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Into Battle, inscribed by Churchill on his birthday, a week before the attack on Pearl Harbor, to his first cousin Clare Sheridan, "the nearest thing to a sister that Winston ever had"
London: Cassell and Company, Ltd., 1941. First edition, seventh printing. Hardcover. This is the first volume of Churchill's war speeches, inscribed and dated to his first cousin Clare Sheridan, "the nearest thing to a sister that Winston ever had." The unusually personal inscription inked in black in four lines on the first free endpaper reads: "To Clare | from | Winston | November 30 . 1941". The date is Churchill's own birthday, just a week before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Clare Consuelo Frewen Sheridan (1885-1970) was an accomplished sculptress and writer. Strong-willed, restless, fiercely independent, and intellectually curious, Clare shared many characteristics with her famous cousin, but lived a hedonistic, promiscuous life that was both financially and socially turbulent. Her cousin Winston was a presence throughout that life, as she was in his. Clare was the middle of three children born to Winston's Aunt Clara Jerome Frewen (1851-1935) and Moreton Frewen (the famously slipshod editor of Winston's first book). Clare was the only girl among the eight children born to the three famous Jerome sisters. In Clare's childhood, Winston was already a formidable presence. "Winston was a large schoolboy when I was still in the nursery... He filled me with awe." (Nuda Veritas, Clare Sheridan, p.14) Clare married Wilfred Sheridan in 1910. When their second daughter, born in 1913, died in her first year, "Clare was devastated and began her first attempts at sculpture to escape her grief." (Fortune's Daughters, p.302) Their only son Richard was born on 20 September 1915 and Wilfred was killed a few days later leading his men at the Battle of Loos. (FD, p.303) Winston wrote to Clare: "I know there is nothing I can write can ease a single throb of your immense sorrow, or soothe a moment of your loss. In the face of this terrible event I feel by how fond I am of you, how we have always been friends since you were a little tot... (Letter of 3 October 1915) Wilfred's death both devastated and released Clare; for the rest of her life she would make her living sculpting and writing. Clare and Winston's relationship was tested by her Bolshevik sympathies in the early 1920s, but endured. At the height of the war in 1942, Clare sculpted Winston. "...she came to him in the morning while he was still in bed... in the underground shelter, which had become the night-time annexe of the Prime Minister's residence... Clare grew frustrated trying to capture him, as he refused to keep still or to give up his cigar... but one morning managed to seize a few uninterrupted hours and finished the piece." (FD, p.378) Bronze versions of Clare's bust of Winston reside at Blenheim Palace, Chartwell, Harrow School, and Hastings Town Hall. A year after this inscription, Clare wrote to Winston: "You have pulled us through the dark tunnel into the light of dawn!" (8 November 1942 Letter from Clare to Winston). Into Battle contains speeches from May 1938 when Churchill was still out of favor and out of power, to November 1940, six months after Churchill became wartime Prime Minister. This inscribed volume is the first edition, seventh printing of July 1941. The volume is good condition, with superior contents. The blue cloth binding is square and tight with sharp corners and only light wear to extremities, but marred by dark staining to the top, bottom, and fore edges of the front cover that looks almost like an artist's careless exposure of the book to paint overspray. The contents are crisp and bright with spotting primarily confined to page edges. The author's inscription is the sole ownership mark. Clare apparently preserved the original dust jacket by pasting most of it within the book. The dust jacket front panel is affixed to the front pastedown, the front flap to the first free endpaper verso, and the rear panel to the second free endpaper recto. We have left the original binding intact, but a fine rebinding might be worthy of consideration. Bibliographic reference: Cohen A142.1.h, Woods/ICS A66(a.7), Langworth p.204
      [Bookseller: Churchill Book Collector]
Last Found On: 2015-06-17           Check availability:      Biblio    

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