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Arms and the Covenant in the striking wartime dust jacket
George G. Harrap & Co., Ltd. 1938/1940, London - This is the precursor to Churchill's great war speeches, the British first edition in the extremely rare yellow dust jacket issued just after Churchill became Prime Minister. The book contains a collection of speeches spanning the years 1928 to 1938 criticizing British foreign policy and warning prophetically of the coming danger. The world remembers the resolute war leader to whom the British turned, but it is easy to forget the years leading up to the war which Churchill spent persistent, eloquent, and largely unheeded. Churchill bibliographer Frederick Woods called this edition "probably the most crucial volume of speeches that he ever published". As testimony to the book's importance, a copy of the U.S. edition lay on "President Roosevelt's bedside table, with key passages, including an analysis of the president's peace initiative, underscored." (William Manchester's The Last Lion, Volume II, p.305). Only 5,000 copies of this first and only British impression were printed, of which at least 3,381 and perhaps more than 4,000 were sold with the pale blue, first state dust jacket. The balance - no more than 1,619 copies and quite likely fewer - were offered at a lower price in June 1940 bearing a striking yellow dust jacket. Because the price was reduced with the yellow dust jacket, this has often been called by bibliographers the "Cheap" issue. Given that Churchill had just become Prime Minister in May 1940, we think it would be more fittingly called the "I Told You So" issue. The yellow dust jackets were issued on laid paper printed red on the front face and spine with a blank rear face and rear flap. Given the yellow paper and red print, they obviously proved quite susceptible to soiling and the red spine lettering is nearly always quite faded. Today these yellow, wartime dust jackets are exceedingly rare, considerably more scarce than their pale blue first issue counterparts. This dust jacket retains bright spine lettering, though the spine is toned and soiled with losses at the spine head and lower hinge corners. The front face remains bright, with only light soiling, corner wear, and a .5 inch closed tear at the upper edge. The rear face is soiled, but complete apart from corner wear and fractional chipping to the bottom edge. The front flap is neatly price-clipped. The dust jacket is protected in a removable, archival quality clear cover. The book itself is very good plus. A contemporary gift inscription from the month this dust jacket was issued helps date the issue of the yellow dust jacket to very early June, less than a month after Churchill became Prime Minister: "With best wishes and many thanks for your services on Wednesday, 5th June, 1940. From Margaret & Alan." The dark blue cloth binding remains clean, tight, and square with sharp corners and bright spine gilt. There is only a hint of sunning at the head of the spine corresponding with the dust jacket losses at the spine head. The contents are crisp and bright. Minor internal spotting is confined to the endpapers and half title. The blue-stained top edge retains good color. The fore edge and bottom edge are moderately age-toned and spotted. Bibliographic reference: Cohen A107.3, Woods/ICS A44(a), Langworth p.192. [Attributes: First Edition; Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Churchill Book Collector, IOBA]
Last Found On: 2014-10-29           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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