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The Second World War, full set of six British first editions
London: Cassell and Company, Ltd., 1948. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. Here is a premium full set of British first editions of The Second World War, Churchill's history of the epic 20th Century struggle that was so indelibly stamped by his leadership. Seldom, if ever, has history endowed a statesman with both singular ability to make history, and singular ability to write it. As with so much of what Churchill wrote, The Second World War is not "history" in the strictly academic, objectivist sense, but rather Churchill's perspective on history. In his March 1948 introduction to the first volume, Churchill himself made the disclaimer, "I do not describe it as history... it is a contribution to history..." Nonetheless the compelling fact remains, as stated by Churchill himself, "I am perhaps the only man who has passed through both the two supreme cataclysms of recorded history in high Cabinet office... I was for more than five years in this second struggle with Germany the Head of His Majesty's government. I write, therefore, from a different standpoint and with more authority than was possible in my earlier books." Certainly The Second World War may be regarded as an intensely personal and inherently biased history. Nonetheless, Churchill's work remains seminal, iconic, and a vital part of the historical record. Richard Langworth calls the six-volume epic "indispensable reading for anyone who seeks a true understanding of the war that made us what we are today." Jacketed British first edition sets in marginal condition are not uncommon. However, the coarse cloth bindings of this edition proved susceptible to soiling and mildew, the contents (printed on post-war "Economy Standards" paper) proved highly prone to spotting, the red-stained top edges are most often severely faded, and the dust jackets proved exceptionally vulnerable to pronounced spine toning. Consequently, superior jacketed sets have become scarce. Here is a beautiful, collector-worthy full set of British first editions featuring near fine plus volumes in near fine plus dust jackets. The black cloth bindings are simply immaculate - square, clean, and tight with sharp corners, bright spine gilt, and no discernible wear. The contents remain uncommonly bright and clean with no previous ownership marks. The red topstain is as good as we ever see, with strikingly rich, dark, uniform color across all six volumes. Laid in Volume I is the original purchase receipt, dated 27 September 1948 from Selfridges in London, which is particularly interesting since this precedes the official Volume I publication date of 4 October 1948. The only thing that prevents the volumes from being graded as truly fine is modest spotting to some of the fore and bottom edges. The dust jackets are likewise stunning examples, rare thus. All six dust jackets are complete examples, unclipped with no losses. Shelf presentation is exceptional, with bright red subtitles across all six volumes. Only volumes I & II show a hint of the typical toning, but even this is negligible. One has to have seen many jacketed sets - as we have - to appreciate just how scarce such truly superior sets have become. All six dust jackets are protected with removable, archival quality clear covers. Please note that this set may require additional postage. Bibliographic reference: Cohen A240.4(I-VI).a, Woods/ICS A123(ba), Langworth p.264.
      [Bookseller: Churchill Book Collector]
Last Found On: 2014-11-29           Check availability:      IOBABooks    


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