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News From the Front

June 1, 2016


An Old Book, Long Out of Print, Happily Returns


With Winston Churchill at the Front was originally a very rare and fragile 112-page paperback memoir published pseudonymously in 1924 by Major Andrew Dewar Gibb -- an account of his service under Churchill’s command during World War I in the trenches of Flanders. Dewar Gibb’s vivid and admiring rendering (originally authored under the nom de plume, “Captain X”) details how Churchill, the celebrity officer, ultimately earned the respect and even the love of his initially skeptical troops.

A new hardcover edition has just been issued here in the U.S. (it came out earlier this year in England) with a new Introduction and extensive annotations by Dewar Gibb’s son, Nigel, and a new Foreword by Churchill’s great-grandson, Randolph. The original memoir is supplemented with rich explanatory framing material, including selections from Churchill’s contemporaneous letters and other eyewitness narratives. It features rare black & white photographs and a walking tour guide to Churchill's old trench domain, "Plugstreet." It is extensively and illuminatingly footnoted. It is pretty terrific, all in all.

We are planning to hold a dramatic reading of With Winston Churchill at the Front here at the store this summer, featuring a guest celebrity reader or two. Stay tuned for details.

Winston Churchill wrote his own highly subjective history of the First World War, The World Crisis, in part to set the record straight on Gallipoli and defend his maligned reputation. The book grew well beyond that scope and was published finally in five volumes (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," in the U.K./"The Eastern Front," in the U.S.) in 1931.

We recently acquired a superb collection of Churchill first editions from one of our favorite longtime customers. Among its many treasures is a First English edition set of The World Crisis still preserved (however imperfectly) in the original dust jackets. You can learn all about it HERE.

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