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The Second World War
London: Cassell & Co. Ltd.,, 1948?54. 6 volumes, octavo. Original black cloth, titles gilt to spines, top edge red, grey endpapers decorated with a design that alternates a lion rampant with the initials WSC. In the typographical dust jackets with background design as per the endpapers. Maps and diagrams, some folding. Each volume with the bookplate of the Association of Men of Kent and Kentish Men. Top edges faded as usual, jackets a little rubbed, and a touch sunned at the spines, which are slightly crumpled at ends, but the cloth unspotted and the text-blocks clean, a very good set indeed. First editions, first impressions, except vol. II, which is the fourth edition of 1954; signed in full by the author on the half-title of vol. I and initialled in the same place in the others, for the Association of Men of Kent and Kentish Men, at the request of Wykeham Cornwallis, 2nd baron Cornwallis (1892?1982). Together with a one-page letter on the letterhead of La Pausa, Churchill's literary agent Emery Reves's house. In the letter, dated 9 February 1956, Churchill tells Lord Cornwallis, president of the association, that he "would be happy to do as you ask", signing the set as requested, that he is "returning to England for some days on February 10, so perhaps you would let me have the books sometime before I leave the country again towards the end of this month", and concluding that he is "indeed complimented by the wish of Kent County Society" for him to sign the books. After he left office in 1955 Churchill spent long periods with Reves and his partner Wendy at their home in the Alpes-Maritime. On this occasion he was there for a month. "He returned for another 11 substantial visits during the next three and half years, a total of 54 weeks" (Jenkins, Churchill, p. 904), during which time he worked on the completion of English-Speaking Peoples. At La Pausa, originally built by Churchill's friend Bendor, 2nd duke of Westminster, for his lover Coco Chanel, Churchill "was made an immensely welcome guest ? the central purpose of the Reveses' lives became the entertainment of Churchill", who much enjoyed "the poetic justice" of sharing in the "elegant luxury" which came from Reves's "highly profitable marketing of Churchill's post-war writings". An extremely appealing association copy, inscribed for a proud Man of Kent by an adoptive, but equally proud Kentish Man. Churchill had been smitten by the view across the Weald of Kent from Chartwell when he first visited in 1922, and the house and estate became one of the loves of his life, famously he declared that "A day away from Chartwell is a day wasted". Lord Cornwallis was born in Linton, east of the Medway. He is probably best remembered for his role in creating the County of Kent squadron of the RAF during the Battle of Britain. Inspired by a meeting with Squadron Leader Bob Stanford Tuck when he was shot down over his home near Maidstone, Cornwallis established the Kent County Spitfire Fund, which raised £100,000 for the purchase of planes in a little over a year, which generosity he acknowledged with an exhortation to "remember that when you look upward to the skies, it may be your squadron that is defending the gateway of England and ask for God's blessing and protection for those glorious men who are riding on the wings of the White Horse of Kent".
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2016-12-09           Check availability:      Biblio    

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