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The Books That… Fill my Winston Churchill shelf – Part 1

Books written by Churchill

TIME-LIFE Special Edition of The Second World War (Golden Press, 1960)

History of the English-Speaking Peoples (HESP)( unless otherwise noted, Dodd, Mead & Co., 1962 reprint; first published 1956-1958),

  • Volume I: The Birth of Britain: (do not have this yet: on the list to purchase);
  • II: The New World, 1485-1688 (used, excellent condition, no dust jacket)
  • III: The Age of Revolution 1689-1815 (fair condition, no dj)
  • IV: The Great Democracies, 1815-1900) (paperback ed.)

Marlborough: His Life and Times:

  • A one-volume abridgment, edited by Henry Steele Commager, containing roughly ½ the original text, focusing on the Duke’s stellar military career at the expense of the political career and Churchill’s attack on the English historian Macauley, who was largely responsible for the denigration of Marlborough as a treasonous, and overly greedy crown subject. (Charles Scribners Sons, NY, 1968, used, good condition; dj tears)
  • Unabridged 4-volume 1st trade ed. (London, Harrap, 1933-1938; tight binding, excellent condition, appears not to have been opened and read by previous owner(s), no dj; usual fading on cloth jackets of vols. 1 and 2)

The River War and the Reconquest of the Soudan (paperback reprint of 1902 edition, a one-volume abridgment of two-volume 1899 first edition)

Biographies of Churchill

Michael Shelden, Young Titan: The Making of Winston Churchill (1900-1915)(Simon & Schuster, 2014, pb reprint)

Celia Sandys, Churchill Wanted Dead or Alive (digital edition)

Books about Churchill as Writer

Maurice Ashley, Churchill As Historian (Secker and Warburg, London, 1968, used, fair)

Manfred Weidhorn, Sword and Pen: A Survey of the Writings of Sir Winston Churchill (University of New Mexico Press, 1974, used, slightly warped)

Curt J. Zoller, Annotated Bibliography of Works About Sir Winston S. Churchill (M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 1st Ed., 2004)

David Reynolds, In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War (Basic Books, 2007 reprint)

Peter Clarke, Mr. Churchill’s Profession: The Statesman as Author and the Book That Defined “The Special Relationship” (Bloomsbury Press, 1st Ed. 2012)

Jonathan Rose, The Literary Churchill: Author, Reader, Actor (Yale Univ. Press, 1st Ed., 2014)

I was born with dual U.S. and British citizenship, a reverse, low rent version of the much loftier-born Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (1874-1965), the elder son of Lord Randolph Churchill (1849-1895), himself the third son of the seventh Duke of Marlborough, and the husband of American heiress Jeanette Jerome, Lady Randolph Churchill (1854-1921).

My mother’s regard for Churchill’s leadership during the dark hours when Britain and the Empire fought alone (while America waited for Pearl Harbor to get in) was very high. In 1965, she insisted that I watch Churchill’s state funeral on TV, a non-royal event of a magnitude not seen since the funerals of Nelson and Wellington, reflecting his brief but dramatic career in Victoria’s army, his two tours as the United Kingdom’s First Lord of the Admiralty during both World Wars, and his Western civilization-saving Prime Ministry during the Second World War.

By that time, I already owned two Churchill-written volumes. Churchill wrote 43 book-length works, in 72 volumes. One might divide them into six categories: (1) autobiographies; (2) memoirs, with selected documents, of the two world wars; (3) collected speeches; (4) biographies; and (5) and a history of Britain and America.

I’d read only a few of his books before I turned away in my 20s from eclectic reading to focused writing. In recent months, I became reacquainted with Winnie. Unless I choose to drop everything else in life, I do not have the years to read his multi-volume war memoirs, or the 3-volume Manchester-Reid biography, or the immense official biography. Instead, I’ve chosen to re-visit old friends on the shelf, and to concentrate on specialized biographies of Churchill by others addressing stages of his life that I know little about, for example his early parliamentary career.

Most of all, I am interested in his and work as a writer: his purposes in writing, sources of inspiration, research methods, writing style, influence on other historians, and his amazing ability to negotiate contracts he never adhered to, for royalty advances he often failed to earn back.

More information on the  Churchill books in my library in Part 2.