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Book Collector's Guide

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We are pleased to offer on-line:
A Connoisseur's Guide to the Books of
Sir Winston Churchill
by Richard M. Langworth

This virtual tutorial is a must for any serious Churchill book collector. A Connoisseur's Guide To The Books Of Sir Winston Churchill may be downloaded one title at a time.


Churchill's first book: true-life military adventures drawn from newspaper despatches filed by the 22-year-old correspondent while serving on India's Afghanistan-bordering Northwest Frontier under Major-General Sir Bindon Blood. Wrenching to read how little has changed in this region since Churchill's time. The First Edition is easily distinguished by its apple-green cloth binding but MALAKAND is prized by collectors in almost any edition.

THE RIVER WAR [1899] (Cohen A2) (Woods A2)

More blood and guts reportage by young Winston, the war correspondent, here in his second book delivering a brilliant history of British involvement in the Sudan and an account of the fierce campaign for its reconquest that Churchill himself participated in and, in many significant ways, disapproved of. Originally published in two large, lavish and, today, extremely rare volumes. All subsequent editions were significantly abridged.

SAVROLA [1900] (Cohen A3) (Woods A3)

The first and only Churchill novel, a statement of personal and political philosophy delivered as a fictional adventure yarn. U.S. publication preceded the British issue by roughly ten days, rendering the American first edition the true first.


The first of two Boer War volumes derived from young Winston's newspaper despatches as a war correspondent in South Africa, featuring a thrilling account of his escape from the Boers, an escape that helped launch his political career. The First English edition was published elaborately in fawn-colored cloth stamped with a striking cover illustration of the infamous armored train that Churchill was defending when he was captured. The American edition is an unadorned, though still handsome, red cloth binding with gilt lettering.

IAN HAMILTON'S MARCH [1900] (Cohen A5) (Woods A5)

The culmination of Churchill's Boer War narrative in South Africa that began with LONDON TO LADYSMITH, including the triumphant liberation of his former-POW campmates in Pretoria.

MR. BRODRICK'S ARMY [1903] (Cohen A10) (Woods A6)

The holy grail of Churchill book collecting, a 102-page softcover collection of six empahtic Parliamentary speeches delivered by the then-29-year-old MP opposing plans for expanding England's peacetime army. Published by Arthur L. Humphreys, General Manager of Hatchard’s, the venerable London bookshop that still very much exists at number 187 Piccadilly. Hatchard’s, in 1903, already had a long history as a publisher of pamphlets - political and otherwise. Three years hence, Humphries and Hatchard's would issue Churchill’s next speech compendium, FOR FREE TRADE in an Identical format to MR. BRODRICK, bound in unprepossing red printed wraps that did not age gracefully. The surviving handful of BRODRICK copies (as few as 20 accounted for) today constitute the stuff of collectors' dreams.

LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL [1906] (Cohen A17) (Woods A8)

Churchill's impassioned two-volume biography written in defense of his maligned father's posthumous reputation. Subsequently issued in an unabridged one-volume edition. A bulwark of any Churchill collection.

FOR FREE TRADE [1906] (Cohen A18) (Woods A9)

In tandem with MR. BRODRICK’S ARMY, FOR FREE TRADE has always been the holy grail of Churchill collecting. A small, 136-page, softcover collection of nine speeches delivered on the title subject by Winston Churchill as a 31-year-old MP for Manchester, FOR FREE TRADE was published (at 1 shilling [25c]) by Arthur L. Humphreys, General Manager of Hatchard’s, the venerable London bookshop that still very much exists at number 187 Piccadilly. Hatchard’s, in 1906, already had a long and illustrious history as a publisher of pamphlets - political and otherwise - including Winston Churchill’s earlier speech compendium, the aforementioned MR. BRODRICK’S ARMY, which Humphreys and Hatchard’s had brought out three years before. Identical in format and binding to MR. BRODRICK'S ARMY and just as precious, FOR FREE TRADE may in fact be rarer today than the infamous BRODRICK. Both books were produced in small numbers, bound in unprepossing red printed wraps that did not age gracefully. Again, the surviving handful of copies of FOR FREE TRADE (as few as 12-15 accounted for) today constitute the stuff of collectors' dreams.

MY AFRICAN JOURNEY [1908] (Cohen A27) (Woods A12)

Big game hunting with young Churchill as guide; a travelogue of Britain's East Africa possessions written by the then-Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. The first English edition is particularly coveted for its handsome cover woodcut of the author posed beside a trophy rhinoceros. The more plainly-bound American edition, which utilized English first edition sheets, has no woodcut on its brownish-red buckram cover but is a far rarer book.


Churchill's first widely-published hardcover collection of political speeches, expressing "radical" liberal views that were quite advanced for his time, prefiguring the modern welfare state that Churchill and David Lloyd George would set in motion. Though the burgundy clothbound English edition was handsomely produced, with Churchill's signature in gilt across the front board, the American edition, similarly bound but without the gilt signature, is rarer. Increasingly scarce in either edition.

THE PEOPLE'S RIGHTS [1910] (Cohen A31) (Woods A16)

Six speeches from the 1910 General Election rebuking the Tories for their rejection of "The People's Budget." Originally published in simultaneous hard and softcover editions, the book is rarely encountered today in either format. In fact, this is probably the third rarest Churchill book after MR. BRODRICK'S ARMY and FOR FREE TRADE. It was reprinted twice in the 1970s, though even these reprints are scarce today.

THE WORLD CRISIS [1923-1931] (Cohen A69) (Woods A31)

Churchill's highly subjective history of the First World War; five volumes (in six books) written over eight years. Initial volumes were first published in the U.S. (by a matter of days), making the American edition the true first edition. Volume I (1911-1914) and Volume II (1915) were published in 1923. Volume III (1916-1918 ) was published in two parts in 1927 (hence the five/in six volumes ultimate format). Volume IV (THE AFTERMATH 1918-1928) was published in 1929; and Volume V (THE UNKNOWN WAR/EASTERN FRONT) in 1931. A one-volume abridgement by the author was soon issued. Most subsequent re-issues have been incomplete, abridged or condensed versions of the original text.

MY EARLY LIFE [1930] (Cohen A91) (Woods A37)

Arguably Winston Churchill's most entertaining book, a memoir of youth and wayward school boyhood - in fact, the only volume of personal memoirs that Churchill ever wrote. Published in the U.S. under the title A ROVING COMMISSION, the work has been endlessly re-issued in a variety of editions. True first editions, however, remain quite rare.

INDIA [1931] (Cohen A92) (Woods A38)

This slender compilation of speeches about Gandhi and "Our Duty in India" was simultaneously published in especially handsome hardcover and softcover editions, both much prized today by collectors.

THOUGHTS AND ADVENTURES [1932] (Cohen A95) (Woods A39)

A terrific anthology of Churchill essays and magazine articles from the 1920s and early 1930s on a wide variety of subjects, including "Painting as a Pastime." Issued in the U.S. under the title AMID THESE STORMS.

MARLBOROUGH: HIS LIFE & TIMES [1933-1938] (Cohen A97) (Woods A40)

Majestic biography of John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough; soldier, statesmen, hard-headed Churchillian ancestor. Initially published in England as a lush four-volume set and then as a somewhat less deluxe six-volume set in the U.S. Subsequently issued in a two-volume edition that is not an abridgment, and a single volume edition that is.

GREAT CONTEMPORARIES [1937] (Cohen A105) (Woods A43)

Penetrating profiles of twenty-one political and literary luminaries. An utter delight to read; beautifully written, brutally opinionated (Hitler comes off just a bit better than George Bernard Shaw). The ensuing "Revised" edition (and most future reprints) added four new profiles: Lord Fisher, Charles Stewart Parnell, Lord Baden-Powell and President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

ARMS AND THE COVENANT [1938] (Cohen A107) (Woods A44)

Churchill's initial alarms against Hitler and the Nazis are collected here in forty-one adamant pre-war speeches, 1936-1938, edited by his son Randolph. Published in the U.S. under the title WHILE ENGLAND SLEPT, the book, according to FDR, sat on his White House nightstand.

STEP BY STEP [1939] (Cohen A111) (Woods A45)

A chilling anthology of Churchill's prescient newspaper pieces for the Evening Standard and Daily Telegraph about the rising Nazi threat, commencing in 1936 with Hitler's reoccupation of the Rhineland, through the final months before the declaration of war in 1939.

THE WAR SPEECHES [1941-1946] (Cohen A142-A227) (Woods A66-A114)

Seven individual speech compilation volumes were published yearly in the U.K. and the U.S., beginning in 1941, under the following titles: INTO BATTLE (1938-1940 speeches) [published in the U.S. as BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS]; THE UNRELENTING STRUGGLE(1940-1941);THE END OF THE BEGINNING(1942); ONWARDS TO VICTORY (1943); THE DAWN OF LIBERATION (1944); VICTORY (1945); and SECRET SESSION SPEECHES (Various Dates). Unlike the English editions, which were all published by one publisher, Cassell, the American series was initiated by G.P. Putnam with BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS, then carried on by Little, Brown up till the final volume, SECRET SESSION SPEECHES, which was published by Simon and Schuster.

THE SECOND WORLD WAR [1948-53] (Cohen A240) (Woods A123)

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.

THE POST-WAR SPEECHES [1948-1961] (Cohen A241-A273) (Woods A124-A142)

Five postwar speech compilation volumes were published, beginning with THE SINEWS OF PEACE in 1948 (late-1945-1946 speeches, including the legendary Fulton, Missouri "Iron Curtain" speech); EUROPE UNITE in 1950 (1947-1948); IN THE BALANCE in 1951 (1949-1950); STEMMING THE TIDE in 1953 (1951-1952); and THE UNWRITTEN ALLIANCE in 1961, the final collection of Churchill speeches, covering the years 1953-1959. This book appeared in England only and is the rarest of the postwar speech volumes.

PAINTING AS A PASTIME [1948] (Cohen A242) (Woods A125)

Churchill's marvelous essay celebrating his favorite hobby first appeared in the Strand magazine over two issues in December 1921 and January 1922. It was then anthologized in Churchill’s THOUGHTS AND ADVENTURES, before being published on its own as this delightful little book, which has since been endlessly re-issued in a variety of English and American editions.

A HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING PEOPLES [1956-1958] (Cohen A267) (Woods A138)

Sweeping four-volume history of England, her colonies, and the language that Churchill so venerated and ennobled in his own writings. The original English edition was handsomely printed, the American edition was less so. Subsequent re-issues and abridgements abound.

FRONTIERS AND WARS [1962] (Cohen A274) (ICS A142/1)

A one-volume abridgement of Churchill's first four books (MALAKAND, THE RIVER WAR, LONDON TO LADYSMITH and IAN HAMILTON'S MARCH), which were all derived from his newspaper despatches covering various colonial wars. Although this book appeared in Churchill's lifetime he had nothing to do with its preparation, nor did it contain new material, though it is, in and of itself, a new text.

YOUNG WINSTON'S WARS [1972] (Cohen A282) (Woods A143)

Churchill the war correspondent. The texts of his original newspaper despatches from colonial wars in India, the Sudan and South Africa, 1897-1900.

IF I LIVED MY LIFE AGAIN [1974] (Cohen A283) (ICS A144)

A heavily abridged, but nevertheless well-chosen compilation of Churchill’s writings and speeches assembled by the journalist who wrote the first biography of Churchill's wife, MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, published in 1963.

POSTHUMOUS COLLECTED EDITIONS [1974-2003] (Cohen AA1/AA2/284/286/301/303)

Six major posthumous works have been issued reprinting Churchill's writings and speeches in significant new formats. They are: THE COLLECTED WORKS; THE MAJOR WORKS OF SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL; WINSTON S. CHURCHILL: HIS COMPLETE SPEECHES 1897-1963; THE COLLECTED ESSAYS OF SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL; and THE GREAT REPUBLIC; NEVER GIVE IN!: The Best Of Winston Churchill's Speeches.

THE DREAM/THE CHARTWELL BULLETINS [1987-1989] (Cohen A288/291) (Woods A147/148)

Two contemporary publications of the International Churchill Society that preserve between covers for the first time some excellent Churchill obscurities.










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