to combination of his outspoken socialist views, his racially inclusive approach to the local population, and his open homosexuality, which had already been cited against him at the time of his appointment. He died in 1958.
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2016-11-26           Check availability:      Biblio    


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