Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2017 Issue

Winston Churchill and the Second World War from Peter Harrington


Winston Churchill and the Second World War.

Peter Harrington of London has published a catalogue of Winston Churchill and the Second World War. I initially misinterpreted this title, thinking it much more restrictive than it is. It does not cover only Winston Churchill's role during the Second World War. Rather, it covers all of Churchill's career plus the Second World War, including much material from the war not directly connected to Churchill. Indeed, it includes items pertaining to the other allies, Germany, and even far off theaters in Asia. What's more, the Second World War is not limited to half a dozen years. It also covers events leading up to the war, sometimes almost two decades earlier, to the changes that arose from the war in the years thereafter. That is far more ground than I at first thought. Here are a few of the items pertaining to these two subjects found in this new catalogue.


Most collectors have to painstakingly build their collections over years. For those looking to build a Churchill collection instantaneously, Harrington has an amazing opportunity. Not only is this an almost complete collection, it is likely as fine a collection as you will ever see. It was compiled by collector and bookseller Mark Weber, doing business as "The Churchill Book Specialist" from his home in an unlikely place I doubt Churchill ever visited – Tucson, Arizona. Weber, who died in 2016, was in business almost 30 years and handled one of the world's largest inventories of Churchill books. He kept the best copies for himself. This collection includes all but two "elusively rare" items from the primary texts of a Churchill corpus (Mr. Brodrick's Army and For Free Trade). There are 22 titles in 50 volumes. All are in original cloth and have original dust jackets where issued except The River War. Photographic plates and maps are all present, and they are mostly in "exceptional condition." The collection includes one of only two known copies of Lord Randolph Churchill in the dust jacket, one of only three such copies for Liberalism and the Social Problem. Titles range from a first edition, first state of Churchill's first book, The Story of the Malakind Field Force (1898), to A History of the English Speaking People (1956-58). Harrington quite accurately describes this as "a once-in-a-generation collecting opportunity." Item 1. Priced at £110,000 (British pounds, or approximately $141,145 U.S. dollars.


The Centenary Limited Edition of Churchill's The First Collected Works (with The Collected Essays), published posthumously 1973-76, is also offered. Item 2. £17,500 (US $22,460).


Next we have what must be Churchill's most unusual book, and not because this copy is a French translation. The title is Savrola (same as in English), unusual as it was Churchill's one foray into fiction (of course his opponents undoubtedly thought some of his political works were fiction too). Additionally, it is unusual in that it is a notably artistic book for Churchill, featuring illustrations by André Collot. It is one of just 12 copies of this second French edition (1950) to contain two inserted original illustrations. Despite its elegance, the edition is often overlooked by English-speaking collectors because it is in French. Savrola is the story of a revolutionary in the mythical country of Laurania. The dictator, suspicious of Savrola, sends his wife to seduce Savrola so he can learn more. Really? Wouldn't he just kill the man? Anyway, you can guess what happens next. Hopefully, Churchill didn't telegraph his war plans as much as he did the plot of this story. The two fall in love, the dictator is overthrown, but Savrola is forced to flee anyway when his friends turn on him. Some believed Churchill saw himself in this heroic but wronged protagonist (the book was originally published in 1900 when he was a young man). Churchill was happy to see this early work forgotten later on, writing, "I have consistently urged my friends to abstain from reading it." Item 7. £1,500 (US $1,928).


Item 18 is a signed typescript with extensive handwritten annotations of an article written by Churchill almost a century ago, that is as timely today as it was then. Written in 1931, it is titled The United States of Europe. It was written for the Hearst newspapers in the U.S. Churchill argues for European unity, noting that while the states of the Old World "don't want to have it," Europe has been united in the past, such as during the Roman Empire. Perhaps, he surmises, Europeans will look at the unity of the United Sates and be envious. He felt that free trade and interaction between borders would be healthy for Europe, and the interconnectedness good for peace. However, he incorrectly believed that "the horrors of Armageddon are our present guarantee of peace." Churchill was seriously wrong on that one, which made him an even stronger advocate of European unity after the war to preserve the peace. However, he did not see Britain as part of the European union, seeing the English instead being more closely tied to the English-speaking word, which at the time included not only North America and Australia, but the British Commonwealth as well. Today we wonder whether that union Churchill so strongly advocated to preserve European peace is about to disintegrate. £30,000 (US $38,550).


Next we have General (later President) Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1948 look at the war effort he commanded, Crusade in Europe. This first edition was printed in 1,426 copies, but this is one of just 35 copies bound for presentation. Eisenhower has inscribed it "For The Prime Minister of Great Britain and Mrs. Atlee." Oops. Eisenhower misspelled Clement Attlee's last name. Unusually, Eisenhower inscribed this copy on behalf of himself and his wife, Mamie. Attlee had served in the British Army during the First World War during a campaign strategized by Churchill, so despite being the leader of the opposition Labour Party, they worked well together during the unity government of the war. Attlee was Deputy Prime Minister. However, in the election of 1945 after the war ended, Churchill's Conservatives were surprisingly defeated and Attlee took over as Prime Minister. While Attlee's party promoted a far greater social role for government than would have appealed to Eisenhower, they were in lockstep on foreign policy, Eisenhower's primary concern. Attlee was strongly anti-Communist and a major supporter of the new NATO alliance. Item 67. £18,750 (US $24,050).


Here is a remarkable account by a remarkable man, Jan Karski: The Mass Extermination of the Jews in German Occupied Poland. Note Addressed to the Governments of the United Nations on December 10th, 1942... published in 1943. Karski had served in the Polish military and diplomatic corps when he was captured by the Soviets in 1939, when the Soviet Union and Germany were still cooperating to carve up Poland. In an exchange, he was being transferred from Soviet to German captivity by train when he escaped. He then went to work for the Polish underground, using disguises to find out what was really going on. He did, smuggling out information to England and then the United States. He was perhaps the first to let the world know about the mass exterminations taking place in the Nazi concentration camps. He met with British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and numerous Americans, including President Roosevelt. What he met with was mainly indifference, disbelief, or the view that nothing could be done about it. In later years, he condemned the inaction of both government and church authorities (he was himself a Catholic), noting that many of the Jews who survived did so because of courageous actions by individual European citizens, not governments or churches. Item 104. £2,500 (US $3,208).


Peter Harrington may be reached at 020 7591 0220 (USA 011 44 20 7591 0220) or mail@peterharrington.co.uk. Their website is www.peterharrington.co.uk.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers<br>The Collectors’ Sale<br>July 7 – 15, 2020</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> O'Fihely, Maurice Abp. <i>Questiones subtilissme Scoti in metaphysicam Aristotelis</i>, Venice (Octavianus Scoti) 20th November 1497. 8,000 to 12,000 €
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> Pococke (Richard). <i>A Description of the East and some other Countries,</i> 3 vols. in 2, L. (W. Bowyer) 1743. 2,250 to 3,500 €
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> Keogh (John). <i>Botanalogia Universalis Hibernica, or A General Irish Herbal Calculated for this Kingdom, giving an account of the Herbs, Scrubs…</i>, Corke (George Harrison) 1735. 1,000 to 1,500 €
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers<br>The Collectors’ Sale<br>July 7 – 15, 2020</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> Perry (Charles). <i>A View of the Levant particularly of Constantinople, Syria, Egypt and Greece,</i> L. (T. Woodward) 1743. 800 to 1,200 €
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> Shaw (Thomas). <i>Travels, or Observations Relating to Several Parts of Barbary and the Levant,</i>, Oxford (The Theatre) 1738. 600 to 700 €
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> [French (Nicholas) Bishop of Ferns] Attributed, <i>Recit Exact et Fidele de la Vente et Partage du Roiaume d'Irlande Fait Sous Charles II…,</i> Milan (Chez Charles Joseph Quinto) 1724. 500 to 700 €
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers<br>The Collectors’ Sale<br>July 7 – 15, 2020</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> [French (V. Rev.Dr. Nicholas, Bp of Ferns.)] <i>The Unkinde Desertor of Loyall Men and True Frinds,</i> 12mo, n.p. 1676. 500 to 700 €
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> Yeats (W.B.) <i>Plays and Controversies,</i>, N.Y. (The MacMillan Company) 1924, Signed Limited Edn. 500 to 700 €
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> Barrie (J.M.) & Thomson (Hugh) illus. <i>Quality Street, a Comedy in Four Acts,</i> L. (Hodder and Stoughton) 1901, Limited Edition, signed by the artist. 500 to 700 €
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers<br>The Collectors’ Sale<br>July 7 – 15, 2020</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> Molyneaux (William). <i>The Case of Ireland's being bound by Acts of Parliament in England Stated,</i> [London 1719]. 200 to 300 €
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Jul. 7 – 15:</b> Johnston's (W. & A.) Map of South Africa, to illustrate the Military Operations 1900. 100 to 150 €
  • <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on Paper<br>July 16, 2020</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> Ptolomaeus (Claudius). <i>Cosmographia,</i> first edition, Vicenza, Hermann Liechtenstein, 13 September 1475. £150,000 to £200,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> Schoener (Johann). <i>Opera mathematica,</i> 3 parts in 1, first edition,The Honeyman copy in contemporary binding, Nuremberg, J. Montanus and U. Neuber, 1551. £30,000 to £40,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> Lucian of Samosata. <i>Dialogoi, editio princeps,</i> with fine illuminated title-page, Florence, Lorenzo de Alopa, 1496. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on Paper<br>July 16, 2020</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> Pian (Jean Baptiste de). [Architectural Alphabet], 26 chromolithographs by Leopold Muller after Pian, Vienna, 1842-44. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> Rogers (Bruce).- Holy Bible (The)..., one of 200 copies on handmade paper, designed by Bruce Rogers, bound in modern crimson morocco, gilt, Oxford, 1935. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> Jenner (Edward). <i>An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae…,</i> first edition, Printed for the Author, by Sampson Low, 1798. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on Paper<br>July 16, 2020</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> Voyages.- Cook (Capt. James).- Parkinson (Sydney). <i>A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas, in his Majesty's Ship the Endeavour,</i> second edition, Charles Dilly...& James Phillips, 1784. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> [Clemens (Samuel Langhorne)] "Mark Twain". <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,</i> first edition, first state, New York, Charles L. Webster and Company, 1885. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> [Voight (Hans Henning)], "Alastair". Herod, for 'Salome: Drame en un Acte', original drawing in red & black ink over pencil, [c.1922]. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on Paper<br>July 16, 2020</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> James (M.R.) <i>Ghost Stories of an Antiquary,</i> first edition, signed presentation inscription from the author to A.C. Benson, 1904. £3,000 to £4,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> Remarque (Erich Maria). <i>All Quiet on the Western Front,</i> first English edition, signed presentation inscription from the author, 1929. £3,000 to £4,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, July 16:</b> Ashendene Press.- More (Sir Thomas). <i>A Fruteful and Pleasaunt Worke...Utopia,</i> one of 100 copies, bound in black goatskin by J.Franklin Mowery, Ashendene Press, 1906. £3,000 to £4,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries July 16:</b><br>N.C. Wyeth, <i>The Black Arrow,</i> oil on canvas, for the book by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1916. $150,000 to $250,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries July 16:</b> Laurent de Brunhoff, mixed media color study for <i>Babar’s World Tour,</i> 2005. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries July 16:</b> Hilary Knight, <i>Eloise with Valentine,</i> watercolor, ink & pencil, 2015. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries July 16:</b> Howard Pyle, <i>It was a Comrade from His Own Regiment,</i> oil on canvas, for <i>Harper’s Monthly Magazine,</i> 1909. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries July 16:</b><br>Coby Whitmore, <i>‘Poor baby! You want me so much,’ she said,</i> acrylic, for <i>The Saturday Evening Post,</i> 1968. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries July 16:</b><br>Al Hirschfeld, <i>Charley’s Aunt,</i> pen & ink, for the Broadway revival, <i>The New York Times,</i> 1940. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries July 16:</b><br>Erté, <i>Décor de Laideronnette,</i> gouache set design for third movement of <i>Mother Goose,</i> 1949. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries July 16:</b> Vince McIndoe, <i>Villainous Last Supper, DC Comics,</i> oil on canvas, 2016. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries July 16:</b> Arthur Getz, <i>Rooftop Party,</i> casein tempera, cover illustration for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1970. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 1. Albertus Magnus, De Natura Locorum, 2nd edn, 1515. £3000 to £4000.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 22. George Cooke, Scenery of the East India Islands, 1811-13. £4500 to £5500.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 23. J.M. Crozet, Nouveau vouage a la Mer du Sud, 1st edn, 1783. £4000 to £6000.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 27. J.P.J.Du Bois, Vies des Gouverneurs Generaux, 1st edn, 1763. £1200 to £1800.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 28. Wm Ellis, Authentic Narrative...Captain Cook, 1st edn, 1782. £2500 to £3500.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 31. Thomas Forrest, Voyage to New Guinea, 1st edn, 1779. £1500 to £2000.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 32. Forster & Forster, Voyage round the World, 1st edn, 1777-78. £4500 to £5500.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 38. Gianetti, Elogy of Captain James Cook, 1st edn, 1785. £2500 to £3500.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 46. Otto von Kotzebue, Entdeckungs Reise, 1st edn, 1821. £3500 to £4500.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 52. Alejandro Malaspina, Viaje politico-scientifico, 1st edn, 1885. £2000 to £3000.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 60. Sydney Parkinson, Journal of Voyage to the South Seas, large paper, 1773. £4500 to £5500.
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 16:</b><br>Lot 64. Nathaniel Portlock, A Voyage round the World, 1st edn, 1789. £4000 to £6000.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions