Churchill's monumental biogarphy of his great ancetor, John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough took years of research. The first edition of MARLBOROUGH: HIS LIFE AND TIMES was originally issued in four large volumes 1933-1938. Volumes 3 and 4 were only issued in one impression, but vols 1 and 2 have later impressions. The dyes used in the binding cloth in vols 1,2,3 is particularly prone to fading and sets are typically found with vol 4 unfaded and the others near white or pink. Dustwrappers are scarce as for all pre war works. There is a variant binding in purple cloth of the "Limited Presentation Edition" which was in fact a cheaper binding of the sheets of 3rd, 2nd, 1st, 1st impressions respectively. The cloth was a strong purple that proved so sensitive to light that even dustwrapper copies have faded right through the wrappers with images of the titles. The first American edition split the first two volumes of the British edition into two resulting in a total of six volumes, all bound in bright green cloth. The Canadian first edition was publsihed by Ryerson and is very similar to the English firsts, but far scarcer.
There was also a very special signed limited edition edition of 155 numbered sets, bound in full orange morocco.
The two volume edition was first published in 1947 and includes the full text but on thinner paper and closer line spaceing. The first thus in 1947 is very difficult to find in dustwrappers as the paper used was very thin and prone to wear. The many later printings of the two volume edition are a good choice for those wanting to read the full text in a well made hardback. They include the maps and plans, but not the portraits of the 4 volume work. A 4 volume paperback set in slipcase was issued by Sphere books first in 1967 and includes the full unabrifged text, albeit in a smaller typeface. In 1968, Henry Steele Commage produced a one volume abridged edition which was offered both as a large hardback volume and a 4 volume paperback set in slipcase. This is the least desirable paperback as it is abridged. A superb new 4 volume edition in cloth binding and slipcased was issued by the Folio Society in 1990. It went out of print quickly and is now very elusive and much prized as a gift set.
|English 1sts||US 1sts||Canadian 1sts|
|signed limited||Limited pres. edn.||2 vol edition|
|Sphere pb||one vol abridged||US paperbacks|