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[First Edition Presentation Copy Inscribed by Churchill to his Daughter Mary and her New Husband]

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By: Winston S. Churchill
Edition: First American Edition
Biblio: (Cohen A240.1[I].a) (Woods A123aa)
Date: 1948
Published: Houghton Mifflin Company [Boston]
Size (Details): 8vo (Maps, diagrams and tables throughout.)
Binding: Hardcover [Red cloth]
Volumes: 1 volume

Category: Signed
From: Churchill at Chartwell
Item Number: 16069



The best-selling six-volume history that helped gain Churchill a Nobel Prize for literature. Published first in the U.S., the ensuing English edition contained numerous corrections and even a few additional maps. It is therefore considered more definitive, though today the American edition may be rarer. The series was simultaneously published by the Book-of-the-Month-Club, printed on the same presses as the first editions, and thus today can easily be confused with them.

Description: Nothing in the realm of Churchillian first editions is more precious than a book inscribed by Winston Churchill to a member of his immediate family. Here is one such prize, a First American edition copy, in dust jacket, of THE GATHERING STORM – the premiere volume in Churchill's six-volume memoir of the Second World War – inscribed on the front free endpaper to his youngest daughter, Mary, and to her then-new husband, Christopher Soames: "To Mary and Christopher, from Papa 1948."

The book exhibits noticeable shelf wear to the cloth and moisture appears to have caused the ink inscription to smear just a bit but the contents are fine and the dust jacket, though edge-chipped and age-darkened, is intact and unclipped. The book is here preserved in a stunning, purpose-built, quarter-burgundy leather clamshell solander.

MARY SPENCER-CHURCHILL (today Lady Mary Soames) is the youngest of Winston and Clementine Churchill's five children, born on 15 September 1922. She married Christopher Soames on 11 February 1947 at St. Margaret's, Westminster. Soames was at that time Assistant Military Attache in Paris. Educated at Eton and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, before being gazetted 2nd Lieutenant Coldstream Guards in 1939, Soames had served throughout the war in the Middle East, Italy and France, attaining the rank of Captain in 1942. He would become an intimate companion to his father-in-law, even contributing notes to the writing of Churchill's Second World War memoirs. "I should like to have your narrative of the Battle as you saw it with the Cold Stream," Churchill wrote to Soames on 11 November 1948, "...I send you a few papers from my own secret file...These you might look refresh your memory."

THE GATHERING STORM was the initial volume in a history that would help gain Churchill a Nobel Prize for literature. Published first in the United States, it was officially issued on 21 June 1948, though Churchill is known to have received his first copies off the presses about three weeks prior. This particular presentation must have given him enormous pleasure. Mary had been his steadfast traveling companion during and after the war, and her own young family would grow up beside him at Chartwell. Fascinatingly, the book also contains copious penciled endnotes in Mary Soames' hand covering the rear free endpaper and pastedown. The notes relate to the first five chapters of the book, commencing with "Papa's" post-World War I career "After 1918," and concluding with the "General Election of June 1935."

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Bibliographic numbers (in parentheses) are from Frederick Woods' original Churchill bibliography (Woods), as emended by Richard Langworth in his Connoisseur's Guide; and from the new, greatly expanded Churchill bibliography by Ronald Cohen (Cohen).










Churchill Style: The Art of Being Winston Churchill