The Official Biography: SIGNED FIRST ENGLISH EDITION Set [COMPLETE]
[SIGNED by Randolph Churchill, Clementine Churchill and Sir Martin Gilbert]
Randolph Churchill and Martin Gilbert
First English Edition Set First English Edition Set [Volume VI Companion volumes all First American editions]
William Heinemann, Ltd. [London]
Hardcover (with Dust Jackets) [Red cloth]
The Official Biography
Churchill at Chartwell
This First English edition set, in dust jackets, is one of the more extraordinary examples of the Official Biography that we have ever encountered; SIGNED in sequence by Randolph Churchill, Clementine Churchill and Martin Gilbert.Volumes I and II are SIGNED and inscribed on the title pages by Randolph Churchill to the Hollywoood film star Douglas Fairbanks (whose bookplates appear on the front pastedowns). The inscription in Volume I reads: "Inscribed for Douglas Fairbanks by Randolph S. Churchill, Nov. 66." The inscription in Volume II reads: "Inscribed for Douglas Williams [sic] by Randolph S. Churchill" (Randolph may well have been in his cups).Volumes III-V are each SIGNED in ink on the front free endpapers by Clementine Churchill: "Inscribed by Clementine Spencer Churchill." (The words: "April - 92 age" have been jotted just above the inscription in Volume IV, which dates the signature to 1977. Clementine Churchill was born on April 1, 1885 and died on December 12, 1977 at the age of 92.) Though the hand is shaky, the fact that Clementine did indeed sign volumes of the Official Biography is quite surprising. These may, in fact, be unique. Finally, Volume VII has been neatly SIGNED in ink on the title page: "Martin Gilbert." All volumes are English First editions, save for the three Volume VI COMPANION Volumes, which are First American editions. The set is wrapped entirely in correct dust jackets, as issued.. All COMPANION Volume jackets are in very good condition, with bright faces and unfaded spine type; unclipped, save for Volume I Part 1, Volume III Part 2 and Volume IV Parts 1-3, which are price-clipped. The dust jackets for MAIN Volumes I-IV are lightly edge-worn with some chipping and shelf-wear, but they are all unfaded and unclipped. The remaining MAIN Volume jackets are virtually mint; unclipped, save for Volume VI, which is price-clipped. The contents of Volumes V-VIII are mint. The contents of Volumes I-IV do exhibit varying degrees of wear and age, with some scuffing to the prelims, some fading to the topstains, a whisper of scattered foxing to the fore-edges of Volumes I and II, paper clip shadows on the signature page of Volume III, and a professionally repaired front hinge break in Volume IV. Overall, however, this is a first class set in terms of condition and a singular rarity in terms of signatures; quite possibly beyond compare.
Please Note: This is a weighty item and does not qualify for free shipping.
The Official Biography is the ultimate source work about Sir Winston Churchill and the longest biography ever published (the actual Guinness record holder). Begun by Churchill's son Randolph (who authored Volumes I and II), the 8-volume set was completed (Volumes III-VIII) by Sir Martin Gilbert, whose great achievement it remains. The 8 Main text volumes are supplemented by 18 Companion volumes (to date) that reproduce in their entirety most of the letters and documents referred to in the Main volumes. These Main volumes consist of Volume I: Youth (1874-1900), Volume II: Young Statesman (1901-1914), Volume III: The Challenge Of War (1914-1916), Volume IV: The Stricken World (1917-1922), Volume V: The Prophet Of Truth (1922-1939), Volume VI: Finest Hour (1939-1941), Volume VII: Road To Victory (1941-1945) and Volume VIII: Never Despair (1945-1965). The Companion volumes are comprised of: Volume I (2 parts); Volume II (3 parts); Volume III (2 parts); Volume IV (3 parts); Volume V (3 parts); and Volume VI (5 parts, with more still to come. The last two are the work of Hillsdale College Press, and are numbered somewhat differently). A total of five further Companion volumes are still planned. Sir Martin Gilbert passed away in 2015.