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Lord Randolph Churchill, inscribed by Churchill to Brigadier-General Simon Fraser
London: Macmillan and Company Limited, 1907. Second Edition. Hardcover. This is Churchill's first biographic work, concentrating heavily on his father's career in Parliament after 1880. The British first edition was published in two volumes in 1906. In 1907, the publisher issued an unabridged, one-volume edition (printed on thinner paper). The binding closely resembles that of the first edition of just a year earlier; the binding cloth and shelf appearance are the same except for the absence of the gilt title and coat of arms on the front cover of the one-volume edition. This particular copy bears a noteworthy five-line inscription in black ink on the half title reading: "To | Simon Fraser | from | Winston S. Churchill | 1908-1922". Brigadier-General Simon Joseph Fraser, 14th Lord Lovat and 3rd Baron Lovat KT, GCVO, KCMG, CB, DSO (1871-1933), was a prominent Scottish Roman Catholic aristocrat, soldier, politician, and one of the largest landowners in Britain. Lord Lovat served with distinction in both the Boer War and the First World War, where he commanded the Highland Mounted Brigade at Gallipoli. He would later serve with Churchill in the Conservative administration of Stanley Baldwin as Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs from 1926 to 1927. Churchill's inscription is an epitaph for his stormy, 15-year tenure as M.P. for the Scottish industrial constituency of Dundee. In 1908, Churchill - still in his mid thirties - was promoted to the Cabinet. At the time, an old rule required that newly appointed Cabinet Ministers had to seek re-election by their constituencies. Unfortunately for Winston, the by-election became a test of confidence in the Liberal government. Forced to defend the Government's policy of the past two years, targeted by vengeful Conservatives, and hounded on the hustings by Suffragettes, Churchill lost his seat. Literally within minutes of his defeat, Churchill received a telegram from Dundee Liberals inviting him to become their candidate. When he did accept the invitation - 72 hours later to the chagrin and consternation of local pride - Churchill wrote to his mother: "It is a life seat and cheap and easy beyond all experience". This was not to be the case. At the time, Churchill was a young lion of the Liberal Party, vexing the British establishment and helping lay the foundations of the modern welfare state. In 1904, he had quit the Conservative Party and joined the Liberals, beginning a dynamic chapter in his political career that saw him champion progressive causes and be branded a traitor to his class - doubtless endearing him to the people of Dundee. Nonetheless, the gap between him and his constituents was acute. Dundee was a predominantly working class constituency - "a dark mass of dirty grey sandstone tenements, punctuated by high chimney stacks and church spires", heavily reliant on the volatile textile trade. In 1922, Churchill lost his seat in a 6-way contest, in which he placed 4th. His party was likewise slaughtered at the polls, winning only 62 seats and becoming insignificant. At the time, the loss seemed like Churchill's political denouement. However, two years later, after losing two by-elections, he won his way back to the House of Commons as an independent. When Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin brought him into his Cabinet as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Churchill turned full circle, becoming once more a Tory, which he would remain for the remaining 40+ years of his long political life. The inscription is distinct and unfaded, though the ink has bled slightly onto the facing blank endpaper. The book itself is in nearly very good condition, retaining the original, unrestored binding in dark red cloth with gilt top edge. The binding is tight and square with a modestly sunned spine, darkened spine gilt, and minor wear at extremities. The contents are clean and bright with no spotting and no markings other than the author's inscription. Bibliographic reference: Cohen A17.4, Woods/ICS A8(b), Langworth p.74
      [Bookseller: Churchill Book Collector]
Last Found On: 2015-03-30           Check availability:      Biblio    


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