THE WORLD CRISIS is Churchill's history of the First World War. There is considerable emphasis on naval matters and the Dardanelles, where his role was key. This work has appeared in a number of different editions and lengths. The original work appeared from 1923-27 as 3 volumes published in 4 by Thornton Butterworth: Vol I: 1911-1914; Vol II: 1915; Vols III, IV: 1916-1918 in two parts. Subsequently in 1929, a further volume appeared as THE AFTERMATH. Then still later in 1931 a final supplementary volume was published- THE EASTERN FRONT ( or The Unknown War) . So the full complete first edition is six volumes. In addition, the set of six was published at the same time (1923-31) in the USA by Scribners, and in Canada, a scarce offprint of the US edition.
. The basic 4 volumes formed the basis for the abridged one volume edition of 1931, published by Thornton Butterworth, which included a new chapter by Churtchill on the battle of the Marne. This abridgement was also published in the US by Scribners's several times from 1931 through 1992, and a scarce Canadian edition in 1931. The one volume condensation, THE AFTERMATH and THE EASTERN FRONT were all republished in the early 40's by Macmillan after the demise of Thornton Butterworth.
The first 4 volumes were also abridged for the part work THE GREAT WAR which was issued in 26 fortnightly parts in 1933 or 34. The Great War was the first edition with photographs, and in its bound state is a heavy impressive set on coated paper.There were 4 binding styles offered- palin red cloth, gilt decorated bright blue linen, hald red morocco, and a deluxe 4 volume Home Library edition with elaborate gold and silver decorations.
The full text of the 4 volumes also was used in the later Odhams editions of 2 thick vols in 1938/9 or 4 thin volumes in 1950. The two volume Odhams edition had three bindings- basic blue, a better red with gilt signature on front and marbled endpapers, and a deluxe red with gilt and blind rules added to spine. It was also the basis for a nice two volume reprint done by Barnes & Noble in 1993, now out of print.
The Eastern Front is very elusive in any state. Thornton Butterworth issued only a first edition and then a Keystone Library imprint in 1937, which though less valuable is actually far scarcer than first editions. The Macmillan edition is also seldom seen, being really just a remainder binding of 600 sets of first edition sheets.
T he full set of six was republished in 1960's by Scribner's in red, white, blue dustjackets. The only other editions are the 5 vols (no Eastern Front) of the Diners Club special Centenary edition in 1974, and the five volumes (including Eastern Front) of The Collected Works published also in 1974, and a deluxe edition of 6 volumes in leather binding by The Easton Press in the late 1980's .
There is strong demand for complete sets and most are expensive. I try to regularly offer low priced sets of mixed editions, but these always sell quickly.
|English 1sts||US 1sts||Canadian 1sts|
|UK one vol.||US one vol||Macmillan reprints|
|Odhams sets||Great war parts||Great War bound|
|Sandhurst edn||US 1960's set||mixed sets|