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The World Crisis: The Aftermath

The World Crisis: The Aftermath

The World Crisis: The Aftermath
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The World Crisis: The Aftermath Hardcover - 1929

by Winston S. Churchill

  • Used
  • Hardcover
  • first


London: Thornton Butterworth Limited, 1929. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a jacketed British first edition, first printing, of the fifth and penultimate volume of Churchill's monumental history of the First World War. A quarter of a century before the Second World War endowed him with lasting fame, Winston Churchill played a uniquely critical, controversial, and varied role in the “War to end all wars”. As The Aftermath subtitle suggests, this volume deals with the postwar years 1918 to 1928. Though the U.S. first edition of The World Crisis preceded the British, many consider the British edition aesthetically superior, with its larger volumes and shoulder notes summarizing the subject of each page. Unfortunately, the original dust jackets are scarce and the smooth navy cloth of the British first editions proved quite susceptible to wear, the contents prone to spotting and toning. Moreover, the cloth binding of this fifth volume proved particularly susceptible to blistering. Condition is very good in a good dust jacket. The navy cloth binding is square and tight with sharp corners and bright spine gilt. Apart from light shelf wear to extremities, the only aesthetic flaw is some mild blistering and creasing to the spine cloth. The contents are clean and bright, retaining a crisp feel. We find no previous ownership marks and no appreciable spotting. The page edges show mild toning and light soiling. The folding map at p.102 slightly protrudes from the text block, causing some fraying to the very edges of the blank margins. Of interest, laid into this copy we found the original purchase receipt for its 1929 purchase from an Edinburgh bookshop. The dust jacket has shallow loss at points along the edges, as well as small losses along the lower rear joint and a small hole at the center spine. The jacket spine is soiled and toned, with lesser soiling and toning to the jacket faces. The jacket is protected beneath a clear, removable, archival cover. The World Crisis was published in six volumes between 1923 and 1931. The first four volumes span the 1911-1918 war years. The fifth and sixth volumes deal, respectively, with the post-war years (The Aftermath) and the Eastern theatre (The Eastern Front). In October 1911, aged 36, Winston Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. He entered the post with the brief to change war strategy and ensure the readiness of the world’s most powerful navy. He did both. Even Secretary of State for War Lord Kitchener, with whom Churchill had been variously at odds for nearly two decades, told Churchill on his final day as First Lord “Well, there is one thing at any rate they cannot take from you. The Fleet was ready." (The World Crisis: 1915, p.391) Nonetheless, when Churchill advocated successfully for a naval campaign in the Dardanelles that ultimately proved disastrous, a convergence of factors sealed his political fate. Churchill was scapegoated and forced to resign, leaving the Admiralty in May 1915. Years later, Churchill’s wife, Clementine, recalled to Churchill’s official biographer “I thought he would never get over the Dardanelles; I thought he would die of grief.” (Gilbert, Vol. III, p.473) By November, Churchill resigned even his nominal Cabinet posts to spend the rest of his political exile as a lieutenant colonel leading a battalion in the trenches at the Front. Before war's end, Churchill was exonerated by the Dardanelles Commission and rejoined the Government, foreshadowing the political isolation and restoration he would experience two decades later leading up to the Second World War. And, of course, Churchill famously returned to the Admiralty in September 1939. Despite Churchill's political recovery, the stigma of the Dardanelles lingered. Hence Churchill had more than just literary and financial compulsion to write his history. Reference: Cohen A69.2(IV).a, Woods/ICS A31(ab), Langworth p.105.
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